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terrorism and counter-terrorism


The reason for including a page on terrorism is that terrorism is now part of the day to day reality of life in the 21st century, that some individuals will inevitably be faced with the task of negotiating with terrorists and the cultures which give rise to terrorism provide, in the most extreme form, examples of the importance of understanding cultural differences.

Global Security & Terrorism Podcasts and Articles

  1. Global Security & Terrorism - The Concerns of Governments - see Article

  2. Global Security & Terrorism - The Dangers of Over-reaction by Governments - see Article

  3. Global Security & Terrorism - The Nature of Terrorism - see Article

  4. Global Security & Terrorism - Terrorism in the 21st Century
    - see Article

  5. Global Security & Terrorism - The Main Terrorist Groups - see Article

  6. Global Security & Terrorism - The Defense Against Terrorism - see Article

Cultural Issues

You may find some of the anwsers to your questions about the psychology of terror in fiction, Salar Abdoh's The Poet Game is a good place to start, Abdoh is an Ianian-American who spend time in the early 1990s traveling the Middle East researching ehat he calls "the structures of power" and he became convinced that US intelligence had a pitifully grasp of what was going on in the Middle East.

In order to grasp the strangeness of the culture and ideas behind terrorism you need to observe the environment which has produced these ideas; the problem is that our natural revulsion at the means and effects of terror makes it very difficult for us to stand back and comprehend the forces which produce terror.

The Sunday Telegraph 1 September 2002 reported that "A former MI6 officer is playing a key role in secret European Union-backed ceasefire talks involving militant Palestinian groups. Alistair Crooke, an adviser to Miguel Moratinos, the EU's special envoy to the Middle East, has spent much of the past two weeks in Gaza and the West Bank attempting to persuade radical groups to halt their attacks inside Israel's internationally recognised borders."

The Sunday Telegraph 1 September 2002 reported that "The Muslim convert accused of trying to hijack a Ryanair plane from Sweden to Stansted attended an American flying school leaving with a qualification to pilot light aircraft." The reported also noted that "Kerim Chatty, 29, had taken flying lessons in the US - just like the September 11 terrorists - came as detectives investigated reports that he was planning to crash the plane into an American embassy in Europe, possibly London. An intelligence officer in Sweden told Reuters: 'We know for sure that the plan was to crash the plane into a US embassy in Europe.'"

Terrorist Groups

Terrorist Group Profiles -US Navy

Reuters reported 27 August 2002 that "Osama bin Laden is firmly back in command of al Qaeda and the group is digging in for guerrilla attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, an Arab journalist with close ties to the militant's associates said on Tuesday." "Bin Laden's associates told Atwan [Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper] that the Saudi-born militant was well, "safe" and planning new attacks on the United States. They did not say where bin Laden was currently living. "My sense is that he will time any new attack to coincide with a U.S. attack on Iraq. He would want to capitalize on this to appeal to the Arab street so he will probably delay any attacks until the United States moves on Iraq," said Atwan. "He will probably want to be seen as the only Arab standing up to the United States when the United States attacks Iraq."

The Washington Post reported 29 August 2002 that a draft UN Report claims that "The al-Qaida terror network has the money and recruits to strike again whenever and wherever it wants because a global campaign and U.N. sanctions have failed to stop the financing and support for Osama bin Laden's backers." "Al-Qaida, despite the successful inroads made against it over recent months is, by all accounts 'alive and well' and poised to strike again how, when and where it chooses," the draft report said. Al-Qaida supporters have indicated the likely targets are the United States, its allies and Israel, it noted. "Given the opportunity they will have no compunction in killing as many people as they can from those nations who do not conform to their religious and ideological beliefs and who they perceive as their enemies," the draft report said.

The Washington Post 3 September 2002 reported that, "Financial officers of al Qaeda and the Taliban have quietly shipped large quantities of gold out of Pakistan to Sudan in recent weeks, transiting through the United Arab Emirates and Iran, according to European, Pakistani and U.S. investigators." The Washington Post added that, "European and U.S. intelligence officials said the movement of gold also highlighted three significant developments in the war on terrorism: the growing role of Iranian intelligence units allied with the country's hard-line clerics in protecting and aiding al Qaeda; the potential reemergence of Sudan as a financial center for the organization; and the ability of the terrorist group to generate new sources of revenue."

