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Asia Pacific Organised Crime
& International Terrorist Networks1
Rohan Gunaratna

Continuity or Change?

The Asia-Pacific security environment has witnessed a series of new threats, new technologies, and new actors during the past decade. Events in the Asia-Pacific region contributed their share to international insecurity by setting many precedents. Aum Shinrikyo employed Sarin nerve gas against Japanese citizens in 1994 and 1995; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) waged cyber-warfare against Sri Lankan diplomatic missions in 1996; and the Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda (‘The Base’) conducted long-range suicide operations against US targets in East Africa in 1998 and against multiple targets in the US in 2001.3  These developments have demonstrated a qualitative shift in the international threat environment.

While old threats continued, new threats changed the security environment transforming the nature, thinking and conduct of terrorist groups and state response. In spite of these changes, states have been slow to adapt their responses and counter-measures to the new threats. The behaviour of state and non-state actors was also dramatically altered by the collapse of the Soviet Empire. A positive development in this context was that the departure from the Cold War environment witnessed a steadfast remission of support by patron states for client groups. Such patron-client relations, in the past, had been a useful device to restrain conflict escalation from moving from a Cold to a Hot War, limiting the confrontation by employing terrorist, guerrilla and state proxies at a manageable level. In contrast, the post-Cold War terrorist groups are unrestrained both in their choice of weapons and target selection. As support from superpowers and their satellite states was terminated, moreover, only the imaginative and creative groups survived the transition. They were groups that generated funds by legal, quasi-legal and illegal businesses, trade and investments. Without a patron state, but with sufficient resources, the conduct of contemporary groups remains unrestrained.

A number of factors and conditions have made these ‘second-generation’ terrorist groups differ from ‘first-generation’ groups. With the end of US- and Soviet-supported proxy wars in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the international arms market has become saturated. With the economic decline in the former Soviet bloc countries, financial rather than security considerations determined the sale of weapons. As a result, some Asia-Pacific terrorist groups gained access to automatic weapons (AK-47, T-56, G-3, M-16, M-203), including stand-off-weapons (RPG, LAW, SAM, TOW, mortars, artillery) and explosives (RDX, TNT), at competitive prices. Similarly, access to dual technologies – GPS, satellite imagery, land satellite, radar, secure communications, computers, close-circuit systems, scuba, sea scooters, speed boats and microlights – has empowered terrorist groups to challenge previously formidable land and naval forces. Accessibility to sophisticated weapons and dual technologies propelled violent political conflicts towards low intensity conflicts, and from low intensity conflicts to high intensity conflicts.4  With terrorist access to military weapons, the number of fatalities and casualties per attack increased. In Asia, other than Aum, terrorist groups employed, expressed an interest to acquire, or made efforts to obtain, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) material or expertise in production, especially through criminal organisations.5  The terrorist acquisition of strategic weapon systems is a low threat-high impact challenge to contemporary states.

With the increase in terrorist lethality in target countries, there is greater internal displacement. With increasing concern for human rights and humanitarian assistance in host countries, there is stepped up migration, especially, refugee flows. By penetrating their Diaspora and migrant communities, Asia-Pacific terrorist groups have developed state-of-the-art international support infrastructures outside the region for disseminating propaganda, raising funds, training, procuring weapons and shipping. Using the support networks in Africa, Middle East, the Balkans, Caucuses, Western Europe and North America, some groups, such as Al Qaeda and the LTTE, have conducted long-range and deep-penetration terrorist operations. Easy access to global communications has enabled Asian secular and politico-religious organisations with virulent ideologies to network with transnational constituencies and organisations that have compatible aims and objectives. The geographical reach of contemporary groups also steadfastly increased as a result of the communications revolution, especially in the 1990s. As a result, rag-tag terrorist groups, including those groups in the Asia-Pacific, transformed themselves into sophisticated entities. Inexpensive international travel and proliferation of information technologies – satellite TV, fax, Internet, mobile phone – enhanced terrorist command, control, communications and intelligence capabilities (C3I) with their members and supporters domestically and world-wide. To impact widely, some Asia-Pacific terrorist groups have assumed a multi-dimensional character, where they simultaneously engage in guerrilla warfare, assassination, sabotage, propaganda, electoral politics, trade, investments, etc.

