State-sponsored terrorism

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Not to be confused with State terrorism.

State-sponsored terrorism is government support of violent non-state actors engaged in terrorism.[1] Because of the pejorative nature of the word, the identification of particular examples are usually subject to political dispute (see Definitions of terrorism).

By countries


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;[2] then by late 1980s U.S state department blamed WAD (a KGB created Afghan secret intelligence agency) for terrorist bombing Pakistani cities.[3][4] 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.[5]


India has been accused by Pakistan,[6] and Sri Lanka[7] of supporting terrorism and carrying out "economic sabotage" in their respective countries.[8] 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. Although the Indian Government banned the group, the LTTE continued to operate freely and continued to have links with RAW until the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.[9][10][10]

From August 1983 to May 1987, India, through its intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), provided arms, training and monetary support to six Sri Lankan Tamil insurgent groups including the LTTE. During that period, 32 terror training camps were set up in India to train these 495 LTTE insurgents,[11] including 90 women who were trained in 10 batches.[12] The first batch of Tigers were trained in Establishment 22 based in Chakrata, Uttarakhand. The second batch, including LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman,[13] trained in Himachal Pradesh. Prabakaran visited the first and the second batch of Tamil Tigers to see them training.[14] Eight other batches of LTTE were trained in Tamil Nadu. Thenmozhi Rajaratnam alias Dhanu, who carried out the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and Sivarasan—the key conspirator were among the militants trained by RAW, in Nainital, India.[15]

In April 1984, the LTTE formally joined a common militant front, the Eelam National Liberation Front (ENLF), a union between LTTE, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF). These Indian trained groups later carried out some of the most devastating terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.[16]

Furthermore, India Research and Analysis Wing agencies supported the separatist/nationalist terrorist organization called Al Zulfiqar since 1977.[citation needed] This terrorist group conducted hijacking in March 1981 of a Pakistan International Airlines plane from Karachi to Kabul. The group is currently inactive.[17] Richard Holbrooke in 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.[18]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel suggested in 2011 that "India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan" in Afghanistan.[19][20][21] 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.[19]

Pakistani Government and ISI have accused Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad, Afghanistan, for providing arms, training and financial aid to the BLA in an attempt to destabilize Pakistan.[22][23]

Brahamdagh Bugti stated in a 2008 interview that he would accept aid from India in his terrorist activities in Baluchistan.[24] Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting Baloch rebels,[25][26] and Wright-Neville writes that outside Pakistan, some Western observers also believe that India secretly funds the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).[27] In August 2013 US Special Representative James Dobbins said Pakistan's fears over India's role in Afghanistan were “not groundless".[28]

A diplomatic cable sent Dec. 31, 2009, from the U.S. consulate in Karachi and obtained by WikiLeaks said it was "plausible" that Indian intelligence was helping the Baluch insurgents. An earlier 2008 cable, discussing the Mumbai attacks reported fears by British officials that "intense domestic pressure would force Delhi to respond, at the minimum, by ramping up covert support to nationalist militants fighting the Pakistani army in Baluchistan."[29] Another cable dating back to 2009 showed that UAE officials believed India was secretly supporting Tehreek-e-Taliban insurgents and separatists in northwest Pakistan.[30]

In 2011, the Guardian published an article which mentioned that India is a safe haven for many Hindutva extremists and that the Indian Government has turned a blind eye to many Saffron terror groups that operate within its territory. It urged the Indian Government to crack down on various terror groups that operate with impunity.[31]

The Indian-based Hindutva terror group Abhinav Bharat have links with the Indian Army and with RAW. Some of its members such as Swami Aseemanand, Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Sunil Joshi and Rajendra Choudhary allegedly carried out the Malegaon terrorist bombings,[32] the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, the Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing and the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast.[33][34] During investigations, it was revealed that serving and retired Indian Army officers associated with Abhinav Bharat have motivated the youth to carry out terrorist attacks against Indian Muslims and have advocated cross-border terrorism against Pakistan.[35]

In 2015, Chinese authorities have notified and cautioned Pakistani authorities of a possible terror attack aimed at making the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor project a failure. According to China, Baluch insurgents with ties to India's Research and Analysis Wing plan on sabotaging some key projects particularly on the eastern alignment; Gwadar to Quetta, where work has already started. “The Chinese have sounded a note of 'caution' soon after reports suggested foreign agencies’ support to militants,” said the official, who attended an important meeting discussing key issues relating to Gwadar Port and the economic corridor at the Ministry of Defence. He further said, “The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), with other hostile agencies, is at the frontline to sabotage this project, that is what Chinese intelligence agencies shared with us.”[8][36]

