US Dept. of State issues 2005 report on Terrorism

the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The US Department of State is out with the tome of terror. Changes in methodology make it look like Terror exploded this year, but according to the report there were some increases and decreases, but not as dramatic as it seems looking at the raw numbers.

If you’d like video of the briefing (appx 40 mins) C-Span has it in Real format. (2006 C-Span).

Highlighted information from the fancy titled strategic assessment PDF report

Al Qaeda is weaker overall, but terrorists in general have made progress by becoming smaller and more autonomous; have increased their sophistication and use of technology; are now tied into transnational crime. An increase in local acts of terror not tied nec. to global branches; The USA still considers itself in the first phase of a long war on terror.

  • Terrorist safe havens continue to center on international border areas, the report highlights a different kind of safe haven as well, cyberspace. Citing increasing and overwhelming use of the Internet for propaganda, planning, training and execution of terrorism.
  • Highlighted safe haven areas included the following, major spots bold; Africa, Somalia, Indonesia, South Philippines (waters), in Europe smaller local cells, the Caucasus, Afghan Pakistan border, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen. Lebanon was singled out as recognizing terrorists in Government, but making efforts to reach stability. Colombia, Venezuela.

Terrorist activities in the Middle East and North Africa continued to be a primary concern in the global war on terror. Active extremist groups in this region include:

al-Qaida, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (Fatah’s militant wing), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the
Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), Ansar al-Islam and its offshoot Ansar al-
Sunna, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s organization, Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-
Rafidayn, a.k.a. al-Qaida of the Jihad Organization in the Land of Two Rivers (a.k.a. al-Qaida
in Iraq).

These terrorist groups continued to affiliate themselves with al-Qaida and/or express
support for its ideology. [...]

Iraq remains a key front in the global war on terror.

The Israel West Bank Section selected pieces reproduced here:

Following the Israeli disengagement, Egypt deployed 750 border guards along the Egyptian-
Gaza border. Egypt also dispatched security advisers to Gaza to advise the Palestinian
Authority Security Forces (PASF) on their new security role along the border.
Palestinian terrorist groups conducted a significant number of attacks in Israel, the West
Bank, and the Gaza Strip even after a "period of calm" was agreed in February.

All of these groups used a variety of terrorist tactics, including suicide bombs, rocket attacks, pipe bombs,
mortar attacks, roadside bombings and ambushes, and shooting at Israeli homes and military
and civilian vehicles. The number of victims killed in Israel in terrorist attacks was less than
50, down from the almost 100 individuals killed in 2004. Israeli security forces successfully
thwarted other planned attacks
.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB), HAMAS,
and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) were responsible for most of these attacks.
Within Gaza, Palestinian militants engaged in occasional bloody skirmishes with PA police
and security service officials, and periodically shot at polling stations, electoral offices, and
PA security complexes.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed credit for several terrorist attacks that occurred in Israel,
including:
• The February 25 suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub.
• The July 12 suicide bombing near a mall in Netanya.
• The October 26 suicide bombing at the market in Hadera.
• The December 5 suicide bombing at the mall in Netanya.

HAMAS activity dropped significantly in 2005, in part because of its adherence to the
ceasefire, but also because much of its leadership in the West Bank was arrested or killed.
HAMAS claimed credit for the pre-ceasefire January 18 suicide bombing in Gaza that killed
an Israeli security officer and injured eight other soldiers and security agents. Individuals
linked to HAMAS were involved in the September 21 kidnapping and murder in the West
Bank of an Israeli resident of Jerusalem.

Fatah’s militant wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed credit for the following terrorist
attacks, after agreeing to the ceasefire:

• The October 16 drive-by shooting attack at Gush Etzion south of Jerusalem, and a
shooting attack the same day in the West Bank in which an Israeli teenager was
wounded.
• Qassam rocket launches from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev desert that
destroyed property and injured Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) carried out a significant number of terrorist
attacks from the Rafah area on the Gaza-Egyptian border, notably rocket attacks against
Israel. The PRC was also responsible for armed attacks against construction teams and IDF
forces in Gaza during the disengagement process.

Lebanese Hizballah continued to provide support to Palestinian terrorist groups to augment
their capacity for conducting attacks against Israel. Hizballah also continued to call for the destruction of Israel and used Lebanese territory as a staging ground for terrorist operations.

On November 21, Hizballah fighters launched a rocket barrage against border communities
and IDF outposts. Acting on threat information that Hizballah intended to kidnap Israelis, the
IDF stopped the incursion, killing four Hizballah fighters.

In response to continuing mortar and rocket attacks against Israel, the IDF also fired
rockets and artillery against sites in Gaza used for mortar and Qassam rocket attacks.

In response to continuing threat information, Israeli security forces launched frequent arrest
and detention raids throughout the West Bank and Gaza, conducted targeted killings of
suspected Palestinian terrorists, imposed strict and widespread closures and curfews in
Palestinian areas, conducted airborne rocket attacks on buildings affiliated with designated
Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) in Gaza, and continued the construction of an
extensive separation barrier in the West Bank. Israel did not destroy the homes of any suicide
bombers or their families.

Gaza / West Bank selected pieces reproduced:

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) counterterrorism efforts fell far short of U.S. expectations
for the 2005 reporting period
. Though the PA Security Forces (PASF) made some
improvements in their command and control mechanisms, and contributed to the security of
Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank in
August, the PA failed to take resolute action against terrorist groups based in the West Bank
and Gaza.

President Abbas’ public condemnation of terrorist acts was not matched by decisive security
operations following attacks against Israelis.
The U.S. Security Coordinator worked with the
PASF to encourage comprehensive security sector reform and to enable the PASF to confront
militant groups. The PASF, however, did not take serious action against known terrorist
groups such as HAMAS, PIJ, PFLP, or AAMB.

Palestinian terrorist groups continued to operate from Palestinian areas controlled by the PA
and the Israeli military. The PASF did not take decisive actions to end the use of Palestinian
territory for attacks on Israeli civilians.

Terrorist groups, such as PIJ and HAMAS, received support from foreign terrorist organizations and foreign governments, including Syria and Iran, and operated extensively in areas of the West Bank and Gaza under both PA and Israeli military control. The PA did not make any sustained effort to dismantle terrorist infrastructure in territory under its control.

There was periodic low-level cooperation between the PA and Government of Israel security services. The PA worked with the Israeli Government in preparation for the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and areas of the northern West Bank. PASF occasionally provided information to the Israeli Government regarding planned terrorist operations and handed over explosives and other materials located by PA forces.

The PA failed to take action, however, in several instances when the Government of Israel provided intelligence on the location and activities of wanted terrorists. In many cases, the individuals were briefly arrested and subsequently released. The PA’s lack of action in this area was an obstacle to broader security cooperation.

This just brushes the surface of the documents, an interesting one is the statistical annex, the action is on the last 3 pages. (PDF)

[tags]US State Department, Terrorism Report, Israel, Palestinians, USA, Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah, PA, Al Qaeda[/tags]