Terrorist safe havens are defined in this report as ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed areas of a country and non-physical areas where terrorists that constitute a threat to U.S. national security interests are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both. Physical safe havens provide security for terrorist leaders, allowing them to plan acts of terrorism around the world.
Global communications and financial systems, especially those created by electronic infrastructure such as the Internet, global media, and unregulated economic activity, further allow terrorists to carry out activities, particularly the dissemination of propaganda and misinformation, without the need for a physical safe haven. These "virtual" havens are highly mobile, difficult to track, and difficult to control, and are not based in any particular state. This part of the report, however, will not address virtual safe havens, focusing instead on physical safe havens.
Somalia. A small number of al-Qa’ida (AQ) operatives remain in East Africa, particularly Somalia, where they pose a serious threat to U.S. and allied interests in the region. Although these elements have been severely disrupted as a result of Ethiopian and Somali Transitional Federal Government military actions, AQ continues to operate in Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa. Somalia remains a concern given the country's long, unguarded coastline, porous borders, continued political instability, and proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, all of which provide opportunities for terrorist transit and/or safe haven. AQ remains likely to make common cause with Somali extremists.
The Trans-Sahara. Remote areas of the Sahel and Maghreb regions in Africa serve as terrorist safe havens because of little government control in sparsely populated regions. The threat to U.S. interests from Islamic extremists increased in 2007 as a result of AQ merging with two Islamic extremist organizations that operate in the region: al-Qa‘ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), based in Algeria; and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), although LIFG’s November 2007 merger with AQ has yielded few successful attacks to date, reflecting the depleted capabilities of LIFG within Libya.
AQIM has used the Sahel to train Islamic militants in small arms, use of explosives, and guerilla tactics for the last several years. Training appears to take place on the move or in makeshift facilities in remote areas outside government control. While LIFG members have trained in AQIM-run and other camps, the goal of their preparations has been to join anti-Coalition fighting in Iraq. AQIM taps into already existing smuggling networks in the region to obtain weapons, explosives, and supplies to support its operations.
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral. Southeast Asia includes a safe haven area composed of the Sulawesi Sea and Sulu Archipelago, which sit astride the maritime boundary between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The geography of the thousands of islands in the region made the area difficult for authorities to monitor. Worker migration, tourism, trade, and other non-terrorist activities, both licit and illicit, that occur in this maritime region pose another challenge to identifying and countering the terrorist threat. Although Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have improved their efforts to control their shared maritime boundaries, this expanse remains difficult to control. Surveillance is partial at best, and traditional smuggling and piracy groups provided an effective cover for terrorist activities, such as movement of personnel, equipment, and funds. The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral represents a safe haven for the AQ-linked Jemaah Islamiya (JI) organization and the Philippine Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The Southern Philippines. The southern Philippines, specifically the Sulu archipelago and Mindanao, serve as terrorist safe havens. The government’s control in this area is weak due to rugged terrain, weak rule of law, poverty, and local Muslim minority resentment of central governmental policies. In addition to Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the area hosts several terrorist and insurgent groups including the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army and the Rajah Solaiman Movement.
JI and the ASG pose a threat to U.S. interests, including the U.S. military forces supporting the Philippine Armed Forces that are conducting counterinsurgency operations in Jolo Island. JI maintains a presence in the southern Philippines where it conducts attack planning, but its capabilities in the region have decreased since 2006. It conducts training in some areas of Mindinao controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), though MILF’s peace talks with the government may reduce ties (and therefore support capabilities) between the groups.
Indonesia. Jemaah Islamiya (JI) poses the principal threat to U.S. and other Western interests in Indonesia. In 2007, the Indonesian government improved its counterterrorist capabilities and scored several successes against the group, such as the June arrest of the former acting JI emir Muhammad Naim (aka Zarkasih) and the former JI military commander Abu Dujana. JI’s leadership operates largely in west and central Java where the group recruits, funds, trains, and plans operations, which in the past have included attacks on Western targets.
THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Iraq. Iraq is not currently a terrorist safe haven, but terrorists, including Sunni groups like al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), Ansar al-Islam (AI), and Ansar al-Sunna (AS), as well as Shia extremists and other groups, view Iraq as a potential safe haven and are attempting to make it a reality. The Iraqi government, in coordination with the Coalition, made significant progress in combating AQI and affiliated terrorist organizations in 2007.
The substantial degradation of AQI stems from a number of factors. The alliance of convenience and mutual exploitation between AQI and many Sunni populations has deteriorated. The Baghdad Security Plan, initiated in February, along with assistance from primarily Sunni tribal and local groups, has succeeded in reducing violence to late 2005 levels, has disrupted and diminished AQI infrastructure, and has driven some surviving AQI fighters from Baghdad and Anbar into the northern Iraqi provinces of Ninawa, Diyala, and Salah ad Din. While AQI remained a threat, new initiatives to cooperate with tribal and local leaders in Iraq have led to Sunni tribes’ and local citizens’ rejection of AQI and its extremist ideology. The continued growth, professionalism, and improved capabilities of the Iraqi forces have increased their effectiveness in rooting out terrorist cells. Iraqis in Baghdad, Anbar and Diyala Provinces, and elsewhere have turned against AQI and were cooperating with the Iraqi government and Coalition Forces to defeat it. The Coalition troop surge and its sustained presence and tactics, and the reduction in violence following the declared ceasefire by Muqtada al-Sadr's Jaysh al-Mahdi militia in August, also increased popular support for the actions of Coalition and Iraqi Forces against AQI and other terrorist groups.