In October 2015, the adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz handed over three dossiers to the United Nations, allegedly containing proof of Indian involvement in terrorist activities abroad. Aziz said that Pakistan's permanent representative to UN, Dr Maliha Lodhi had shared three dossiers containing evidences pertaining to Indian backed terrorism in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a meeting.[37]


Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was instrumental in founding, training, and supplying Hezbollah, a group designated a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" by the United States Department of State,[38] and likewise labeled a terrorist organization by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs[39] and the Gulf Cooperation Council.[40] The European Union, however, differentiates between the political, social, and military wings of Hezbollah, designating only the Hezbollah Military Wing as a terrorist organization[41]

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."[42][43][44]


The 'Lavon Affair' refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named 'Operation Susannah', conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation,[45] a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centers. The bombs were timed to detonate several hours after closing time. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, "unspecified malcontents" or "local nationalists" with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to retain its occupying troops in Egypt's Suez Canal zone.[46] The operation caused no casualties, except for operative Philip Natanson, when a bomb he was taking to place in a movie theater ignited prematurely in his pocket; for two members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured; and for two operatives who were tried, convicted and executed by Egypt.

The operation ultimately became known as the 'Lavon Affair' after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign as a consequence of the incident. Before Lavon's resignation, the incident had been euphemistically referred to in Israel as the "Unfortunate Affair" or "The Bad Business" (Hebrew: העסק הביש‎‎, HaEsek HaBish). After Israel publicly denied any involvement in the incident for 51 years, the surviving agents were officially honored in 2005 by being awarded certificates of appreciation by Israeli President Moshe Katzav.


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 Kurdistan Workers' Party, the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Free Aceh Movement, Free Papua Movement, Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor, Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front, Republic of South Maluku and 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.[47]


Citing Operation Merdeka, an alleged Philippine plot to incite unrest in Sabah and reclaimed the disputed territory, Malaysia funded and trained secessionists groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front as a retaliation.[48]


Pakistan has been accused by India, Afghanistan, Israel, United Kingdom,[49][50][51] of involvement in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan.[52] Poland has also alleged that terrorists have "friends in Pakistani government structures".[53] In July 2009, the then 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.[54] 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.[55]

The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has stated that it was training more than 3,000 militants from various nationalities.[56][57] 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".[58][59] 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.[60]

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.[61][62]

Many consider that Pakistan has been playing both sides in the US "War on Terror".[63][64]

Ahmed Rashid, a noted Pakistani journalist, has accused Pakistan's ISI of providing help to the Taliban.[65] 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"[66] 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."[67] 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."[68] According to one author, Daniel Byman, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism."[69]

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,[70] terrorism in Kashmir,[71][72][73] Mumbai Train Bombings,[74] Indian Parliament Attack,[75] Varnasi bombings,[76] Hyderabad bombings[77][78] and Mumbai terror attacks.[79][80] The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban forces[81] and recruiting and training mujahideen[81][82] to fight in Afghanistan[83][84] and Kashmir.[84] 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.[85] 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.[86] 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.[87]

Pakistan is accused of sheltering and training the Taliban as strategic asset[88] 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.

Pakistan was also responsible for the evacuation of about 5,000 of the top leadership of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who were encircled by Nato forces in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. This event known as the Kunduz airlift, which is also popularly called the "Airlift of Evil", involved several Pakistani Air Force transport planes flying multiple sorties over a number of days.

On May 1, 2011 Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, he was living in a safe house less than a mile away from, what is called the West Point of Pakistan, the Pakistan Military Academy. This has given rise to numerous allegations of an extensive support system for Osama Bin Laden was in place by the Government and Military of Pakistan.[89][90]

Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistan President, had admitted in 2016 that Pakistan supported and trained terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba in 1990s to carry out militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan was in favour of religious militancy in 1979. He said that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed were seen as heroes in Pakistan during the 1990s. He added that later on this religious militancy turned into terrorism and they started killing their own people. He also stated that Pakistan trained the Taliban to fight against Russia, saying that the Taliban Osama Bin Laden, Jalaluddin Haqqani and Ayman al-Zawahiri were heroes for Pakistan however later they became villains.[91]


