Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

Asia-pacific

US retains Iran, Cuba on blacklist

Latest update : 2009-05-01

The US announced Thursday that Iran and Cuba remained on the blacklist of terrorism-supporting countries, while al Qaeda is still the biggest threat to the West. Iran's foreign minister (pictured) rejected the charges.

AFP - Al-Qaeda, using tribal areas of Pakistan, poses the greatest terrorist threat to the West, while Iran is the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism," the US government said Thursday.
  
In an annual report, the State Department said Al-Qaeda was recovering some of the potency it had before the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, as it lumped Iran with Syria, Sudan and Cuba as sponsors of terrorism.
  
"Al-Qaeda remained the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners," even though its structures have weakened and public support has waned, the report said.
  
And it warned that Al-Qaeda "has reconstituted some of its pre-9/11 operational capabilities" by using the lawless Pakistan border areas, replacing key leaders, and restoring some "central control" by its top leadership.
  
The report said that since the September 11 attacks, Al-Qaeda (AQ) and its allies have moved from Afghanistan into Pakistan where they have built "a safe haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan."
  
It said Pakistan's border region, which lies outside the control of President Asif Ali Zardari's government, now "provided AQ many of the benefits it once derived from its base across the border in Afghanistan."
  
Counterterrorism experts released figures showing attacks in Pakistan had more than doubled from 890 in 2007 to 1,839 last year, with the number killed rising from 1,340 people to 2,293 in the same period.
  
"As you see from the numbers, that threat (to the Pakistani state and its people) is escalating. Of course we're deeply concerned," acting coordinator of counterterrorism Ronald Schlicher told reporters.
  
While experts can count the number of attacks in Pakistan, Schlicher said, they are hard pressed to quantify the extent of international plots Al-Qaeda might be hatching in the border areas which lie outside government control.
  
"That's very, very hard to get at," he said, but added: "We have a real sense that it's happening."
  
The State Department report said "Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism" over its alleged role in planning and financing attacks throughout the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia.
  
It singled out the Qods Force, an elite branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as the Islamic republic's main means to cultivate and back terrorists in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.
  
It added that the Qods Force trained the Taliban "on small unit tactics, small arms, explosives, and indirect fire weapons."
  
The report also took to task Syria, an Iranian ally which it said also supported Lebanon's Hezbollah as well as Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups. Some of the leaders of those groups are based in Damascus.
  
"Throughout the year, Syria continued to strengthen ties with fellow state sponsor of terrorism, Iran," the report said.
  
As for Sudan, it said the Khartoum government generally believed it was in its interest to cooperate with US counter-terrorism efforts, but yet allowed groups like Hamas to operate on its territory, the report said.
  
It said that "Al-Qaeda-inspired elements" were also in Sudan.
  
The US said communist Cuba, which has been under a US embargo for decades, continued to be "provide safe haven to several terrorists" such as members of the Basque separatist group ETA and the Colombian rebel group FARC.
  
But it added that some members of these groups stayed in Cuba last year after having arrived "in connection with peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia."
  
North Korea was dropped from the blacklist in October 2008 after it struck a verbal deal with the United States aimed at verifying its nuclear disarmament, even though a formal agreement was never sealed.

Date created : 2009-05-01

COMMENT(S)