Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria continue
to maintain their ties to terrorism, while Libya and Sudan
have shown significant cooperation against it, according
to the State Department's annual international terrorism
"Although some countries in this [former]
group have taken steps to improve cooperation with global
counterterrorism efforts in some areas, all have also continued
the actions that led them to be designated as state sponsors,"
according to the Country
Reports on Terrorism 2004 report released April 27 in
"Libya and Sudan took significant steps
to cooperate in the global war on terrorism in 2004,"
according to the report. Iraq, an emerging democracy, has
ceased support for terrorist groups and was removed from
the state sponsors list in October 2004.
"State sponsors of terrorism impede
the efforts of the United States and the international community
to fight terrorism," the report said. "These countries
provide a critical foundation for terrorist groups."
State sponsors provide secure areas for
groups to plan and conduct operations and make it easier
for them to gather funds, weapons, explosive devices and
recruits, the report said.
"More worrisome," however, according
to the report, "is that these countries also have the
capabilities to manufacture weapons of mass destruction
and other destabilizing technologies that could fall into
the hands of terrorists.”
Following is the report's text on state
sponsors of terrorism:
Country Reports on Terrorism 2004
U.S. Department of State
April 27, 2005
Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism
Iraq, as it transitioned to democracy, ceased
to support terrorism and its designation as a state sponsor
of terrorism was rescinded in October 2004. Libya and Sudan
took significant steps to cooperate in the global war on
terrorism in 2004. Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria, however,
continued to maintain their ties to terrorism. Although
some countries in this latter group have taken steps to
improve cooperation with global counterterrorism efforts
in some areas, all have also continued the actions that
led them to be designated as state sponsors.
State sponsors of terrorism impede the efforts
of the United States and the international community to
fight terrorism. These countries provide a critical foundation
for terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, terrorist
groups would have a much more difficult time obtaining the
funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require
to plan and conduct operations. More worrisome is that these
countries also have the capabilities to manufacture weapons
of mass destruction and other destabilizing technologies
that could fall into the hands of terrorists. The United
States will continue to insist that these countries end
the support they give to terrorist groups.
State Sponsor: Implications
Designating countries that repeatedly provide
support for acts of international terrorism results in the
imposition of four main sets of U.S. government sanctions:
1. A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
2. A requirement for notification to Congress
of any license issued for exports that could make a significant
contribution to the state sponsor's military potential or
could enhance their ability to support acts of international
3. Prohibitions on foreign assistance.
4. Miscellaneous financial and other restrictions,
U.S. opposition to loans by the World Bank
and other international financial institutions.
Providing an exception to sovereign immunity to allow families
of terrorist victims to file civil lawsuits in U.S. courts.
Restrictions on tax credits for income earned in state sponsor
Denial of duty-free treatment of goods exported to the United
Prohibition of certain Defense Department contracts with
companies controlled by state sponsors.
Throughout 2004, Cuba continued to actively
oppose the U.S.-led coalition prosecuting the global war
on terrorism. Cuba continues to maintain at the U.N. and
other fora that acts by legitimate national liberation movements
cannot be defined as terrorism, and has sought to characterize
as "legitimate national liberation movements"
a number of groups that intentionally target innocent civilians
to advance their political, religious, or social agendas.
The Cuban government claims, despite the absence of evidence,
that it is a principal victim of terrorism sponsored by
Cuban-Americans in the United States. The Cuban government's
actions and public statements run contrary to the spirit
of the U.N. conventions on terrorism that it has signed.
In 2004, Cuba continued to provide limited
support to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as
well as safe-haven for terrorists. The Cuban government
refuses to turn over suspected terrorists to countries that
have charged them with terrorist acts, alleging that the
receiving government would not provide a fair trial on charges
that are "political." Havana permitted various
ETA members to reside in Cuba, despite a November 2003 public
request from the Spanish government to deny them sanctuary,
and provided safe-haven and some degree of support to members
of the Colombian FARC and ELN guerilla groups.
Many of the over seventy fugitives from
U.S. justice that have taken refuge on the island are accused
of committing violent acts in the United States that targeted
innocents in order to advance political causes. They include
Joanne Chesimard, who is wanted for the murder of a New
Jersey State Trooper in 1973. On a few rare occasions the
Cuban government has transferred fugitives to the United
States, although it maintains that fugitives would not receive
a fair trial in the United States.
Iran remained the most active state sponsor
of terrorism in 2004. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were involved
in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued
to exhort a variety of groups to use terrorism in pursuit
of their goals.
Iran continued to be unwilling to bring
to justice senior al-Qa'ida members it detained in 2003.
