State-sponsored terrorism

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State-sponsored terrorism is government support of paramilitary organizations engaged in terrorism.[1] The identifications of particular examples are usually subject to political dispute.

By countries[edit]

Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan has been accused by India, Afghanistan, Israel, United Kingdom,[2][3][4] of involvement in terrorism in Kashmir and Afghanistan.[5] Poland has also alleged that terrorists have "friends in Pakistani government structures".[6] In July 2009, current President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari admitted that the Pakistani government had "created and nurtured" terrorist groups to achieve its short-term foreign policy goals.[7] According to an analysis published by Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution in 2008, Pakistan was the worlds 'most active' state sponsor of terrorism including aiding groups which were considered a direct threat to USA.[8]

The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has stated that it was training more than 3,000 militants from various nationalities.[9][10] According to some reports published by the Council of Foreign Relations, the Pakistan military and the ISI have provided covert support to terrorist groups active in Kashmir, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jaish-e-Mohammed".[11][12] Pakistan has denied any involvement in terrorist activities in Kashmir, arguing that it only provides political and moral support to the secessionist groups who wish to escape Indian rule. Many Kashmiri militant groups also maintain their headquarters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which is cited as further proof by the Indian government. Many of the terrorist organisations are banned by the UN, but continue to operate under different names.[13]

The United Nations Organization has publicly increased pressure on Pakistan on its inability to control its Afghanistan border and not restricting the activities of Taliban leaders who have been designated by the UN as terrorists.[14][15]

Many consider that Pakistan has been playing both sides in the US "War on Terror".[16][17]

Ahmed Rashid, a noted Pakistani journalist, has accused Pakistan's ISI of providing help to the Taliban.[18] Author Ted Galen Carpenter echoed that statement, stating that Pakistan "... assisted rebel forces in Kashmir even though those groups have committed terrorist acts against civilians"[19] Author Gordon Thomas stated that whilst aiding in the capture of al-Qaeda members, Pakistan "still sponsored terrorist groups in the disputed state of Kashmir, funding, training and arming them in their war on attrition against India."[20] Journalist Stephen Schwartz notes that several militant and criminal groups are "backed by senior officers in the Pakistani army, the country's ISI intelligence establishment and other armed bodies of the state."[21] According to one author, Daniel Byman, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism."[22]

The Inter-Services Intelligence has often been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks across the world including the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States,[23] terrorism in Kashmir,[24][25][26] Mumbai Train Bombings,[27] Indian Parliament Attack,[28] Varnasi bombings,[29] Hyderabad bombings[30][31] and Mumbai terror attacks.[32][33] The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban forces[34] and recruiting and training mujahideen[34][35] to fight in Afghanistan[36][37] and Kashmir.[37] Based on communication intercepts US intelligence agencies concluded Pakistan's ISI was behind the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008, a charge that the governments of India and Afghanistan had laid previously.[38] Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has constantly reiterated allegations that militants operating training camps in Pakistan have used it as a launch platform to attack targets in Afghanistan, urged western military allies to target extremist hideouts in neighbouring Pakistan.[39] When the United States, during the Clinton administration, targeted al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan with cruise missiles, Slate reported that two officers of the ISI were killed.[40]

Pakistan is accused of sheltering and training the Taliban as strategic asset[41] in operations "which include soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban's virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support," as reported by Human Rights Watch. On May 1, 2011 Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan.[42]

Soviet Union[edit]

Soviet secret services worked to establish a network of terrorist front organizations and have been described as the primary promoters of terrorism worldwide.[43][44][45] According to Ion Mihai Pacepa, General Aleksandr Sakharovsky from the First Chief Directorate of the KGB once said: "In today’s world, when nuclear arms have made military force obsolete, terrorism should become our main weapon."[46] He also claimed that "Airplane hijacking is my own invention". George Habash, who worked under the KGB's guidance,[47] explained: "Killing one Jew far away from the field of battle is more effective than killing a hundred Jews on the field of battle, because it attracts more attention."[46]

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa described the operation "SIG" (“Zionist Governments”) that was devised in 1972, to turn the whole Islamic world against Israel and the United States. KGB chairman Yury Andropov allegedly explained to Pacepa that "a billion adversaries could inflict far greater damage on America than could a few millions. We needed to instill a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States."[48]