Like governments, terrorist groups also co-operate. In addition to learning from one another’s operational efforts, successes and failures, they have developed closer international co-operation at political, economic and military levels, to share technology, personnel and intelligence.6  Jamaat-i-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood, driven by the ideals of holy war (jehad) have provided or are providing volunteers to fight in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Chechnya, Philippines, Bosnia, Kosovo, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. Some of these volunteers or their supporters – also from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Albania, Pakistan and Bangladesh, perceiving the West as evil, have either destroyed or attempted to destroy Western targets. The core of the free-floating conglomerate of terrorists was Asian or Middle Eastern Muslims, who participated in the semi-covert multi-national and anti-Soviet Afghan campaign from 1979-1989. By the late 1990s, the centre of gravity in international terrorism had shifted from Lebanon and Syria to Pakistan and Afghanistan.7 

Has terrorism in the post-Cold War era replaced the nuclear threat during the Cold War? While the singular threat of nuclear confrontation dominated the Cold War environment, the post-Cold War era is witness to a multiplicity of threats, of which, the principle threats are terrorism and organised crime. It is also true that the number of internal armed conflicts has exponentially increased during the last decade. In the Asia-Pacific region, as in the rest of the world, terrorism is largely a by-product of armed conflicts. Ethnic politics fuel as many as 70 per cent of armed campaigns today. Unlike the ideologically driven Cold War terrorist groups, the bulk of contemporary terrorist groups and political movements benefit from the post-1990 world-wide resurgence of ethnicity and religiosity. What is certain is that there has been an emergence of nationalist, separatist and irredentist conflicts as a primary post-Cold War security threat to the international system. These ethno-political conflicts produce the highest level of fatalities and casualties; the largest internal displacements and refugee flows; and the greatest human rights violations.8  In the 21st century, as it was during the 20th century, ethno-politics remain the most potent force for conflict in the region. As challenges posed by contemporary terrorist groups are a product of a new environment, they differ from the threats posed by Cold War groups. Since World War II, domestic and international institutions were largely structured to manage Cold War issues. Currently, governments and international organisations are developing strategies and mechanisms to address these new challenges, especially terrorism, narcotics and organised crime. Military, security and intelligence and academic communities tend to examine conflicts in isolation and rarely collectively. By delineating contemporary trends and patterns in international terrorism and organised crime, the paper examines the nexus between terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to the Al Qaeda, LTTE and the New People’s Army of Philippines.

Post-Cold War Terrorist Behaviour

A majority of contemporary terrorist groups operate beyond the national boundaries of their target states. In the post-Cold War era, the transnational character of these terrorist groups has necessarily brought forth certain advantages, viz., global networking with potential allies, arms suppliers, and other terrorist groups, as also the generation of transnational support. Instead of resisting globalisation, consequently, contemporary terrorist groups in the post-Cold War security-ensemble are actively harnessing contemporary forces of change.9  Primarily, terrorist groups are benefiting from the end of the East-West confrontation, porosity of borders, inexpensive and widespread availability of communication tools, inexpensive international transportation, saturated arms markets, etc. These factors have enabled many rag-tag groups to graduate to high levels of sophistication.

Increasingly, terrorist groups have begun to lay a premium on gaining domestic respectability, as also international acceptance, for their goals. Accordingly, such terrorist groups have gradually tended to distance themselves from visibly illegitimate businesses and to invest in legitimate businesses. Specifically, with regard to organised crime, terrorist groups have taken advantage of existing laws to further their own agenda of establishing a transnational network. Irrespective of who does it, it is not a criminal offence in most countries to generate funds through businesses and raise funds through charities. A large proportion of ‘dirty money’ can be traced to proliferating narcotics cartels, alien smuggling networks, etc. But law enforcement agencies find it more difficult to detect clean-clean money (money both generated and transferred legally) as compared to dirty-clean money (money generated from criminal operations and ‘laundered’). The former has a legitimate front end and no illegal hooks attached. With governments allocating significant resources to combat money laundering, it is becoming difficult for terrorist groups to rely on criminal proceeds. The Latest United Nations (UN) Conventions on (a) the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism,10  and (b) Transnational Organised Crime, will make money laundering even harder.

Table 1: Typology of Organised Crime

Ø Narcotics trafficking Ø Credit card fraud

Ø Arms trafficking Ø Stolen automobiles

Ø CBRN smuggling Ø Kidnapping

Ø Human smuggling Ø Extortion

Ø Human body-parts trade Ø Corruption & bribery

Ø Flora/fauna smuggling Ø Fraudulent bankruptcy

Ø Hijacking on land/air Ø Insurance fraud

Ø Intellectual property theft Ø Environmental crime

Ø Art & cultural objects theft Ø Money laundering

Ø Maritime piracy Ø Infiltration of legal businesses

Ø Computer crime

In order to evade police tracing, terrorist groups are consequently developing and maintaining clean money sources. Accordingly, the future scenario is likely to see rag-tag/groups-in-transition utilising ‘dirty-clean money routes’ and sophisticated groups using ‘clean-clean money routes.’ An analysis of emerging trends in organised crime indicates, at one end, that most groups with a national reach are involved in illegitimate businesses, e.g., narcotics and alien smuggling, abduction, extortion, etc. At the other end, a majority of the groups with a global reach are involved in legitimate/quasi-legitimate businesses, e.g., manufacturing, CD/video piracy, etc.

