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International Terrorism

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Text Preview International Terrorism: Threat, Policy, and Response
Summary
This report examines international terrorist actions, threats, U.S. policies and responses. It reviews the nation’s use of tools at its disposal to combat terrorism, from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to physical security enhancement, economic sanctions, covert action, and military force. A modern trend in terrorism appears to be toward loosely organized, selffinanced, international networks of terrorists. Increasingly, radical Islamist groups, or groups using religion as a pretext, pose a serious threat to U.S. interests and to friendly regimes. Of concern as well is the growing political participation of extremist Islamist parties in foreign nations. Also noteworthy is the apparent growth of cross-national links among different terrorist organizations, which may involve combinations of military training, funding, technology transfer, or political advice. Looming over the entire issue of international terrorism is the specter of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Iran, seen as the most active state sponsor of terrorism, has been secretly conducting — and now openly seeks — uranium enrichment, and North Korea has both admitted to having a clandestine program for uranium enrichment and claimed to have nuclear weapons. Indications have also surfaced that Al Qaeda has attempted to acquire chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons.

U.S. policy toward international terrorism contains a significant military component, reflected in U.S. operations in Afghanistan, deployment of U.S. forces elsewhere for specific missions, and, according to the Administration and its supporters, the war in Iraq. Issues of interest to the 110th Congress include whether the Administration is providing sufficient information about the long-term goals and costs of its diverse strategy and whether military force is an optimally effective antiterrorism instrument when compared with other methods such as intelligenceenhanced law enforcement and pro-active public diplomacy.

Increasingly, a wide range of well-funded charitable and publicity activities of radical Islamist groups has led to broadened acceptance of extremist views in target populations. To the extent that nations fail to effectively address this “cold war of ideology,” a growing proportion of the world’s Moslem youth may grow up embracing extremist views that could ultimately lead to increased terrorism. As terrorism is a global phenomenon, a major challenge facing policymakers is how to maximize international cooperation and support without unduly compromising important U.S. national security interests and options. Other significant policy challenges include: (1) how to minimize the economic and civil liberties costs of an enhanced/tightened security environment, and (2) how to combat incitement to terrorism, especially in instances where such activity is state sponsored or countenanced. This report replaces CRS Issue Brief IB10119, Terrorism and National Security: Issues and Trends, by Raphael F. Perl. It will be updated periodically.

Contents
The War on Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Threat of Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Trends in Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 U.S. Policy Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Dilemmas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 U.S. Policy Tools to Combat International Terrorism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Diplomacy/Constructive... Show More

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