Operation Merdeka was a destabilization plot planned with the objective of establishing Philippine control over Sabah. The operation failed to carry out which resulted in the Jabidah massacre.[92]


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.[93]

In December 2012 the New York Times accused the Qatari regime of funding the Al-Nusra Front, a U.S. government designated terrorist organization.[94] The Financial Times noted Emir Hamad's visit to Gaza and meeting with Hamas, another internationally designated terrorist organization.[95] 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 Hamas. The fresh controversy follows claims made by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo that the Qatar Foundation had given money to cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi who is alleged to be an advocate of terrorism, wife beating and antisemitism.[96]

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."[97]

In March 2014, the then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused the Qatari government of sponsoring Sunni insurgents fighting against Iraqi soldiers in western Anbar province.[98]

In October 2014, it was revealed that a former Qatari Interior Ministry official, Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari, had been named by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as an al Qaeda financier, with allegations that he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the terrorist group. Kuwari worked for the civil defense department of the Interior Ministry in 2009, two years before he was designated for his support of al Qaeda.[99]

A number of wealthy Qataris are accused of sponsoring the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[100][101] In response to public criticism over Qatari connections to ISIL, the government has pushed back and denied supporting the group.[102]


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."[103] Behaviour by Russia with its neighbours was named by Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania, who gave an interview to the BBC, in which she repeated her charge, saying that “Russia demonstrates the qualities of a terrorist state.”[104]

In May 2016, Reuters published a Special Report titled "How Russia allowed homegrown radicals to go and fight in Syria" that, based on first-hand evidence, said that at least in the period between 2012 and 2014 the Russian government agencies ran a programme to facilitate and encourage Russian radicals and militants to leave Russia and go to Turkey and then on to Syria; the persons in question had joined jihadist groups, some fighting with the ISIL.[105]

Saudi Arabia

While Saudi Arabia is often a secondary source of funds and support for terror movements who can find more motivated and ideologically invested benefactors (e.g. Qatar), Saudi Arabia arguably remains the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting groups as disparate as the Afghanistan Taliban, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front.[106]

Saudi Arabia is said to be the world's largest source of funds and promoter of Salafist jihadism,[107] which forms the ideological basis of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS and others. Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to Hillary Clinton.[108] 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."[109]

The violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan is partly bankrolled by wealthy, conservative donors across the Arabian Sea whose governments do little to stop them.[108] Three other Arab countries which are listed as sources of militant money are Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, all neighbors of Saudi Arabia. Taliban and their militant partners the Haqqani network earn "significant funds" through UAE-based businesses. Kuwait is described as a "source of funds and a key transit point" for al-Qaida and other militant groups.[108][110] The Pakistani militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks, used a Saudi-based front company to fund its activities in 2005.[108][111] According to studies, most of suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudis.[112][113][114] 15 of the 19 hijackers of the four airliners who were responsible for 9/11 originated from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon.[115] Osama bin Laden was born and educated in Saudi Arabia.

Starting in the mid-1970s the Islamic resurgence was funded by an abundance of money from Saudi Arabian oil exports.[116] The tens of billions of dollars in "petro-Islam" largess obtained from the recently heightened price of oil funded an estimated "90% of the expenses of the entire faith."[117]

Throughout the Sunni Muslim world, religious institutions for people both young and old, from children's maddrassas to high-level scholarships received Saudi funding,[118] "books, scholarships, fellowships, and mosques" (for example, "more than 1500 mosques were built and paid for with money obtained from public Saudi funds over the last 50 years"),[119] along with training in the Kingdom for the preachers and teachers who went on to teach and work at these universities, schools, mosques, etc.[120] The funding was also used to reward journalists and academics who followed the Saudis' strict interpretation of Islam; and satellite campuses were built around Egypt for Al Azhar, the world's oldest and most influential Islamic university.[121]

The interpretation of Islam promoted by this funding was the strict, conservative Saudi-based Wahhabism or Salafism. In its harshest form it preached that Muslims should not only "always oppose" infidels "in every way," but "hate them for their religion ... for Allah's sake," that democracy "is responsible for all the horrible wars of the 20th century," that Shia and other non-Wahhabi Muslims were "infidels", etc.[122] According to former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, while this effort has by no means converted all, or even most, Muslims to the Wahhabist interpretation of Islam, it has done much to overwhelm more moderate local interpretations of Islam in Southeast Asia, and to pitch the Saudi-interpretation of Islam as the "gold standard" of religion in minds of Muslims across the globe.[123]