The following organizations have been allegedly established with assistance from Eastern Bloc security services: the PLO, the National Liberation Army of Bolivia (created in 1964 with help from Ernesto Che Guevara); the National Liberation Army of Colombia (created in 1965 with help from Cuba), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) in 1969, and the Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia in 1975.[49]

The leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, established close collaboration with the Romanian Securitate service and the Soviet KGB in the beginning of the 1970s.[50] The secret training of PLO guerrillas was provided by the KGB.[51] However, the main KGB activities and arms shipments were channeled through Wadie Haddad of the DFLP organization, who usually stayed in a KGB dacha BARVIKHA-1 during his visits to Russia. Led by Carlos the Jackal, a group of PFLP fighters accomplished a spectacular raid the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries office in Vienna in 1975. Advance notice of this operation "was almost certainly" given to the KGB.[50]

A number of notable operations have been conducted by the KGB to support international terrorists with weapons on the orders from the Soviet Communist Party, including:

Large-scale terrorist operations have been prepared by the KGB and GRU against the United States, Canada and Europe, according to the Mitrokhin Archive,[55] GRU defectors Victor Suvorov[56] and Stanislav Lunev, and former SVR officer Kouzminov.[57] Among the planned operations were the following:

  • Large arms caches were allegedly hidden in many countries for the planned terrorism acts. They were booby-trapped with "Lightning" explosive devices. One of such cache, which was identified by Mitrokhin, exploded when Swiss authorities tried to remove it from woods near Bern. Several others caches (probably not equipped with the "Lightnings") were removed successfully.[58]
  • Preparations for nuclear sabotage. Some of the allegedly hidden caches could contain portable tactical nuclear weapons known as RA-115 "suitcase bombs" prepared to assassinate US leaders in the event of war, according to GRU defector Stanislav Lunev.[43] Lunev states that he had personally looked for hiding places for weapons caches in the Shenandoah Valley area[43] and that "it is surprisingly easy to smuggle nuclear weapons into the US" ether across the Mexican border or using a small transport missile that can slip undetected when launched from a Russian airplane.[43]
  • Extensive sabotage plans in London, Washington, Paris, Bonn, Rome, and other Western capitals have been revealed by KGB defector Oleg Lyalin in 1971, including plan to flood the London underground and deliver poison capsules to Whitehall. This disclosure triggered mass expulsion of Russian spies from London.[59]
  • FSLN leader Carlos Fonseca Amador was described as "a trusted agent" in KGB files. "Sandinista guerrillas formed the basis for a KGB sabotage and intelligence group established in 1966 on the Mexican US border".[60]
  • Disruption of the power supply in the entire New York State by KGB sabotage teams, which would be based along the Delaware river, in the Big Spring Park.[61]
  • An "immensely detailed" plan to destroy "oil refineries and oil and gas pipelines across Canada from British Columbia to Montreal" (operation "Cedar") has been prepared, which took twelve years to complete.[62]
  • A plan for sabotage of Hungry Horse Dam in Montana.[61]
  • A detailed plan to destroy the port of New York (target GRANIT); most vulnerable points of the port were marked at maps.[61]

Russia[edit]

According to Lunev, a probable scenario in the event of war would be poisoning of Potomac River with chemical or biological weapons, "targeting the residents of Washington DC"[43] He also noted that it is "likely" that GRU operatives have placed already "poison supplies near the tributaries to major US reservoirs."[63] That was confirmed by Alexander Kouzminov who was responsible for transporting dangerous pathogens from around the world for Russian program of biological weapons in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. He described a variety of biological terrorism acts that would be carried out on the order of Russian President in the event of hostilities, including poisoning public drinking-water supplies and food processing plants.[64] US Congressman Curt Weldon supported claims by Lunev but noted that Lunev had "exaggerated things" according to the FBI.[65] Searches of the areas identified by Lunev - who admits he never planted any weapons in the US - have been conducted, "but law-enforcement officials have never found such weapons caches, with or without portable nuclear weapons."[66]

Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University argues that Russia’s direct and indirect involvement in the violence in eastern Ukraine qualifies as a state-sponsored terrorism, and that those involved qualify as “terrorist groups."[67]

United Kingdom[edit]

A mural in Belfast graphically depicting the alleged collusion between British security forces[disambiguation needed] and Ulster loyalist groups; Image reads: "Collusion is not an illusion, it is state murder"
A mural in Belfast graphically depicting the collusion between British security forces and Ulster loyalist groups.