AQI, although substantially degraded in 2007, retains some infrastructure that allows the group to use these areas for staging operations.
Northern Iraq. The Kongra Gel/Kurdistan Worker’s Party (KGK/PKK) maintained an active presence in northern Iraq, from which it coordinated attacks in the predominantly ethnic Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey and provided logistical support to forces that launched attacks into Turkey, primarily against Turkish security forces, local Turkish officials, and villagers who opposed the organization. On October 17, the Turkish Parliament overwhelmingly passed a motion authorizing cross-border military operations against KGK/PKK encampments in northern Iraq. Turkish forces carried out extensive operations along the Turkey-Iraq border in the latter part of the year. The United States continued to work with Turkey and Iraq to counter the common threat from the KGK/PKK.
Lebanon. Hizballah remained the most prominent and powerful terrorist group in Lebanon, with a strong influence among Lebanon's large Shia community. The Lebanese government continued to recognize Hizballah, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, as a legitimate "resistance group" and political party. Hizballah retains its strong influence among Lebanon's Shia community, which comprises at least one third of Lebanon’s population. Hizballah maintained offices in Beirut and elsewhere in the country, and was represented by elected deputies in parliament.
An increasing number of AQ-associated Sunni extremists are also operating within the country. AQ likely views Lebanon as an opportunity to expand its jihad into the Levant, especially after the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah. The organization uses the refugee camps as staging grounds for recruitment, training, planning, and facilitating transit of foreign fighters to and from Iraq. On May 20, a conflict involving the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and militant Islamic fundamentalist group Fatah al-Islam (FAI) erupted in Nahr el-Barid, a Palestinian refugee camp in the north. After a three-month battle, the Lebanese Army took control of the camp on September 2. The death toll was 168 LAF soldiers and an estimated 42 civilians. While the LAF were able to defeat FAI militants and secure the Nahr el-Barid camp, local Palestinian authorities still retained control of the other eleven refugee camps in the country.
See Chapter 3, State Sponsors of Terrorism, for information on Iran and Syria, which provided safe haven to Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups, and were used as safe havens by AQ-linked operatives and groups.
Yemen. Yemen experienced several setbacks to its counterterrorism efforts with the June 22 announcement that Abu Basir Nasir al-Wahishi was the new head of al-Qa’ida in Yemen (AQY), the July 2 terrorist attack which killed ten people, and the uncertainty of U.S.S. Cole bomber Jamal al-Badawi’s continued incarceration. At the end of 2007, the Government of Yemen could not account for seven of the 23 AQ members that escaped from a prison in Sanaa in February 2006. AQY carried out several attacks against tourism targets, most notably the January and July 2007 attacks against foreign visitors to the Queen of Sheba Temple in Ma‘rib and the country’s oil infrastructure. Yemen continued to increase its maritime security capabilities, but land border security along the extensive frontier with Saudi Arabia remained a problem, despite increased Yemeni-Saudi cooperation on bilateral security issues.
Afghan-Pakistan Border. Despite the efforts of both Afghan and Pakistani security forces, instability along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier appeared to have provided al-Qa’ida (AQ) leadership greater mobility and ability to conduct training and operational planning, particularly that targeting Western Europe and the United States. Numerous senior AQ operatives have been captured or killed, but AQ leaders continue to plot attacks and to cultivate stronger operational connections that radiate outward from Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.
Pakistan. Portions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan have become a safe haven for AQ terrorists, Afghan insurgents, and other extremists. AQ uses the FATA to launch attacks in Afghanistan, plan operations worldwide, train, recruit, and provide propaganda. Other extremists, including Taliban and Kashmir-focused organizations such as Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin or Hizb-e-Islami Khalis, use the area for safe haven and share short term goals of eliminating Coalition presence in Afghanistan. They exploit the local sympathetic populations to recruit, train, and conduct cross-border raids and bombings in Afghanistan. Islamist Deobandi groups and many local tribesmen in the FATA continue to resist the government's efforts to improve governance and administrative control at the expense of longstanding local autonomy.
Extremists led by Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and other AQ-related extremists re-exerted their hold in areas of South Waziristan and captured over 200 government soldiers, who were later released after a local peace deal collapsed. Extremists have also gained footholds in the settled areas bordering the FATA, including Swat, Tank, and DI Khan. Pakistani security forces continue to fight militant leader Maulana Fazlullah in Swat, a settled area in NWFP. As of December, Pakistan’s military was conducting increased operations in Swat. The Government of Pakistan maintains approximately 120,000 troops, including Army and Frontier Corps (FC) units, along the Afghanistan border. The United States plans to help modernize and increase the capacity of the FC so they can become a more effective force.
In order to increase the central government's writ in the FATA, the Government of Pakistan is implementing a comprehensive approach with three prongs: political, security, and development. For the political prong, the government seeks to bolster effective governance by empowering local officials. For the security prong, Pakistan's objective is to increase the capacity and efficacy of local security forces. For the development prong, the Government of Pakistan has designed a comprehensive sustainable development plan for the region. The plan concentrates on four sectors – basic human services, natural resources, communication/ infrastructure, and economic development – and, if fully implemented, would cost $2 billion. The plan was developed with the extensive grassroots participation of all stakeholders to provide essential economic and livelihood opportunities while upgrading and expanding social services to a population at risk for recruitment by terrorist organizations.
