State Department Terrorism Report: We're Winning, They're Adapting, Still No End in Sight

State Department's latest report says Al-Qaeda and affiliates weakened, but still adaptive and growing stronger.


still irregular

Since 2004, the State Department has been required to submit an annual report to Congress on the status of terrorist threats in select countries and from select groups by April 30th of each year. The public version of this year's report was released yesterday.

The State Department describes "a landmark year in the global effort to counter terrorism," highlighted by the death of Osama bin Laden as well as the "removal from the battlefield" of what the State Department describes as four key Al-Qaeda operatives; two killed in Pakistan, one in Yemen and one in Somalia. The State Department explains the significance:

The loss of bin Ladin and these other key operatives puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse. These successes are attributable, in large part, to global counterterrorism cooperation, which has put considerable pressure on the al-Qa'ida core leadership in Pakistan. But despite blows in western Pakistan, al-Qa'ida, its affiliates, and its adherents remain adaptable. They have shown resilience; retain the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks; and, thus, constitute an enduring and serious threat to our national security

The State Department points out several Al-Qaeda "affiliates" that have developed, grown, and adapted; Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (Yemen), Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb  (North Africa) and Al-Shabab (Somalia), all of whom documents the government recovered from the Abbottabad compound suggest bin Laden worried about. Also singled out as adaptive and growing threats; Al-Qaeda in Iraq (which the State Department surmises is moving into Syria), and Boko Haram, an extremist group in Nigeria with no formal ties to Al-Qaeda yet, according to the State Department.

The report also includes overviews of American-designated "State Sponsors of Terrorism":

  • Iran is noted as an "active state sponsor of terrorism": the government is accused of plotting the assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil, of refusing to charge Al-Qaeda members they are holding in detention, and of arming the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and militant Shi'a groups in Iraq.
  • Syria, the State Department reports, "continued its political support to a variety of terrorist groups affecting the stability of the region and beyond, even amid significant internal unrest," though the foreign fighters have switched directions at the Syria-Iraq border.
  • Sudan has been a designated state sponsor of terrorism since 1994, and the ICC issued an arrest warrant against its president in 2009, but the State Department describes the country as "a cooperative counterterrorism partner of the United States," though it does not recognize Hamas a terrorist group.
  • Cuba is on the list for allegedly harboring members of the Basque ETA and the Colombian paramility group FARC. The State Department says the Cuban government is trying to distance itself from former ETA members by denying them government services including travel documents, and that there's no evidence Cuba is arming FARC. They are still, however, harboring persons wanted in the U.S. and so remain on the list.

Of course, the war on terror is happening everywhere and will never end.

Read the whole State Department terrorism report here (html) or here (pdf)


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  1. Completely OT disclaimer:

    All this talk lately about Phelps becoming the “most decorated Olympian of all time.” Well, he’s a friggin swimmer, which means he gets to compete in multiple different contests in each Olympiad. It’s a bit unfair to compare that to someone like a fencer or shotputter since they train for one event and the skills for that single event don’t translate to multiple events the way swimming/track/gymnastics does.

    1. Yeah! Fuck that guy!

      1. On a related note, the lesson I have taken from this years Olympics is the following-

        DON’T SMOKE WEED. You might become the President of the USA or most decorated Olympian of all time.

    2. You might have missed the fine print when you opened your box of Life?. It says, in part:

      “Not guaranteed to be fair…”

      The previous most decorated Olympian was a gymnast. They also can compete in multiple events.

      1. It’s a bit unfair to compare that to someone like a fencer or shotputter since they train for one event and the skills for that single event don’t translate to multiple events the way swimming/track/gymnastics does

        Worth noting that I noted that in a roundabout way.

        Either way, I guess I’m not really bitching about the “unfairness” aspect. I couldn’t give a dangling electron from the atom of a flying fuck about the jingoistic Olympiad, or any other event that causes people only feign interest obscura once every four years. For me, it’s more a critique of the idol worship and shameless national chest-beating that results from this guy winning the most medals in the history of the Olympics.

        1. Well the Olympics is one of the times when “we” get to display “our” national prowess in a non-military fashion. My wife and kids like to keep track of how “we’re” doing in the Olympics at which time I politely remind them that they have nothing to do with it.

          1. Just remember, we could nuke the whole thing at any time.

            1. It would be an interesting idea to set up an asylum tent at the end of the closing ceremony for those athletes too terrified to return to their home countries.

  2. Al-Qa’ida, al-Qaeda. I’m too confused, so I’m going with al-Queso.

    1. Con carne? Queso is just not the same with no carne.

      1. That’s the splinter group, al-Queso Laham.

        1. Splitters!

      2. carne, si. Carnitas, no, though the irony of the latter intrigues me.

      3. Just make sure it’s not carnitas.

  3. So which is it? “We’re whipping their ass”, or “we’ll never beat them”?

    Oh, that’s right. “We need more money.”

    1. Beat me to it. As soon as I read that story, my first thought was, “Regardless, the solution will call for increased funding.”

      1. “Regardless, the solution will call for increased funding.”

        And decreased freedoms.

        1. “Regardless, the solution will call for increased funding.”

          And decreased freedoms.

          it’s like there is a scale of inverse proportionality for that.

          1. There is. The more free you are, the more you get to keep. Romney agrees.

            1. Romney might’ve agreed in one of his speeches.

    2. It’s like this. There is no better job security that to create a problem that can never be solved but must be contained, make yourself the responsible expert on it, and then go into maintenance mode, forever. This seems to be the current trend in government. Lots of examples, military industrial complex, DHS, DEA, EPA…

  4. “We’re winning”

    Of course, the definition of success as applied to any government endeavor is ever-increasing budgets and scope of authority; so, yes, they are winning the fuck out of us.

  5. It’s a bit unfair to compare that to someone like a fencer or shotputter

    Yeah, it’s a shame Al Oerter wasted all that time and effort.

  6. OT: Holmes faces two first-degree murder charges for each of the 12 people killed and two attempted first-degree murder charges for every one of the 58 injured in the July 20 shooting.

    From here.

    How do you charge someone with two charges of murder for each person killed? Piling on to make sure you get a conviction?

    1. “For the murder charges, one count included murder with deliberation, the other murder with extreme indifference.”

      Yep. As much of a scumbag and as deserving of liquidation as this asshole is, the prosecutors have somehow still managed to look like assholes.

  7. The only positive spin on all of this war shit, is that there has been a trend away from conflict between nation states. Most of the conflict now is between oppresssive regimes and rebel factions trying to get rid of them. The bad news is that there is one nation state left on the planet that cannot see any end to conflict between them and their next target of choice. That would be us. The military should just revolt and say fuck you, we’re not fighting your bullshit wars anymore, get your own damn ass over there and do it yourself. I wonder how many more wars we would have if everyone who voted for it had to ride their little horsey into battle at the front of the lines. This includes executive order. Mr. President, if you want a war undeclared by congress, then get your ass on the front lines. Otherwise go back to playing with your veto pen, that thing you will never actually use.

    1. Hey! Obama totally killed Bin Laden by watching a television in the basement of the White House! That kind of bravery should never, ever be questioned. Why, he could have gotten a headache from eye-strain! His ass could have fallen asleep in the chair! Why do you hate America?!

      1. I don’t hate America, just the childins, and the wimins folk. And the brown people, I totally hate them too.

  8. The war in Eurasia continues apace.

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