Six designated countries' record mix of cooperation, intransigence, State Department says
Washington -- The record of the six countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism in the State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 shows a mixture of cooperation and intransigence.
The list includes Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
The annual report, released April 28, explains that state sponsors give crucial support to terrorist groups by supplying money and weapons, and providing safe havens that allow them time and space to plan operations. Some state sponsors also have the capability to make weapons of mass destruction, increasing the possibility that these types of weapons could fall into terrorists' hands.
Placement on the list of state terrorism sponsors means a country faces four sets of U.S. sanctions:
• Arms-related exports and sales are banned;
• Exports of civilian goods or services that could also have military applications, known as dual-use items, are controlled and congressional notification of such exports is required;
• Economic assistance is prohibited; and
• Certain financial and other restrictions are imposed, including requiring U.S. opposition to World Bank loans to these countries, removing diplomatic immunity to allow terror victims to sue in U.S. courts, and denying tax credits for income earned in countries on the terror list.
Cuba, on the list since 1982, continued in 2005 to actively oppose the coalition fighting the war on terrorism and publicly condemned U.S. counterterrorist policies and actions, according to the report. Cuba continues to harbor wanted U.S. fugitives and is unresponsive to U.S. requests for extradition.
Cuba also has harbored members of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) terror groups. In addition, it has close relationships with Iran and North Korea, both terrorism list members. The United States, the report states, is not aware of any Cuban efforts to assist in combating international terrorism, including seizure of terrorist assets.
Iranian government entities (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security) "were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts," the report said. Iran gave high-profile encouragement to terrorist activity against Israel in 2005.
Iran provided Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command with extensive funding, training and weapons, the report found.
The most active state supporter of terrorism, Iran has detained unnamed senior al-Qaida members since 2003 but refuses to prosecute them or transfer them to the custody of other countries for either questioning or trial, according to the report. Iran also presents a grave concern with its continued development of a nuclear weapon program, the report said.
Libya's recent cooperation with the international community in fighting terrorism continued in 2005 and is recorded in the report, but the nation remains on the state sponsors list.
Allegations of Libyan government involvement in a 2003 assassination plot against the then-Saudi crown prince has caused the United States to "continue to evaluate Libya's assurances to halt the use of violence for political purposes."
The Pyongyang regime is not known to have sponsored a direct terrorist act since 1987, when a Korean airlines flight was bombed.
According to the report, North Korea harbors four members of the Japanese Red Army, a formerly active terrorist group, and has returned only a few of the nearly 500 people South Korea claims have been abducted by the North since the Korean War.
Sudan continued to cooperate against known and suspected foreign terrorist elements thought to be operating out of its territory, said the report, adding that the government "undertook actions against security threats" and "produced desired results against international terrorist elements" and their facilitators in 2005.
However, the report states that some areas of concern remain, and that having hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the mid-1990s "continues to weigh heavily in the objective assessment of Sudan's role in international terrorism."
Although the Syrian government has cooperated in the past against al-Qaida, and made efforts in 2005 to limit the movement of foreign fighters into Iraq through its border, the report said Syria continues to give material and political support to Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups.
There is also a strong likelihood of Syrian involvement in the 2005 assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri, it said, according to preliminary findings of a U.N. investigation.
The full text of Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 is available on the State Department Web site.
For additional information, see Response to Terrorism.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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