Afghanistan. The Afghan government, in concert with ISAF/NATO forces and the international community, continued efforts to bring and build security on the Afghan side of the border. The border areas remained contested, however, with ongoing insurgent and terrorist attacks, including AQ activity. Attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups and criminal networks, along with those of extremist movements such as Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) and the Haqqani network, continued throughout Afghanistan. Criminal networks and narcotics cultivation remained particularly prevalent in the south and east of the country, constituting a source of funding for the insurgency in Afghanistan. In 2007, AQ expanded its Afghanistan-based leadership cadre and its support to militants inside the country, providing funding, training, and personnel to facilitate terrorist and insurgent operations. Anti-Coalition organizations such as HIG continued to operate in coordination with AQ, Taliban, and other insurgent groups, primarily in the east.
Colombia Border Region. The regions adjacent to Colombia’s borders with Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Brazil include rough terrain and dense forest cover. These conditions, coupled with low population densities and weak government presence, create areas of safe haven for insurgent and terrorist groups, particularly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama have often adopted a tacit policy mix of containment and non-confrontation with Colombian narcoterrorist groups, although some confrontations do occur. Much depends on local decisions and cross-border relations. The FARC used areas in neighboring countries near Colombia's border to rest and regroup, procure supplies, and stage and train for terrorist attacks. These areas appeared to be more prevalent in Venezuela and Ecuador, less so in Brazil and Peru. In addition, the FARC and another designated terrorist organization, the National Liberation Army (ELN), regard Venezuelan territory near the border as a safe haven and often used the area for cross-border incursions.
Venezuela. Rampant corruption within the Venezuelan government and military, ideological ties with the FARC, and lax counternarcotics policies have fueled a permissive operating environment for drug traffickers and an increase in drug trafficking to Europe, Africa, and the United States. The United States is closely monitoring this situation.
The Tri-Border Area (TBA) (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay). Although no corroborated information shows that Hizballah, HAMAS, or other Islamic extremist groups used the TBA for military-type training or planning of terrorist operations, the United States remains concerned that these groups use the TBA as a safe haven to raise funds. Suspected supporters of Islamic terrorist groups, including Hizballah, take advantage of loosely regulated territory and the proximity of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil to participate in a wide range of illicit activities and to solicit donations from within the sizable Muslim communities in the region and elsewhere in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The governments of the TBA have long been concerned with arms and drugs smuggling, document fraud, money laundering, and the manufacture and movement of contraband goods through this region. In the early years of this decade, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay invited the United States to participate in the Three Plus One Group on TBA Security to address these illicit activities.
Strategies, Tactics, Tools for Disrupting or Eliminating Safe Havens
Corruption, poverty, a lack of civic institutions and social services, politically repressive governments, and inadequate or unjust law enforcement and legal systems are conditions terrorists exploit for recruitment, operational planning, or physical safe haven. Efforts to build partner capacity and encourage states to cooperate more effectively at the local and regional level are key to denying terrorists safe haven. U.S. Ambassadors, as the President's personal representatives abroad, are in charge of U.S. relations with host nations, with a unique responsibility to bring all elements of national power to bear against the terrorist enemy. They lead interagency country teams that develop strategies to help host nations understand the threat and to strengthen their political will and capacity to counter it.
Defeating the terrorist enemy requires a comprehensive effort executed locally, nationally, regionally, and globally. Working with partner nations, we must eliminate terrorist leadership, but incarcerating or killing terrorists will not achieve an end to terrorism. We must simultaneously eliminate terrorist safe havens, tailoring regional strategies to disaggregate terrorist networks and break terrorist financial, travel, communications, and intelligence links. Finally, and most challenging, we must address the underlying conditions that terrorists exploit at the national and local levels to induce alienated or aggrieved populations to become sympathizers, supporters, and ultimately members of terrorist networks. We can marginalize violent extremists by addressing people’s needs and grievances, by giving people a stake in their own political future, and by providing alternatives to what terrorists offer.
Economic development offers at-risk populations a better choice. Terrorists exploit despair and hopelessness to win recruits. Systems characterized by an absence of political choice, economic opportunities, and personal freedom can become unwitting incubators of extremism. Economically disadvantaged people are vulnerable to recruitment by extremists and by criminal “quick-fix” livelihoods, such as the poppy production that finances terrorism in Afghanistan.
Combating corruption and fostering good governance in host governments is indispensable to our efforts to strengthen host government law enforcement and oversight of terrorist financing, and the effectiveness of our other training programs, such as those that help border guards interdict dangerous goods and people.
Terrorists exploit weakness, most notably sectarian violence, to create greater instability and to piggyback onto the conflict for propaganda purposes. Fostering reconciliation and strengthening community mechanisms is vital to eliminating terrorism.
This is a long-term challenge. Over time, our global and regional cooperative efforts will reduce terrorists’ capacity to harm us and our partners, while local security and development assistance will build our partners’ capacity. We must continue to enlist the support and cooperation of a growing network of partners. If we are to be successful, we must all work together toward our common goal in a strategic and coordinated manner.