The United Kingdom (UK) has been accused of supporting Ulster loyalist paramilitaries during The Troubles, both within Northern Ireland and also in cross-border operations into the Republic of Ireland.[68] During the 1970s, a group of loyalist extremists known as the "Glenanne gang" carried out numerous shootings and bombings against the Irish Catholic and Irish nationalist community.[69] The gang included members of the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), soldiers of the British Army and police officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).[70][71] It was allegedly commanded by British Military Intelligence and/or RUC Special Branch.[71][72] Human rights group the Pat Finucane Centre has attributed 87 killings to the Glenanne gang;[73][74] including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings (which killed 33 civilians), the Miami Showband killings and the Reavey and O'Dowd killings.[71][75] The UK is also accused of providing intelligence material, training, firearms, explosives and lists of people that the security forces wanted to have killed.[76]

On 17 April 2003, Sir John Stevens published his third inquiry into collusion between the British Army and RUC with Loyalist paramilitaries. It stated that there had been collusion in the high-profile murder of solicitor Pat Finucane by Loyalists.[68]

In 1999, former RUC officer John Weir made an affidavit in which he admitted colluding with loyalist paramilitaries and implicated many other police officers and soldiers of the same. He recounted in detail the killings of 15 Catholics and claimed that his superiors had knowledge of 76 more assassinations carried out by the UVF in the same period.[77] He also alleges that members of the SAS killed Loyalists who may have planned to expose the collusion.[77]

The UK has also been accused by Iran of supporting Arab separatist terrorism in the southern city of Ahwaz in 2006.[78]

Qatar[edit]

Various US media outlets, commentators and conservative politicians have described the state-funded Al Jazeera as a 'terror network.'[79][80]

In 2011 the Washington Times reported that Qatar was providing weapons and funding to Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the formerly U.S. designated terrorist group, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and then leader of the conservative Islamist Al-Watan Party[81]

In December 2012 the New York Times accused the Qatari regime of funding the Al-Nusra Front, a U.S. government designated terrorist organization.[82] The Financial Times noted Emir Hamad's visit to Gaza and meeting with Hamas, another internationally designated terrorist organization.[83] Spanish football club FC Barcelona were coming under increasing pressure to tear up their £125m shirt sponsorship contract with the Qatar Foundation after claims the so-called charitable trust finances terrorist group Hamas. The fresh controversy follows claims made by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that the Qatar Foundation had given money to extremist cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi who is an advocate of terrorism, wife beating and anti-semitism.[84]

In January 2013 French politicians again accused the Qatari Government of giving material support to Islamist groups in Mali and the French newspaper Le Canard enchaîné quoted an unnamed source in French military intelligence saying that “The MNLA [secular Tuareg separatists], al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa have all received cash from Doha.”[85]

United States[edit]

The United States was accused of being a state sponsor of terrorism for their alleged support of Cuban exiles Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.[86] The US also supported Afghan Mujahideen as part of the Reagan Doctrine, which arguably contributed to the creation of Al-Qaeda.[87][88] However, scholars such as Jason Burke, Steve Coll, Peter Bergen, Christopher Andrew, and Vasily Mitrokhin have argued that Bin Laden was "outside of CIA eyesight" and that there is "no support" in any "reliable source" for "the claim that the CIA funded bin Laden or any of the other Arab volunteers who came to support the mujahideen."[89][90][91][92] American academic and U.S. foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky has referred to the United States as "a Leading Terrorist State".[93]

India[edit]