CNN reported 6 September 2002 that, "The Arabic television news network Al-Jazeera said Thursday it has taped confessions of two al Qaeda members claiming responsibility for the September 11 attacks on behalf of Osama bin Laden's terror group. Al-Jazeera said the men, both of whom are wanted by the U.S. government, spell out how they planned and executed the attacks. ..... One of the al Qaeda members on the tape was said to be Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni national who belonged to the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, that played a major role in planning the attacks. Lead hijacker Mohamed Atta was a member of that same cell."

The Washington Times reported 8 October 2002 that "U.S. intelligence agencies are concerned that terrorists are working hard to acquire small nuclear weapons and nuclear material for bombs from Russia. The problem was highlighted by recent intelligence reports indicating that representatives of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network have discussed buying nuclear weapons and nuclear material from members of organized crime groups in Russia." The report also quoted Bruce Blair, a nuclear weapons specialist, who "said the threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons is going to remain an "uncertainty" because of the problem of keeping track of material, equipment and scientists."

Reuters reported 14 October 2002 that "The world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, on Monday reportedly praised the perpetrators of last week's anti-Western attacks in Kuwait and Yemen and warned the United States and Israel in a statement of more carnage to come. The statement, faxed to Qatar's Jazeera television and carried by Jazeera and at least one Islamist Web site (, could be the first conclusive proof that the Saudi-born militant had survived last year's U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan."

The Daily Telegraph 15 October 2002 reported that "President George W Bush said last night that al-Qa'eda was the chief suspect in the Bali bombings and other recent attacks on western targets. But that would not stop him from pursuing tough action against Iraq."

Indonesia's Defence Minister, Matori Abdul Djalil, said, 'We are sure al-Qa'eda is here .... The blasts are linked to al-Qa'eda with the co-operation of local terrorists.'"

See Columbia.

The Daily Telegraph 8 October 2002 reported that "Secret documents obtained by an IRA spy network included transcripts of telephone conversations between Tony Blair and President Bush" the report added that "Confidence in sharing power between the Unionists and Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, has collapsed following the revelations connecting them to terrorist intelligence gathering."

See Columbia and Venezuela.

The Daily Telegraph reported 15 August 2002 on the role of women in FARC, "The guerrillas operate an equal-opportunity recruitment policy in a traditionally macho society and women are driven by the same motives as men to join; the status attached to being a fighter compares well with poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity. The result is that female fighters now form 30 per cent of the Farc's 30,000-strong forces." The report adds that, "Women have played crucial roles in almost all the high-profile guerrilla operations, particularly in intelligence gathering."



Unrestricted Warfare by Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui [pub.2002] three years before the Sept. 11 bombing of the World Trade Center a Chinese military manual titled Unrestricted Warfare touted such an attack – suggesting it would be difficult for the U.S. military to cope with. Here is an excerpt from Unrestricted Warfare:

“Whether it be the intrusions of hackers, a major explosion at the World Trade Center, or a bombing attack by bin Laden, all of these greatly exceed the frequency bandwidths understood by the American military...” Surprisingly, Osama bin Laden is mentioned frequently in this book. The authors claim that book identifies the U.S. as China’s main enemy, and details how a weak nation can destroy America using unorthodox attacks – like the 9-11 attacks. China is preparing itself and encouraging others to engage the U.S. in total war. The book is chock full of plans and strategies, from using computers, to smuggling illegal immigrants, to manipulating the stock markets, to influencing the U.S. media, to using weapons of mass destruction – all to destroy America.






Indonesia/SE Asia

Time reported 15 September 2002 that "Increasing numbers of al-Qaeda operatives are moving into Southeast Asia. In May, according to a regional report, six "Middle Eastern terrorists" slipped into Indonesia. Counterterrorism officials say that, based on information provided by al-Faruq, the U.S. believes Southeast Asia now has the world's highest concentration of al-Qaeda operatives outside Afghanistan and Pakistan."




Central Asian Republics


The Worldwide Threat in 2002, annual threat briefing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, February 6, 2002.


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