REGIONAL STRATEGIC INITIATIVE
Building on this understanding, we have worked to develop the Regional Strategic Initiative (RSI), an effort to develop flexible regional networks. The State Department's Bureau of Counterterrorism (S/CT) is working with ambassadors and interagency representatives in key terrorist theaters of operation to collectively assess the threat, pool resources, and devise collaborative strategies, action plans, and policy recommendations.
The RSI is a key tool in promoting cooperation between our partners in the War on Terror – for example, with Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines as they confront terrorist transit across the Sulawesi Sea; or among Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Chad, and Mali, to counter al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as it recruits and hides in the desert that sits astride national borders. Terrorists are highly adaptable; defeating them requires both centralized coordination and field authority. Resources and responses must be applied in a rapid, flexible, and focused manner. The RSI helps achieve this coordinated approach.
RSI strategy groups are in place for South East Asia, Iraq and its neighbors, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Mediterranean, East Africa, the Trans-Sahara, South Asia, and Latin America. These groups are chaired by Ambassadors, with interagency representatives participating. RSI programs focus on developing a common understanding of the strategic situation in a region. Using this shared perspective, networked country teams then identify opportunities for collaboration and pool resources not only to eliminate terrorism safe havens, but also to address the conditions that terrorists exploit for recruitment.
Terrorists operate without regard to national boundaries. To effectively counter terrorists, we are working to strengthen our regional and transnational partnerships and increasingly operate in a regional context. Denying safe haven plays a major role in undermining terrorists' capacity to operate effectively and forms a key element of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.
COUNTERING TERRORISM ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has acted to block funding of terrorists and their supporters, and to promote international cooperation against them. On September 23, 2001, the President signed E.O. 13224, giving the United States a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding. This Executive Order (EO) provides a means to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations by authorizing the USG to designate and block assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. In addition, because of the pervasiveness and expansiveness of the financial base of foreign terrorists, the order authorizes the USG to block the assets of individuals and entities that provide support, offer assistance to, or otherwise associate with designated terrorists and terrorist organizations. The order also covers their subsidiaries, front organizations, agents, and associates.
The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, also has the authority to designate groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. These designations play a critical role in U.S. counterterrorism efforts and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business. As a consequence of such a designation, it is unlawful for U.S. citizens or any persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to provide material support or resources to a designated FTO. U.S. financial institutions are also required to freeze the funds of designated FTOs.
EO and FTO designations support U.S. efforts to curb the financing of terrorism and encourage other nations to do the same. They internationally stigmatize and isolate designated terrorist entities and individuals. They also deter donations or contributions to, and economic transactions with, named entities and individuals. In addition, they heighten public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations, and signal U.S. concerns about named entities and individuals to other governments.
In 2007, the United States designated a number of individuals and entities:
UN Security Council Resolution 1267
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 (1999) and successor resolutions require member states to impose financial and other sanctions on listed groups and individuals associated with Usama bin Ladin, the Taliban, or al-Qa’ida. The 1267 Sanctions Committee, also established by the Security Council, maintains a list of individuals and entities associated with al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and/or Usama bin Ladin who are subject to the international sanctions, assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo that member states are obligated to implement. On July 29, 2005, the UN Security Council requested, through the adoption of Resolution 1617, that the UN Secretary General take the necessary steps to increase cooperation between the UN and INTERPOL in order to provide the Committee (established pursuant to Resolution 1267) with better tools to fulfill its mandate more effectively.
In 2007, the United States and the UN Security Council 1267 Committee designated the following individuals and entities:
DE-LISTING OF INDIVIDUALS AND/OR ENTITIES UNDER UNSCR 1267
Pursuant to the UN 1267 Committee guidelines, any individual(s), groups, undertakings, and/or entities on the Consolidated List may submit a petition for de-listing. The petitioner must provide justification for the de-listing request, offer relevant information, and request support for the de-listing. The Committee, in determining whether to remove names from the Consolidated List, may consider, among other things: whether the individual or entity was placed on the Consolidated List due to a mistake of identity, or whether the individual or entity no longer meets the criteria set out in relevant resolutions. In evaluating whether an individual or entity no longer meets the criteria, the Committee may consider, among other things, whether the individual is deceased, or whether it has been affirmatively shown that the individual or entity has severed all association, as defined in paragraph 2 of Resolution 1617 (2005), with al-Qa’ida, Usama bin Ladin, the Taliban, and their supporters, including all individuals and entities on the Consolidated List.
In 2007, the United States and the UN 1267 Committee de-listed the following individuals and entities:
BRINGING TERRORISTS TO JUSTICE: REWARDS FOR JUSTICE
Rewards for Justice (RFJ) is a valuable asset in the War on Terror. Through the RFJ program, the Secretary of State offers and pays rewards for information that prevents or successfully resolves an act of international terrorism against United States persons or property. Reward offers of up to $25 million have been authorized for information leading to the capture of Usama bin Ladin and other key terrorist leaders. Since its inception in 1984, RFJ has paid more than $77 million to over 50 people who provided credible information. In 2007, the United States gave out rewards totaling $15 million for the successful resolution of terrorist cases in the Philippines and the United States. This was the second highest payout year in the history of the RFJ program.