Iran has refused to identify publicly these senior members
in its custody on "security grounds." Iran has
also resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its
al-Qa'ida detainees to their countries of origin or third
countries for interrogation and/or trial. Iranian judiciary
officials claimed to have tried and convicted some Iranian
supporters of al-Qa'ida during 2004, but refused to provide
details. Iran also continued to fail to control the activities
of some al-Qa'ida members who fled to Iran following the
fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
During 2004, Iran maintained a high-profile
role in encouraging anti-Israeli terrorist activity, both
rhetorically and operationally. Supreme Leader Khamenei
praised Palestinian terrorist operations, and Iran provided
Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups -- notably
HAMAS, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command -- with funding, safe haven, training, and weapons.
Iran provided an unmanned aerial vehicle that Lebanese Hizballah
sent into Israeli airspace on November 7, 2004.
Iran pursued a variety of policies in Iraq
during 2004, some of which appeared to be inconsistent with
Iran's stated objectives regarding stability in Iraq as
well as those of the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) and
the Coalition. Senior IIG officials have publicly expressed
concern over Iranian interference in Iraq, and there were
reports that Iran provided funding, safe transit, and arms
to insurgent elements, including Muqtada al-Sadr's forces.
Following Libya's December 19, 2003, announcement
that it would eliminate its weapons of mass destruction
and non-Missile Technology Control Regime-class missiles,
the United States, the United Kingdom, and relevant international
agencies worked with Libya to eliminate these weapons in
a transparent and verifiable manner. In recognition of Libya's
actions, the United States and Libya began the process of
improving diplomatic relations. On February 26, the United
States lifted its restriction on the use of U.S. passports
for travel to Libya and eased some economic sanctions. On
April 23, the United States eased more sanctions and terminated
the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act provisions
to Libya. On June 28, the United States re-established direct
diplomatic relations with Libya by upgrading its Interests
Section to a U.S. Liaison Office. On September 20, the president
terminated the state of emergency declared in 1986 and revoked
the related executive orders. This rescinded the remaining
economic sanctions against Libya under the International
Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Libya remains designated as a state sponsor
of terrorism and is still subject to the related sanctions.
In 2004, Libya held to its practice in recent years of curtailing
support for international terrorism, although there are
outstanding questions over its residual contacts with some
past terrorist clients. Libya has provided welcomed cooperation
in the global war on terrorism, and Libyan leader Muammar
Qadhafi continued his efforts to identify Libya with the
international community in the war on terrorism. Prior to
the January 30, 2005, elections in Iraq, senior Libyan officials
made statements that defended insurgent attacks on U.S.
and coalition forces; following strong U.S. protests, Libya
encouraged Iraqi participation in the elections, indicating
its intent to recognize the upcoming Transitional Iraqi
Government, and support reciprocated diplomatic missions
Following Libya's steps to eliminate its
weapons of mass destruction and the September 20 revocation
of U.S. economic sanctions related to the national emergency,
Libya authorized a second payment of $4 million per family
to the families of the 270 victims of the 1988 Pan Am 103
bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. This payment was part
of a deal concluded in 2003 between Libya and the families
in which Libya agreed to pay $10 million per family, or
$2.7 billion, contingent upon the lifting of U.N. and U.S.
sanctions and removal of Libya from the state sponsors of
terrorism list. By year's end, U.N. and U.S. sanctions were
lifted and the families had received a total of $8 million
each, even though Libya remained designated as a state sponsor
of terrorism. A remaining $2 million per family remained
in a third-country escrow account, pending Libya's removal
from the terrorism list.
Libya resolved two other outstanding international
disputes stemming from terrorist attacks that Libya conducted
during the 1980s. In January, the Qadhafi Foundation agreed
to pay $170 million in compensation to the non-U.S. families
of 170 victims of the 1989 bombing of a French UTA passenger
aircraft. Separate cases for compensation filed by U.S.
victims' families are still pending in the U.S. courts.
In 2001, a German court issued a written opinion finding
that the Libyan intelligence service had orchestrated the
1986 bombing of the La Belle nightclub in Berlin, in which
two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed and
229 people were injured. The Court convicted four individuals
for carrying out the attack. In August, Libya agreed to
pay $35 million to compensate non-U.S. victims of the La
Belle attack. In reaching the agreement to pay compensation,
Libya stressed that it was not acknowledging responsibility
for the attack, but was making a humanitarian gesture. The
families of the U.S. victims are pursuing separate legal
cases, and Libyan officials publicly called for compensation
for their own victims of the 1986 U.S. air strikes in Libya.
In October, Libya was instrumental in the
handover of Amari Saifi, also known as Abderrazak al-Para,
the number two figure in the Salafist Group for Call and
Combat (GSPC), to Algeria. Al Para, responsible for the
kidnapping of 32 Western tourists in Algeria in 2003, had
been held by a Chadian rebel group, the Movement for Democracy
and Justice, for several months. In August, Abdulrahman
Alamoudi pled guilty to one count of unlicensed travel and
commerce with Libya. Alamoudi stated that he had been part
of a 2003 plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
at the behest of Libyan officials. The United States expressed
its serious concerns about these allegations and continues
to evaluate Libya's December 2003 assurances to halt all
use of violence for political purposes.