Deepening Nexus

Terrorism, prevalent in the region since the early 1970s, has assumed a new dimension with the formation of transnational ideological, financial and technological networks.11  These linkages have made terrorism a potent source of destabilisation regionally and extra-regionally. For instance, Aum had an extensive network stretching throughout the Far East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and into the West. Similarly, Al Qaeda – also known as the Osama Bin Laden (UBL) network – has established international cells or receives support from ideologically compatible groups. It is the most resilient terrorist network the world has seen. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) received, procured and exchanged weaponry and finance from diverse sources, especially, Gulf and North African states and individual donors. These networks have facilitated the transfer of certain technologies – land mines, suicide suits, and mortars – between groups. Furthermore, these networks occasionally targeted host countries where their migrant communities lived.12  With increased communication, the tactics such as hijacking and blasting buildings to create mass casualties appear to be emulated by other groups. A few Asia-Pacific terrorist groups have also employed (Aum and LTTE) or expressed an interest to acquire (Babbar Khalsa International, Harkat-ul Ansar (HuA)13 , and Al Qaeda) – CBRN technologies. In this context, both the terrorist-criminal and terrorist state-sponsorship nexus remain a threat. As human intelligence capabilities to monitor these groups are limited, it is not unlikely that these groups will acquire and employ CBRN technologies in the future. Despite regional or international mechanisms, there has been no significant reduction in the terrorist threat. This is due to the lack of a multiagency, multidimensional and a multinational approach to the issue.14 

Both Asian and other states – Middle-Eastern, Eastern European, and the southern-belt of the former USSR – provide conventional weapons to various Asia-Pacific terrorist groups. Where conflicts have ended or are on the decline, the weapons originally intended to be used to fight in those conflicts, continue to flow into conflict areas, radically altering the threat level. For instance, the Afghan arms-pipeline still leaks profusely and continues to feed conflicts in the region and beyond. Currently, most Asia-Pacific states, including those moving heavily towards militarisation, depend on supplies originating from outside the region. But, when Asia-Pacific states build their weapons’ production capabilities, leakages are likely to increase.

In the 1990s, it became apparent that small arms kill 90 per cent of combatants and non-combatants. Nonetheless, it has taken a decade of debate to set the international community thinking about how the small arms issue should be handled.15  This is not unusual because it took about five decades to develop concrete measures towards macro-disarmament. While the US and Russian intelligence agencies have scaled down their operations to monitor arms transfers in the region, domestic agencies have failed to comprehensively monitor arms transfers by terrorist groups. As a result, sophisticated weapons continue to proliferate among terrorist and criminal groups in the Asia-Pacific.

Unregulated migration in the post-Cold War era is another aspect that is assuming a new threat. The scale of international migration, especially economic migrants, has dramatically increased within and outside the region.16  Both criminals and terrorists use ships to smuggle humans from the Far East and Southeast Asia to Africa and Europe through the Indian Ocean and to North America across the Pacific. The smuggling syndicates, also stretching from the PRC to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Central America and North America, use false and adapted travel documents. As of early 2000, the multi-billion dollar operation was approximately US $ 20-30,000 per smuggled person. Some migrant communities, seen as resisting integration, are perceived as an obstacle to the economy of some host communities.17 

Although economic migrants do not pose a security threat to the Asia-Pacific region, migrants who have left conflict-ridden areas to relocate in the West pose a threat to their parent-states in the Asia-Pacific. For instance, the Sikh and Kashmiri terrorist groups, and the LTTE draw support from their transnational migrant communities, especially the radicalised newcomers to Europe, North America and Australasia. The formation and mobilisation of a Tamil Diaspora has enabled the LTTE to expand internationally by establishing offices and cells world-wide, to generate funds, procure weapons and operate a fleet of deep sea-going ships for trafficking armaments and narcotics.18  Substantial segments of the Kashmir and Sikh Diaspora advance their terrorist goals by lobbying foreign governments against allocating aid to India and by providing direct material assistance to their terrorists.19  The front, cover and sympathetic organisations of Kashmiri and Sikh terrorists in North America and Europe raise about US$ 10-20 million per year, the LTTE earns about US $ 40-50 million per year. In the 1990s, funds for procurement were transferred from European (especially German, Swiss, UK and Scandinavian, notably Swedish), North American (especially Canadian), and Australian feeder bank accounts, to main procurement accounts in Singapore, and thereafter to Bulgaria and Ukraine for purchases. Despite extradition treaties, some Canadian and British Sikhs have been at the forefront of the support to terrorism in India. Although the phenomenon of Diaspora-support cuts across all regions, the bulk of support for terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region is generated in affluent Europe and North America.20  As post-modern terrorist group operations are based on flexible and resilient network structures, a comprehensive understanding of their international support networks is vital to their disruption. In addition to the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, implemented in year 2000, an international regime is essential to regulate migrant-terrorist support networks.