In June, U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kinney presided over a public reward ceremony jointly sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Government of the Philippines. The reward payment of $10 million to multiple sources was the largest Rewards for Justice payment in the Philippines since the program was launched in the country in 2002. The sources provided information that contributed to successful military operations against Khadaffy Janjalani and Abu Solaiman, leaders of the Abu Sayyaf Group, who were responsible for the kidnappings and deaths of American and Filipino citizens. Janjalani was killed during a battle with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in October 2006, while Abu Solaiman was killed in similar circumstances by the AFP in January 2007.
In October, RFJ gave $5 million to an individual who was instrumental in bringing Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker" of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, to justice.
In 2007, new initiatives included adding six terrorists to the RFJ Most Wanted List and one new incident-based reward offer. In January, RFJ added three new terrorists with reward offers of up to $5 million to its list: Mohammad Ali Hamadei, a member of Lebanese Hizballah, who participated in the 1985 hijacking of TWA 847 and the murder of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem; Ramadan Shallah, the Secretary-General and founding member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and Mohammed Qari Zafar, a terrorist operative wanted for questioning in connection with the March 2006 attack against the Consulate in Karachi, which led to the death of U.S. Foreign Service Officer David Foy. In March, Zulkifli bin Hir (a.k.a. Marwan), a leader in Jemaah Islamiya (JI) in the Philippines, was added to the RFJ list with a reward offer of up to $5 million. In April, the Secretary of State approved a reward offer of up to $1 million for information regarding the January 2007 terrorist attack against the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Finally, in July, RFJ added JI leaders Noordin Top and Zulkarnaen to the list.
All of these reward offerings are listed in greater detail on the www.rewardsforjustice.net website, which was redesigned in July 2007.
MULTILATERAL EFFORTS TO COMBAT TERRORISM
International cooperation remains essential to initiatives in fields ranging from intelligence and law enforcement coordination, to targeted financial sanctions, to norms and standards of financial regulation, because most funds used to support terrorism are located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
Throughout the year, the United States worked closely with multilateral partners in numerous counterterrorist financing efforts, including the Counterterrorism Committee of the United Nations, the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the G8's Counterterrorism Assistance Group (CTAG), and international financial institutions. In addition, the United States continued its regular dialogue on terrorism finance with the European Union. Since its launch in September 2004, the dialogue has served as the framework for ongoing exchanges to promote information sharing and cooperation on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and on technical assistance issues.
European nations are active participants in a variety of multilateral organizations that contributed to counterterrorist efforts, including the G8, NATO, the FATF, MONEYVAL, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The United States and its partners worked through these organizations to establish and implement best practices, build the counterterrorism capabilities of "weak but willing" states, and to institutionalize the War on Terror globally. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have pledged to provide countries with training to increase their capacity to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The United Nations (UN). The Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was established by Security Council Resolution 1373 after September 11, 2001, with the goal of enhancing the ability of UN member states to combat terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism Committee's Executive Directorate (CTED), established by Resolution 1535 in 2004, became fully operational in December 2005. CTED's mandate is to enhance the Committee's ability to monitor the implementation of Resolution 1373 and to advance capacity-building work by facilitating technical assistance to member states and promoting closer cooperation and coordination with international, regional, and sub-regional organizations. It also conducts visits to member states to assess the implementation of Resolution 1373. CTED visited seven states in 2007 (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Nigeria, and Vietnam).
In 2007, UN Security Council Resolution 1787 (December 10), extended the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (the Executive Directorate) until March 31, 2008. The resolution requested that the Executive Director of the Executive Directorate recommend appropriate changes and recommendations to the organization of CTED.
The Counterterrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) brought together 24 UN entities across the UN system, which work under mandates from the General Assembly, the Security Council, and various specialized agencies, funds, and programs to implement the historic Global Counterterrorism Strategy agreed to by all 192 member countries in September 2006. In 2007, the Task Force developed a program of work and established working groups to carry forward a first set of initiatives to implement the Strategy.
UN Specialized Agencies are also involved in the work of fighting terrorism. For example, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted passport security standards, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC's) Terrorism Prevention Branch continued to provide assistance to countries in the legal and related aspects of counterterrorism. This included an emphasis on building the legal framework necessary to become party to and implement the international counterterrorism conventions and protocols. The Terrorism Prevention Branch also focused on strengthening the capacity of the national criminal justice systems to apply the provisions of these instruments in compliance with the principles of rule of law, providing substantive input on counterterrorism issues to intergovernmental bodies.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continued to implement its Nuclear Security Plan (2006-2009) for combating the threat of terrorism involving nuclear and other radioactive material. IAEA promoted States' ratification and implementation of international instruments relating to nuclear security, including the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the latter of which entered into force in July. The IAEA Nuclear Security Series is a framework of guidance documents designed to help states establish a coherent nuclear security infrastructure.
The IAEA continued to assist States in the removal and repatriation of vulnerable radioactive sources. In 2007:
The IAEA continued, upon request, to assist States in developing and implementing measures to prevent incidents of nuclear terrorism at major public events. Drawing on ITDB reporting, the Agency provided information support and advice in the areas of detection, interdiction, and response. In addition, training courses, workshops, and exercises were conducted and detection equipment purchased and supplied. In 2007, the Agency conducted, in support of Brazilian authorities, a successful project to ensure the nuclear security of the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, and began the implementation of a project for nuclear security at the 2008 Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing, China.