In December 2004, the U.S. designated the
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) as a Foreign Terrorist
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK) is not known to have sponsored any terrorist acts
since the bombing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1987.
At a summit with Japanese Prime Minister
Koizumi in Pyongyang in September 2002, National Defense
Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il acknowledged the involvement
of DPRK "special institutions" in the kidnapping
of Japanese citizens and said that those responsible had
already been punished. Pyongyang in 2003 allowed the return
to Japan of five surviving abductees, and in 2004 of eight
family members, mostly children, of those abductees. Questions
about the fate of other abductees remain the subject of
ongoing negotiations between Japan and the DPRK. In November,
the DPRK returned to Japan what it identified as the remains
of two Japanese abductees whom the North had reported as
having died in North Korea. Subsequent DNA testing in Japan
indicated that the remains were not those of Megumi Yokota
or Kaoru Matsuki, as Pyongyang had claimed, and the issue
remained contentious at year's end. Four Japanese Red Army
members remain in the DPRK following their involvement in
a jet hijacking in 1970; five of their family members returned
to Japan in 2004.
Although it is a party to six international
conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, Pyongyang
has not taken substantial steps to cooperate in efforts
to combat international terrorism.
In 2004, despite serious strains in U.S.-Sudanese
relations regarding the ongoing ethnic violence in Darfur,
U.S.-Sudanese counterterrorism cooperation continued to
improve. While Sudan's overall cooperation and information
sharing improved markedly and produced significant progress
in combating terrorist activity, areas of concern remain.
In May, the U.S. government certified to Congress a list
of countries not fully cooperating in U.S. antiterrorism
efforts. For the first time in many years, this list did
not include Sudan.
Sudan increased cooperation with Ugandan
authorities to diminish the capabilities of the Lord's Resistance
Army (LRA), a Ugandan group which has terrorized civilians
in northern Uganda and has claimed that it wants to overthrow
the current Ugandan government. The Ugandan military, with
Sudanese government cooperation, inflicted a series of defeats
on the LRA at its hideouts in southern Sudan, forcing its
leaders to flee into Uganda and engage in peace talks with
the Ugandan government.
Domestically, the government of Sudan stepped
up efforts to disrupt extremist activities and deter terrorists
from operating in Sudan. In March 2004, a new HAMAS representative
arrived in Khartoum. According to some press reports, he
was received by Sudanese officials in an official capacity.
In response to ongoing U.S. concern, the Sudanese government
closed a HAMAS office in Khartoum in September. In August,
Sudanese authorities arrested, prosecuted, and convicted
Eritreans who had hijacked a Libyan aircraft and forced
it to land in Khartoum. In October, the United States designated
the Khartoum-based NGO Islamic African Relief Agency as
a supporter of terrorism under [executive order] E.O. 13224
for its support of Usama bin Ladin and al-Qa'ida.
The Sudanese government also took steps
in 2004 to strengthen its legislative and bureaucratic instruments
for fighting terrorism. In January, Sudan co-hosted a three-day
workshop on international cooperation on counterterrorism
and the fight against transnational organized crime with
the United Nations Office of Drug Control. Neighboring countries
from the Horn of Africa and member states of the Inter-Governmental
Authority on Development (IGAD) attended the workshop, which
culminated in the "Khartoum Declaration on Terrorism
and Transnational Organized Crime," in which IGAD member
states reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against
terrorism. The Khartoum Declaration also focused on the
technical assistance needs of the IGAD member states with
regard to implementing the 12 international conventions
and protocols against terrorism.
The Syrian government in 2004 continued
to provide political and material support to both Lebanese
Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups. HAMAS, Palestinian
Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine (PFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), among others, continue
to operate from Syria, although they have lowered their
public profiles since May 2003, when Damascus announced
that the groups had voluntarily closed their offices. Many
of these Palestinian groups, in statements originating from
both inside and outside of Syria, claimed responsibility
for anti-Israeli terrorist attacks in 2004. The Syrian government
insists that these Damascus-based offices undertake only
political and informational activities. Syria also continued
to permit Iran to use Damascus as a transshipment point
for resupplying Lebanese Hizballah in Lebanon.
Syrian officials have publicly condemned
international terrorism, but make a distinction between
terrorism and what they consider to be the legitimate armed
resistance of Palestinians in the occupied territories and
of Lebanese Hizballah. The Syrian government has not been
implicated directly in an act of terrorism since 1986, although
Israeli officials accused Syria of being indirectly involved
in the August 31, 2004, Beersheba bus bombings that left
Damascus has cooperated with the United
States and other foreign governments against al-Qa'ida and
other terrorist organizations and individuals; it also has
discouraged signs of public support for al-Qa'ida, including
in the media and at mosques.
In September 2004, Syria hosted border security
discussions with the Iraqis and took a number of measures
to improve the physical security of the border and establish
security cooperation mechanisms. Although these and some
other efforts by the Syrian government have been partly
successful, more must be done in order to prevent the use
of Syrian territory by those individuals and groups supporting
the insurgency in Iraq.