Terrorism: October 18, 2001


Talk around the Pentagon is not on what comes next (everyone agrees it will be an attack on Iraq) but whether the US will go after terrorist bases and "punishment targets" in Syria, Iraq, or Libya. The new wild card is that US carriers may launch strikes on terrorist camps in Indonesia. --Stephen V Cole

There's been a bit of confusion between the Pentagon and various intelligence organizations over the nations long described as hosts for terrorist organizations. The current situation in the nations with the greatest terrorism problems is;

@ There is agreement that Iraq is still up to no good. 

@ Iran's support of terrorism is largely because the minority (20 percent in the last election) Islamic fundamentalists who still hold veto power over the more moderate government. In Iran, ballots will take care of terrorism faster than bombs.

@ Libya has been trying to go straight, but still has some terrorism support active.

@ North Korea has been getting out of the terrorism business over the last decade, mainly because of a succession of economic, agricultural and political crises. The Stalinist government has more urgent things to attend to than making mischief in foreign nations.

@ Syria still provides safe haven for some active, and many "retired" terrorists. But a new generation of leadership is in charge and there's a realization that supporting terrorism in the 21st century is more trouble than it's worth. But old habits die hard, and Syria is looking to make a deal on how to dispose of it's terrorist clients. 

@ Indonesia does not see itself as having a major terrorism problem, and most of it has more to do with local politics than Islamic fundamentalism. The government is not eager for American bombers to do any work in Indonesia.

@ The Philippines has local terrorists who happen to be Moslems (some are also communists.) Many of the most active terrorists are basically Moslem bandits. The United States is sending weapons, equipment and instructors to help out.


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