ITDB also continued to expand its membership, which now includes nearly 100 countries. The ITDB is a voluntary program whereby states confirm incidents of illicit trafficking or other unauthorized activities involving nuclear and radioactive material. The ITDB collects authoritative information on illicit trafficking events and helps participating states better understand illicit trafficking events and trends. Additionally, the ITDB is an authoritative database for tracking nuclear and radioactive materials that have fallen outside of legitimate control and that could be used in potential actions of terrorism.
Group of Eight (G8) Counterterrorism Actions. The Group of Eight (G8), composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, continued to develop and promote effective counterterrorism standards and best practices throughout 2007. Germany hosted the 2007 annual G8 Summit in Heiligendamm where leaders committed to take action on a range of counterterrorism issues, including countering cash smuggling used to finance terrorism and violent extremism by identifying key transshipment and courier routes; maximizing effective information exchange; enhancing law enforcement investigations; facilitating enforcement of cash declaration and disclosure standards; and offering training and capacity-building to partners. G8 Leaders welcomed the completion of 28 projects to improve transportation security and the completed efforts to protect critical energy infrastructure and sharing best practices of effective security responses. G8 Leaders committed to counter terrorism in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border regions and to work against terrorist radicalization and recruitment. In May, G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministers met in Munich to increase judicial cooperation and joint efforts to combat international terrorism, including tackling terrorist misuse of the Internet, and sharing knowledge and experiences regarding the processes of some countries’ residents becoming radical and violent, known as “homegrown” terrorism.
Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG). At the June 2003 Evian Summit, G8 leaders adopted a plan to build political will and capacity to combat terrorism globally, and established the Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG) to implement this plan. CTAG supports the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee's efforts to monitor and promote implementation of UNSCR 1373 by developing an active forum for donors to coordinate counterterrorism cooperation with, and assistance to, third countries. It promotes counterterrorism by prioritizing needs and targeting and coordinating assistance to expand counterterrorism capacity in recipient countries; and encourages all countries to meet their obligations under UNSCR 1373 and, for states party to them, the 13 international counterterrorism conventions and protocols.
Under the leadership of the rotating G8 presidency, CTAG meets two times per year with the active participation of G8 member states, the European Commission, and other donor countries and organizations. Coordination meetings hosted by the local embassy of the G8 presidency were also held among CTAG members' diplomatic missions in recipient countries.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Under the Department of Treasury's leadership, the United States played a strong role in developing new initiatives within FATF to meet evolving anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance threats. The United States became a co-chair, with Italy, of the newly created International Cooperation Review Group to examine AML/CTF systemic threats and participated in major FATF studies (e.g., Trade-Based Money Laundering) and FATF mutual evaluations.
European Union (EU). In September, the European Union appointed Council Secretariat Justice and Home Affairs Director Gilles de Kerchove as the new EU Counterterrorism Coordinator. Since then, he has participated in various meetings with U.S. counterterrorism officials. The United States and the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust) have improved cooperation and information exchange among investigators and prosecutors. A U.S. Intermittent Liaison Prosecutor, resident in Brussels, currently liaises with Eurojust. Progress was made towards ratification and entry into force of the U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. Expert level discussions have begun and the U.S. and EU are working to establish a roadmap toward mutual recognition of the EU Authorized Economic Operator provisions and the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, which are based on a risk management approach to cargo security. In August, we began a Container Security Initiative pilot project for feeder ports. We began a Secure Freight Initiative pilot project in Southampton, UK, which should provide data that will be useful in determining how best to implement 100 percent scanning of maritime cargo containers.
The United States and the EU continued to:
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The United States worked with the OSCE through its Anti-Terrorism Unit to encourage cooperation and to address existing gaps in the capabilities and legal framework of the OSCE’s 56 participating states. In June, the OSCE organized a high-level political conference, a joint initiative of the United States and the Russian Federation, on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The conference highlighted the fact that effective solutions to fighting terrorism required integrated approaches that harness the expertise of all sections of society by bringing them together in close public-private sector cooperation. Over 320 participants from 58 OSCE countries and Partners for Cooperation discussed ways to best draw upon the capacity of businesses and civil society to help governments fight terrorism.
The OSCE also continued its considerable efforts to provide technical capacity-building assistance to help participating states detect and prevent the use of fraudulent and counterfeit travel documents, to make it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to forge or counterfeit them, and to encourage the reporting of lost and stolen travel documents to INTERPOL. Given the difficulties of mutual legal assistance cooperation in fighting terrorism, the OSCE, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), held a follow-up experts workshop in February which highlighted issues of extradition and promoted the use of UNODC’s mutual legal assistance software. The OSCE also held a sub-regional event in Turkey, which gave participants more in-depth mutual legal assistance instruction. In addition, the OSCE also held events on victims of terrorism, incitement, and terrorist use of the Internet. The OSCE Madrid Ministerial issued a statement supporting the UN’s Global Counterterrorism Strategy, called upon OSCE participating states to join the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and tasked the OSCE’s Forum for Security Cooperation to produce a Best Practices Guide as a tool to help OSCE members implement UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). First and foremost, NATO contributes to the War on Terror by leading International Security Assistance Force stability operations against radical insurgents in Afghanistan. NATO also conducts Operation Active Endeavor (OAE), a naval mission that aims to combat terrorism by monitoring Mediterranean maritime traffic. The Alliance is also engaged in a far-reaching transformation of its forces and capabilities to better deter and defend against 21st Century threats, including terrorism, and is working closely with partner countries and organizations to ensure interoperability of forces, enhance security, and broaden cooperation. NATO adopted its Military Concept against Terrorism in 2002, fielded a Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defense battalion in 2004, and established a special Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit. Efforts are underway to enhance Allied resilience against the potential disruption of critical infrastructure (energy, cyber) systems. Through NATO’s Defense Against Terrorism (DAT) program, the Alliance is developing 11 cutting-edge technologies to protect troops and civilians against terrorist attacks.