Patrick Cockburn accused Saudi Arabia of supporting extremist Islamist groups in the Syrian Civil War, writing: "In Syria, in early 2015, it supported the creation of the Army of Conquest, primarily made up of the al-Qaeda affiliate the al-Nusra Front and the ideologically similar Ahrar al-Sham, which won a series of victories against the Syrian Army in Idlib province."[124]

While the Saudi government denies claims that it exports religious or cultural extremism,[125] it is argued that by its nature, Wahhabism encourages intolerance and promotes terrorism.[126] Former CIA director James Woolsey described it as "the soil in which Al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing."[127] In 2015, Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, accused Saudi Arabia of supporting intolerance and extremism, saying: "Wahhabi mosques are financed all over the world by Saudi Arabia. In Germany, many dangerous Islamists come from these communities."[128] In May 2016, The New York Times editorialised that the kingdom allied to the U.S. had "spent untold millions promoting Wahhabism, the radical form of Sunni Islam that inspired the 9/11 hijackers and that now inflames the Islamic State".[129]

Soviet Union

Further information: Terrorism and the Soviet Union

Soviet secret services worked to establish a network of terrorist front organizations and have been described as the primary promoters of terrorism worldwide.[130][131][132] 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."[133] He also claimed that "Airplane hijacking is my own invention". George Habash, who worked under the KGB's guidance,[134] 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."[133]

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."[135]

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.[136]

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.[137] The secret training of PLO guerrillas was provided by the KGB.[138] 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.[137]

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,[143] GRU defectors Victor Suvorov[144] and Stanislav Lunev, and former SVR officer Kouzminov.[145] 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.[146]
  • 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.[147] Lunev states that he had personally looked for hiding places for weapons caches in the Shenandoah Valley area[147] 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.[147]
  • 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.[148]
  • 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".[149]
  • 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.[150]
  • 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.[151]
  • A plan for sabotage of Hungry Horse Dam in Montana.[150]
  • A detailed plan to destroy the port of New York (target GRANIT); most vulnerable points of the port were marked at maps.[150]


Turkey has been accused of supporting various extremist Islamist groups including Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS. Turkey had reportedly criticised designation of the Nusra Front as a terrorist organisation. Feridun Sinirlioğlu had reportedly told his American interlocutors hat it was more important to focus on the "chaos" that Assad has created instead of groups such as al-Nusra. Al-Monitor claimed in 2013 that Turkey was reconsidering its support for Nusra. Turkey's designation of Nusra Front as a terrorist group was seen as an indication of it giving up on the group.[152][153][154] Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Leader of the Opposition in Turkey has alleged that Erdogan and his government have supported terrorism in Syria.[155][156] In June 2014, it was reported that a directive had been signed by Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler which stated that they will help Al-Nusra against PYD and provide logistical support to Islamist groups.[157][158] Former United States Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone claimed that Turkey had directly supported and worked with Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda's wing in Syria for a period of time thinking that they could work with extremist Islamist groups and push them to become more moderate at the same time, an attempt which failed. He said that that he tried to persuade the Turkish government to close its borders to the groups, but to no avail.[159] Cumhuriyet reported Fuat Avni, a prominent Twitter user claiming that leaked audio tapes confirmed Turkey providing financial and military aid to terrorist groups associated with Al-Qaeda on October 12, 2014.[160] Kılıçdaroğlu warned the government on October 14, 2014 not to provide money and training to terrorist groups.[161][162] Seymour Hersh in an article published on London Review of Books on April 17, 2014 cited a former senior US intelligence official who had access to current intelligence, saying that al-Nusra conducted the Ghouta chemical attack and Turkey knew about it. He also claimed that senior US military leaders and the intelligence community were concerned about Turkey's role and stated that Erdogan was a supporter of al-Nusra Front and other Islamist rebel groups.[163]

The Independent alleged in December 2015 that Turkey along with Saudi Arabia was supporting Army of Conquest in Syria. According to it, some Turkish officials have admitted giving logistical and intelligence support to the command center of the coalition and having links with Ahrar al-Sham. However they denied giving direct help to al-Nusra, although they acknowledged that the group would be beneficiaries. It also reported that some rebels and officials claim that material support in the form of money and weapons to the Islamist groups was being given by Saudis with Turkey facilitating its passage.[164] RT reported in March 2016 that al-Nusra had pitched their camps along the Turkish border and regularly receives supply from the Turkish side near the border town of Azaz. While filming a number of vehicles coming from the Turkish side through the Bab al-Salam crossing to Azaz, the RT crew reported that Turkish military vehicles were at most a kilometre away from them. Abdu Ibrahim, head of YPG in Afrin claimed that Turkey was definitely providing support to al-Nusra. Some Syrian rebels also told RT that Turkey was providing support to ISIS and al-Nusra.[165]

Turkey reportedly welcomed any anti-Assad group including Islamic State and al-Nusra fighters before the Reyhanlı bombings and wounded fighters were treated in Turkish hospitals. Turkey's border region has been used as a vital supply route by ISIS and it had earlier indiscriminately allowed fighters and weapons to flow across the border. An ISIS commander staying in Turkey told The Huffington Post that most of their fighters, equipment and supplies during the beginning of the war came via Turkey. The Guardian had reported in January 2016 that it had obtained documents seized by Syrian Kurdish forces. The documents suggested that there was a period of formalised passage on the Syrian side of the border.[166][167] Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, founder of the AKP said that the government was providing support to terrorists and the Turkish Minister of Health had even said that it was a humanitarian obligation to care for the wounded ISIS members.[168] Taraf claimed that Ahmet El H., one of ISIS' top commanders was treated at a Turkish hospital along with other ISIS fighters and the cost of their treatment was paid by the government.[169] According to CHP Deputy Chairman Bulent Tezcan, three trucks stopped in Adana on January 19, 2014 were loaded with weapons meant for ISIS. These weapons were driven to the border, where a National Intelligence Organization (MIT) agent replaced the driver and drove the truck to Syria. He claimed that this has happened many times.[170] Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu produced a statement on October 14, 2014 from the Office of the Prosecutor of the Adana maintaining that the Turkish government had supplied weapons to ISIS in trucks. He also produced interview transcripts from truck drivers who transported the weapons. According to him, the government claimed that the trucks contained humanitarian aid for Syrian Turkmen however the Turkmen claimed that no such aid was delivered.[161][162][171]

The Daily Mail reported on August 25, 2014 that many foreigners joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq after travelling through Turkey which did not try to stop them. It also stated that Turkish soldiers turned a blind eye to foreigners going to join ISIS and even took bribes to facilitate their crossing.[172] In 2014, Sky News had obtained documents which showed that the Turkish government had stamped passports of foreigners seeking to cross the border and join ISIS.[173] It was reported by CNN on July 29, 2014 that many ISIS militants have been trained in Tukey.[174][175] A WND report in 2014 citing Jordanian intelligence alleged that Turkey was providing training to ISIS militants. Another report citing an Egyptian official claimed that Turkey had provided satellite images to ISIS.[176][177] Kılıçdaroğlu claimed on October 14, 2014 that ISIS camps in Istanbul and Gaziantep are used to recruit fighters.[161][162][178]

Turkey has been alleged to have assisted ISIS during the Siege of Kobani. The Mayor of Kobani Anwar Moslem in an interview with Mutlu Civiroglu in September 2014 was asked about speculations in Kurdish media of Turkey assisiting ISIS and a train being sent to the border carrying assistance for the ISIS. He in turn responded that the Kurds had information that 2 days befpre the start of the war, trains carrying forces and ammunition which were passing had an-hour-and-ten-to-twenty-minute-long stops in 3 Turkish villages and there was even evidence about this. He also said that it was attention-grabbing that ISIS was only strong to the east of Kobani but not in other directions.[179][180] YPG commander Meysa Abdo in an op-ed written for NYTimes on October 28 claimed there is evidence that Turkish forces have allowed the Islamic State’s men and equipment to move back and forth across the border.[181] Diken reported on October 1 that ISIS fighters heading towards Kobani crossed the borders from Turkey into Syria in full view of Turkish soldiers.[182]

The New York Times reported on September 13, 2014 that the US government had tried to persuade Turkey to crack down on oil being sold by ISIS but had failed. James Phillips, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation speculated that Turkey hasn't cracked down on ISIS' oil sales because it benefits from the lower price of oil and that there might even be some Turkish citizens and government officials who benefit from the trade.[183] Fehim Taştekin reported on Radikal about illegal pipelines transporting oil from nearby Syria to border towns in Turkey. This oil was sold cheap. He also indicated that many of these pipelines were demolished once his article was published.[184] Russia's Defence Ministry claimed in December 2015 that Turkey was buying oil from ISIS and released satellite images purporting to show Turkish tanker-trucks filling up with oil at an installation inside ISIS-controlled territory in Syria. It also claimed that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family were involved in the trade.[185] A footage was released by Russian spies later in December that purportedly showed thousands of trucks and tankers and trucks carrying ISIS' oil entering Turkey through Iraqi border.[186] A report leaked by Klassekampen in December 2015 that was put together by Rystad Energy claimed that most of the IS-smuggled oil was destined for Turkey and many smugglers and corrupt border guards facilitated in exporting it. The report also implicated Erdogan and his family saying they were directly involved.[187][188]

The village of Az-Zanbaqi (الزنبقي) in Jisr al-Shughur's countryside has become a base for a massive amount of Uyghur Turkistan Islamic Party militants and their families in Syria, estimated at around 3,500. Hezbollah media, Iranian media and Syrian government media accused Turkish intelligence of being involved in transporting these Uyghurs via Turkey to Syria, with the aim of using them first in Syria to help Jabhat Al-Nusra and gain combat experience fighting against the Syrian Army before sending them back to Xinjiang to fight against China if they manage to survive.[189][190][191][192][193][194][195] Arab news agencies reported that the Uyghurs in the Turkistan Islamic Party, the Chechens in Junud al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham are being coordinated by Turkish intelligence to work with the Army of Conquest.[196][197]

Turkish connections were used by Uyghur fighters to go into Syria.[198] Turkish passports were used by Uyghurs who were seeking to contact Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, a pro-ISIS organization in Sulawesi in Indonesia.[198]

United Kingdom

A mural in Belfast graphically depicting the collusion between British security forces 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 in Northern Ireland.[199] During the 1970s, a group of loyalists known as the "Glenanne gang" carried out numerous shootings and bombings against Irish Catholics and Irish nationalists in an area of Northern Ireland known as the "murder triangle".[200] It also carried out some cross-border attacks in the Republic of Ireland. The group included members of the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) as well as British soldiers and RUC police officers.[201][202] It was allegedly commanded by British Military Intelligence and RUC Special Branch.[202][203] Evidence suggests that the group was responsible for the deaths of about 120 civilians.[204] The Cassel Report investigated 76 killings attributed to the group and found evidence that soldiers and policemen were involved in 74 of those.[205] One former member, RUC officer John Weir, claimed his superiors knew of the group's activities but allowed it to continue.[206][207] Attacks attributed to the group include the Dublin and Monaghan bombings (which killed 34 civilians), the Miami Showband killings and the Reavey and O'Dowd killings.[202][208] The UK is also accused of providing intelligence material, training, firearms, explosives and lists of people that the security forces wanted to have killed.[209]

The Stevens Inquiries concluded that the Force Research Unit (FRU), a covert British Army intelligence unit, helped loyalists to kill people, including civilians.[210][211] FRU commanders say their plan was to make loyalist groups "more professional" by helping them target IRA activists and prevent them killing civilians.[212] The Stevens Inquiries found evidence only two lives were saved and that FRU was involved with at least 30 loyalist killings and many other attacks – many of the victims uninvolved civilians.[210] One of the most prominent victims was solicitor Pat Finucane. A FRU double-agent also helped ship weapons to loyalists from South Africa.[213] Members of the British security forces had tried to obstruct the Stevens investigation.[211]

The UK has also been accused by Iran of supporting Arab separatist terrorism in the southern city of Ahvaz in 2006.[214]

United States

The United States was accused of being a state sponsor of terrorism for their support of Cuban exiles Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.[215]

The U.S., since 1979, funded and armed Afghan jihadists under the Operation Cyclone as part of the Reagan Doctrine, which arguably contributed to the creation of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.[216][217] 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."[218][219][220][221]

American academic Noam Chomsky, a critic of U.S. foreign policy, has referred to the United States as "a Leading Terrorist State".[222][223]

See also


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Further reading

  • George, Alexander. Western State Terrorism, Polity Press. ISBN 0-7456-0931-7
  • Kirchner, Magdalena. Why States Rebel. Understanding State Sponsorship of Terrorism. Barbara Budrich, Opladen 2016. ISBN 978-3-8474-0641-9.
  • Kreindler, James P. The Lockerbie Case and its Implications for State-Sponsored Terrorism, in: Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2007)
  • 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.

External links