Pakistan has accused the Republic of India of supporting insurgent groups in Pakistan, but the Center for International Policy in the United States has found no evidence supporting this claim.[94] India's Research and Analysis Wing has been accused of training and arming the Sri Lankan Tamil group, LTTE, during the 1970s when it was not considered a terrorist organization by any country but it later withdrew its support in the 1980s, when the activities of LTTE became serious, becoming the first country to ban LTTE as a terrorist organization.[95][96] Richard Holbrooke who is United States Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan stated that Pakistan didn't provide any credible evidence to back their accusations against India.[97]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel suggested in 2011 that "India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan" in Afghanistan.[98][99][100] In response to this claim, Lisa Curtis, a South Asia expert at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think-tank, said, "comments on India's role in Afghanistan during a speech in 2011 provide yet another indication that he is poorly qualified to lead the US Department of Defence"[99] Sadanand Dhume, former India bureau chief at the Far Eastern Economic Review and current resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute stated that Hagel's opinion reflect a "paranoid" worldview.[98]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

In 1970 the Arms Trial resulted in two cabinet ministers from the Republic of Ireland government – Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney – being sacked for attempting to illegally import arms for the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.

In 2001 the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a motion calling on the Northern Ireland secretary to take up with the Government of the Republic of Ireland allegations that some members of the Garda Síochána colluded with the IRA over a number of murders.[101] As of 2010, the Smithwick Tribunal is an investigation that is currently taking place investigating allegations of collusion between the police in the Republic of Ireland and the Provisional IRA into the murders of two Northern Irish police officers.

In June 2010 Northern Ireland Unionist politician David Simpson called for a full investigation to "investigate the alleged role of the Irish state in funding, arming, training and sheltering hundreds of IRA members during the Troubles".[102]

Libya[edit]

After the military overthrow of King Idris in 1969 the Libyan Arab Republic (later the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), the new government supported (with weapon supplies, training camps located within Libya and monetary finances) an array of armed paramilitary groups both left and right-wing. Leftist and socialist groups included the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty, the Umkhonto We Sizwe, the Polisario Front, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, while others were on the far-Right such as the Moro National Liberation Front of the Philippines.

In 2006, Libya was removed from the United States list of terrorist supporting nations after it had ended all of its support for armed groups and the development of weapons of mass destruction.[103]

Afghanistan[edit]

Afghanistan's KHAD is one of four secret service agencies believed to have possibly conducted terrorist bombing in Pakistan North-west during the early 1980s;[104] then by late 1980s U.S state department blamed WAD (a KGB created Afghan secret intelligence agency) for terrorist bombing Pakistani cities.[105][106] Furthermore Afghanistan security agencies supported the terrorist organization called Al zulfiqar since the 1970s-1990s ;the terrorist group that conducted hijacking in March 1981 of a Pakistan International Airlines plane from Karachi to Kabul.[107]

Iran[edit]

The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Yemen have accused the previous Ahmadinejad administration of sponsoring terrorism either in their, or against their, respective countries. United Kingdom and the United States have also accused Iran of backing Shia militias in Iraq, which have at times attacked Coalition troops, Iraqi Sunni militias and civilians, and Anglo-American-supported Iraqi government forces.

Former United States President George W. Bush has described the Iranian regime the "world's primary state sponsor of terror."[108][109][110]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia is said to be the world's largest source of funds for Salafi jihadist terrorist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba in South Asia, and donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to Hillary Clinton.[111] According to a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state, "Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups."[112]

France[edit]

The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior took place in New Zealand's Auckland Harbour on July 10, 1985. It was an attack carried out by French DGSE Agents Captain Dominique Prieur and Commander Alain Mafart aimed at sinking the flagship craft of the Greenpeace Organization to stop her from interfering in French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. The attack resulted in the death of Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira and led to a huge uproar over the first ever attack on New Zealand sovereignty. France initially denied any involvement, and even joined in condemnation of it as a terrorist act. In July 1986, a United Nations-sponsored mediation between New Zealand and France resulted in the transfer of the two prisoners to the French Polynesian island of Hao, to serve three years instead, as well as an apology and a NZD 13 million payment from France to New Zealand.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth & K. Lee Lerner, eds. Terrorism: Essential primary sources. Thomson Gale, 2006. ISBN 978-1-4144-0621-3 Library of Congress. Jefferson or Adams Bldg General or Area Studies Reading Rms LC Control Number: 2005024002.
  • George, Alexander. Western State Terrorism, Polity Press. ISBN 0-7456-0931-7
  • Kreindler, James P. The Lockerbie Case and its Implications for State-Sponsored Terrorism, in: Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2007)

External links[edit]