NATO contributes to non-proliferation through the efforts of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Center, the Senior Political Committee, and the Senior Political-Military Group on Proliferation (which organizes the annual Seminar on Proliferation Issues, NATO’s largest outreach event). NATO has opened a dialogue with the United Nation’s 1540 Committee and is developing a framework for further cooperation. NATO’s 26 Allies and 23 Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Partners have all submitted initial reports as called for by UN Security Council Resolution 1540. NATO also supported a Defense Against Biological Terrorism regional workshop in Bucharest in Fall 2007.
Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP). The TSCTP is a multi-faceted, multi-year strategy aimed at defeating terrorist organizations by strengthening regional counterterrorism capabilities, enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among the region's security forces, promoting democratic governance, discrediting terrorist ideology, and reinforcing bilateral military ties with the United States. The overall goals are to enhance the indigenous capacities of governments in the pan-Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Niger, as well as Nigeria and Senegal) to confront the challenge posed by terrorist organizations in the region, and to facilitate cooperation between those countries and our Maghreb partners (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) in combating terrorism. (See Chapter 2, Country Reports, Africa, for further information on the TSCTP.)
The African Union (AU). The AU has several counterterrorism legal instruments, including a Convention on Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999), a 2002 Protocol to the Convention, and a 2004 Plan of Action. (See Chapter 2, Country Reports, Africa, for further information on the AU.)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). In January 2007, the Heads of State of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprising Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, signed a new convention on counterterrorism cooperation. The new ASEAN treaty recognizes the importance of having a global legal framework to combat terrorism, as established by the universal conventions on terrorism, and further recognizes that terrorism offenses such as hijacking, hostage-taking, or bombing are not political offenses, and terrorists cannot hide behind political justifications to evade justice. Under the new Convention, ASEAN members agree to cooperate to prevent terrorist attacks, the financing of terrorism, and terrorist movement across national borders. They will also cooperate to enhance intelligence exchanges, promote public participation in counterterrorism efforts and strengthen preparedness for dealing with chemical, biological, and nuclear terrorism.
The United States actively participates in counterterrorism-related activities of the 26-member ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), including the annual meetings on counterterrorism and transnational crime. The United States has continued efforts to increase maritime security cooperation. In January 2007, ARF held a maritime security desktop exercise in Singapore. ARF continues to hold various capacity-building activities in counterterrorism and transnational crime.
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The 21 member economies of APEC (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam), are committed to creating a safe environment for the movement of goods, services, and people throughout the region. The APEC Counterterrorism Task Force (CTTF) was established in 2003 to coordinate implementation of Leaders' and Ministers' statements on counterterrorism and non-proliferation. The United States works within APEC to dismantle transnational terrorist groups and to eliminate the severe and growing danger posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
In 2007, the United States continued its capacity-building work to counter biological and chemical terrorism. The second expert-level food defense workshop was held in Vietnam and built upon the success of the first workshop held in Bangkok in 2006. The USG-led bioterrorism initiative resulted in the first ever, APEC Food Defense Principles on prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and effective communication. These principles will make an important contribution to international counterterrorism efforts to protect the food supply from deliberate contamination.
OAS Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE). On March 1, 2007, at the CICTE Ministerial in Panama City, CICTE released the Declaration of Panama on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure in the Hemisphere in the Face of Terrorism, which acknowledged that terrorism is a threat to critical infrastructure and committed OAS members to take all necessary actions, in accordance with their domestic law and relevant international agreements, to prevent, mitigate, and deter potential terrorist threats to critical infrastructure, through the development and implementation of national measures and the strengthening of regional and international cooperation. In addition, CICTE delivered more than $5 million in counterterrorism capacity-building assistance in the region. During 2007, the Secretariat conducted 61 training courses and technical assistance missions, benefiting some 2,692 participants in the Hemisphere; this included training of nearly 500 port and airport security officials from 29 member states to help meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organization's International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, and the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) new air security standards.
In addition, the Secretariat continued to solidify its position as a central point for facilitating international cooperation against terrorism. Following adoption of CICTE’s aforementioned “Declaration of Panama on Protection of Critical Infrastructure in the Hemisphere” the Secretariat helped facilitate two instances of horizontal cooperation between the United States and OAS Member States: a vulnerability assessment of the energy sector in Trinidad and Tobago, and technical assistance on the first steps in identifying and protecting critical infrastructures in Paraguay. CICTE also provided security training to the Caribbean nations hosting the Cricket World Cup.
CICTE continued to advise its 34 member state governments on how to meet the requirements of UNSCR 1373, the 13 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism (IACAT), which complements and expands on international conventions and protocols. CICTE also organized its sixth annual regular session in Bogota, Colombia.
