Terrorism: September 18, 1999


The new edition of Jane's Counter Terrorism lists some surprising groups as terrorist organizations, including several political action committees in the US. Some of these (mostly related to the firearms issue) include Gun Owners of America, the Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership in the US, and a private shooting range (Blue Trails Range) in Connecticut. The basis for inclusion of these groups is not clear. The situation was written up in the November edition of Soldier of Fortune.--Stephen V Cole

September 18; Afghan scholar Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, noting that the US has offered $5 million for Osama bin Laden, has offered a reward of 5 million Afghanis ($113) for the assassination of President Clinton.--Stephen V Cole

September 9; The Brazilian Air Force is setting up a new airbase at Campo Grande in Mato Grosso do Sul to support operations against drug smuggling and arms trafficking. The base will be home to a squadron of AT-27 Tucano armed trainers used in the counter-insurgency role.--Stephen V Cole

September 8; The UN's annual report on human development says that 8% of all world trade is illegal drug trafficking and that worldwide organized crime amounts to $1.5 trillion.--Stephen V Cole

September 7; Brazilian Armed Forces units are investigating reports that Peruvian Shining Path guerrillas have established a base on Brazilian territory in Acre district, near the border with Peru and Colombia.--Stephen V Cole

September 4; The US is desperate to capture or kill master terrorist Osama bin Laden, but knows that another attack on Afghan soil could bring a diplomatic disaster since bin Laden is now seen as a hero in the Islamic world. Arab and other Islamic states are gratified that the US backed the Moslem Kosovo rebels, but are concerned over the doctrine of bombing to enforce foreign policy goals. Attacks on bin Laden's bases in Afghanistan could raise these concerns above the current level of gratitude. Given this, the US is restricting its efforts against bin Laden to political pressure on the Taliban government of Afghanistan, offering them all manner of inducements if it will simply hand him over or arrange for him to be expelled to a country that will do so. Taliban leader Mullah Omar opposes any such deal, fearing it would be seen as a betrayal by the entire Islamic world, but some members of his government point out that the wider objectives of their government (and its need for recognition and aid) are more important than any one individual.--Stephen V Cole


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