UN: Most nations not helping
war against terrorism

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Most members of the international community remain unwilling to cooperate in the U.S.-led war against Al Qaida.

A United Nations report asserted that most members of the world body have failed to provide sufficient details on Al Qaida and related insurgency groups. The report said many nations have not moved to halt funding to Islamic insurgents.

The UN study said only 56 out of 190 member states have submitted reports on Al Qaida. The UN response was regarded as insufficient in the war against Islamic insurgents, the report said.

The report, which listed 17 new entries to the list of Al Qaida's network, said that lists of suspected Al Qaida insurgents submitted by UN members were often incorrect or misspelled. Many of the individuals on the UN list of terrorist suspects were identified only by a single name, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Cracking down on these activities will require a sustained international effort and an increased willingness to share information," the report said. "Cooperative intelligence and law enforcement work are vital in this effort."

"This is still a long road ahead of us in order to receive all the information we need from member states," Heraldo Munoz of Chile, the chairman of the Security Council committee on Al Qaida sanctions, said.

Most countries have failed to institute and enforce laws to regulate charities that funnel money to the Al Qaida network, the report. It said most countries continue to protect the identity of donors to Al Qaida-related charities, which has resulted in the survival of the network.

The UN has tried to enforce a travel ban on Taliban and Al Qaida members to prevent them from seeking refuge or transit. But the report said Al Qaida retains a high degree of mobility as it continues attacks in Asia and Africa.

"As a practical matter, few, if any, of the designated Al Qaida members are likely to seek open entry or transit using their own name and legitimate documents," the report said.

The international community has frozen more than $125 million in assets of groups and individuals deemed as terrorists,about half linked to Al Qaida. But the report said that over the last 18 months UN members have failed to find new Al Qaida related assets Munoz said Al Qaida and Taliban have found new ways to finance operations. Munoz said Islamic insurgents managed to survive on petty crime and fraud in European Union states, which were deemed to have enforced a freeze on Al Qaida assets.

"Perhaps the greatest weakness in the fight against terrorist financing stems from the continued vulnerabilities posed by charities and the widespread use of alternative remittance systems," the report said.

Michael Chandler, chairman of the committee's monitoring group, agreed. He said Al Qaida cells became self-sufficient in wake of tightened controls on banks in Europe.

"We found that many of the cells that were broken up in Europe were actually self-sufficient in many ways," Chandler said. "They were able to survive and able to raise quite considerable sums of cash purely by petty street crime, small drug sales, credit card fraud, and other similar scams which are quite common."

Chandler said Al Qaida's operation capacity was damaged by the arrest of such leading operatives as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Yasir Al Jaziri and Waleed Bin Attash. But he said the organization has found new members, including those with links to Chechnya, and restored the network's intelligence assets.

"They have links with people who have worked through Bosnia into Chechnya," Chandler said. "There are certain aspects of the way they operate the Chechen rebel movement -- that is very, very similar to the way Al Qaida operates with suicide bombings and the hostage attempt at the theater in Russia."

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