Tri-Border Area (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay)
The governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay have long been concerned with arms and drugs smuggling, document fraud, money laundering, and the manufacture and movement of contraband goods through the region where their territories meet, known as the Tri-Border Area (TBA). In the 1990s, they established the “Tripartite Commission of the Triple Frontier” to address these illicit activities. In 2002, at their invitation, the United States joined what became the “3+1 Group on Tri-Border Area Security,” a regional mechanism focusing on practical steps to help the TBA states address cross-border crime through enhanced law enforcement and intelligence sharing and strengthened financial and border controls. The United States remains concerned that Hizballah and HAMAS are raising funds in the TBA by participating in illicit activities and soliciting donations from extremists within the sizable Muslim communities in the region and elsewhere in the territories of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. However, there was no corroborated information that these or other Islamic extremist groups had an operational presence in the area.
LONG-TERM GOALS AND PROGRAMS/ACTIONS DESIGNED TO REDUCE CONDITIONS THAT ALLOW TERRORIST SAFE HAVENS TO FORM
The Antiterrorism Assistance Program (ATA) provides partner countries with the training, equipment, and technology needed to increase their capabilities to find and arrest terrorists, and builds the kind of cooperation and interactivity between law enforcement officers that has a lasting impact. In 2007, ATA sponsored 266 training activities and technical consultations and trained over 4500 participants from 64 countries. In its two-decade long existence, ATA has trained more than 5850 students from 151 countries, providing programs tailored to the needs of each partner nation and to local conditions. Training included: crisis management and response, cyber terrorism, dignitary protection, bomb detection, airport security, border control, response to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction, countering terrorist finance, interdiction of terrorist organizations, and kidnap intervention and hostage negotiation and rescue. All courses emphasized law enforcement under the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Examples of ATA training include the following:
The Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) assisted priority countries at risk of terrorist activity to enhance their border security capabilities. TIP provided participating countries with a computerized watch listing system to identify suspect travelers at air, land, or sea ports of entry. TIP further promotes expanded cooperation and close liaison with host governments in the areas of rule of law, anticorruption, and law enforcement. Since 2001, the State Department has provided TIP assistance to more than 20 countries, assistance that was instrumental in impeding terrorist travel. High-priority countries participating in the program include Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Kenya. Hundreds of individuals traveling on stolen passports in Pakistan, as well as wanted criminals, narcotics smugglers, and human traffickers have been identified and intercepted worldwide. The TIP complements other counterterrorism-related U.S. efforts to enhance aviation, border, cyber, maritime, and transportation security.
Counterterrorist Finance Training (CTFT). The State Department chaired the interagency Terrorist Finance Working Group (TFWG), which meets biweekly to develop and coordinate USG CTF capacity-building efforts, and worked to expand its counterterrorism financing (CTF) capacity-building efforts in key partner nations. Under the auspices of the TFWG we have worked with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and our interagency partners to expand our bulk cash smuggling training programs, and thus provided regional or bilateral Bulk Cash Smuggling training to 45 countries. In addition, the CTF capacity-building program includes training and technical assistance in the legal, financial regulatory, financial intelligence, financial investigation, and judicial/prosecutorial fields. In 2007, CTF programs included the posting of five Resident Legal Advisors, the development of a Regional Operational Cash Courier program, Prosecutorial and Designation Workshops, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Development, and terrorist financing analytical training for law enforcement authorities.
Increasing Economic Development. Poverty, unemployment, weak institutions, and corruption can turn nations of great potential into recruiting grounds for terrorists. Development is central to the President's National Security Strategy and long-term U.S. economic growth. Well-conceived, targeted aid is a potential leveraging instrument that can help countries implement sound economic policies and improve the conditions that terrorists might otherwise exploit.
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), established by Congress in 2004, represents a new model for achieving transformational development by providing assistance to those countries that rule justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom. The prospect of an MCA Compact provides a powerful incentive for the poorest countries to reform. U.S. private sector flows to the developing world, including trade and investment ($685.4 billion in 2004), dwarf our foreign aid ($23.5 billion). Unutilized capital in developing countries, owing to weak policies and poor property rights, is estimated to be as high as $9 trillion.
Debt relief for the poorest is another element of our development strategy. Our long-standing support for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, as well as for the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) introduced in 2006, promotes debt sustainability, reduces the likelihood of debt distress and enables the poorest countries to devote additional resources to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth. Our aggressive multilateral and bilateral trade agenda to open agricultural and non-agricultural markets and liberalize financial services, transportation, telecommunications, and government procurement all support development.
USAID's humanitarian aid programs and its activities in the areas of economic growth, agriculture, trade, health, democracy, and conflict prevention help reduce the risk of countries becoming breeding grounds for terrorism. In Afghanistan, USAID is helping to build a safe, stable society that meets the needs of its people and eliminates an environment in which terrorist groups have flourished. USAID has been on the front lines of support to tsunami-affected countries, garnering goodwill toward the United States among people in the hardest-hit areas.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Despite some setbacks to the freedom agenda, including attempts by authoritarian governments to limit basic rights for citizens, 2007 developments in the Middle East and North Africa region demonstrated that calls for greater political, economic, and educational opportunities; and women’s empowerment are clear, indigenous, and growing.
In 2007, to support and amplify local demands for reform, MEPI provided tangible support to reformers in the region so democracy could spread, education could thrive, economies could grow, and women could be empowered. Working in 16 countries and the Palestinian territories, MEPI invested in programs ranging from campaign schools to civic education to an Arab businesswomen's network. Examples of MEPI's work with reformers include the following: