WASHINGTON ø The Bush administration has launched a policy of persuading
countries deemed as terrorist sponsors to join the war against Al Qaida.
A congressional report said the administration has targeted at least
three countries for an effort to expand Arab cooperation against Al Qaida.
The report by the Congressional Research Service cited Libya, Sudan and
Syria as having been wooed by Washington since the Al Qaida suicide attacks
on New York and Washington in September 2001.
"The Bush administration clearly is exploring the possibility of
enlisting state sponsors of terrorism, such as Libya, Sudan, and recently
more intensively Syria, in a broader Islamic coalition against Al Qaida and
its followers," the report, entitled "Terrorism and National Security:
Issues and Trends," said. "The United States also has held discussions with
Iran concerning formation of a post-Taliban coalition government in
The United States has imposed sanctions on the seven countries that
comprise the State Department list of terror sponsors, Middle East Newsline reported. The sanctions include
a ban on U.S. economic and military assistance, a ban on export of munitions
and dual use equipment such as aircraft and trucks. The report cited
opposition to the administration's policy of trying to reconcile with
"To some critics, though, such initiatives detract from the imperative
of taking a principled
stand against international terrorism in all its guises," the report said.
Congressional sources said the State Department has prepared for the
removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of terrorist sponsors. The sources said
the move comes in wake of an agreement by Khartoum with the rebel Sudanese
People's Liberation Army for a military power-sharing arrangement in
war-torn southern Sudan.
Authored by analyst Raphael Perl, the report, issued in late 2003, said
Sudan appears closest to being removed from the State Department list of
terrorist sponsors. The report said a U.S. effort to remove Syria from the
list appeared to have failed when Damascus refused to expel representatives
of groups deemed as terrorist.
"Though not formally detected in an active role since 1986, the Assad
regime reportedly uses groups in Syria and Lebanon to project power into
Israel and allows groups to train in territory under its control," the
The report said both Libya and Sudan have offered to share intelligence
information on Al Qaida with U.S. authorities. For its part, Syria has
promised to clamp down on insurgency groups on its territory and reduce
overall support for groups deemed as terrorist.
The future status of the seven countries on the State Department list of
terrorist sponsors might not be linked to their support of insurgency
groups, the report said. The report said other issues, such as weapons of
destruction, have also influenced the decision of the State Department.
"Presence of a country on the 'terrorism list,' though, may reflect
considerations ø such as its pursuit of WMD or its human
rights record or U.S. domestic political considerations ø that are largely
unrelated to support for international terrorism," the report said.