Heroin from the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle feeds the Asia-Pacific – a region with major transit routes to Europe and to North America. As of 1994, 80 per cent of the heroin in the US originated from Myanmar. Afghanistan overtook Myanmar as the world’s leading producer of opium in 1994. Afghanistan produced 3,270 tons of opium in 1994 and, since 1990, the land area of poppy cultivation increased by 50 per cent. The illicit drug trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan was estimated to be worth Pakistani Rs. 50 billion in 1994.21  As of 2000, 20 per cent of the heroin seized in the US originated from Afghanistan, double the percentage four years ago.22  While one dose of heroin from Afghanistan cost US$ 1 in Pakistan, it cost US$ 10 in Brooklyn, New York.

The increase in consumption within the region has also contributed to regional insecurity because of the terrorist-criminal nexus. While organised crime groups that are often linked to terrorist groups control narcotic distribution, many terrorist and guerrilla groups control the territories where the narcotics are cultivated or refined. The erstwhile Taliban regime controlled parts of Afghanistan where heroin was produced and taxed the cultivators as also the transporters of opium. Furthermore, the threat posed by narcotics to health, economic, and law and order spheres in the region is on the increase. For instance, in Pakistan, there are 1.5 million heroin addicts and two million cocaine addicts.23  While one out of 15 adults in Pakistan was addicted to heroin, the state could rehabilitate only 500 addicts at a time.24 

A wave of abuse of synthetic Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) has been reported world wide in recent years, with a 16 per cent average annual increase in quantities seized. Today, approximately 30 million people, or 0.5 per cent of the global population, consume ATS. Insurgents in Myanmar, especially on the Myanmar-Thailand border, are engaged in the high level production of these designer drugs. Increasingly, young people in developed and developing countries are consuming narcotics.25  Although the UN General Assembly discussed the region at a special session on June 8, 1988, to mark the UN’s Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, global efforts to regulate the threat of narcotics has been a failure.26  The annual illicit drug consumption of about 3.3 per cent to 4.1 per cent of the world’s population is on the rise.27  With a lack of state control in Afghanistan and Myanmar, the Asia-Pacific region contributed in a major way to the world-wide production and consumption of narcotics.

Narcotic trafficking is a major source of revenue for terrorist and organised crime networks, particularly groups with trans-state reach. As much as armed ethnic groups in Myanmar control the flow of narcotics from Myanmar, armed Islamic groups tax and control organised crime networks regulating the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan. As of year 2000, the Afghan route passed through Pakistan, Chechnya, Turkey, Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and then to Western Europe. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) play a significant role in the transportation of narcotics and the protection of organised criminal networks at the European end of the route.28 

Organised crime, already prevalent in the Far East and Southeast Asia, has gained a prominent foothold in the cities of South Asia since the mid-1990s. Organised crime networks in Japan, Hong Kong, and the PRC have also made greater inroads to the West. With South Asia increasingly moving towards the culture of market economy, it is likely that organised crime will take deeper roots.

More than ever before, groups engaged in terrorism and organised crime operate together. These relationships have helped terrorist groups to be less dependent on state sponsors and on their domestic and international supporters. The 1990s, especially the second half of the decade, witnessed a number of terrorist groups learning from criminal networks. Operating through front, cover and sympathetic organisations in Europe and in North America, many Asia-Pacific terrorist groups generate huge revenues from video and CD piracy; business in phone cards, and credit card scams. In this context, Conception Clamor, an intelligence analyst from the Philippines, states: "The emergence of a new breed of terrorists thus requires new initiatives in fighting the increasingly violent groups that traffic in terror. More than the danger of transnational terrorism per se is the threat of a possible nexus between terrorist groups and international organised crime. Because of the loss of some of the state sponsorship of terrorism, terrorist groups need to pursue means of financing themselves to a greater extent than in the past through arms and even drug trafficking."29 

Terrorism, crime, narcotics, piracy, ethnicity, religious fundamentalism, migration, refugees and the proliferation of light arms have contributed to instability in the Asia-Pacific region. Governments had partial successes against fighting crime and narcotics although both these threats remained at manageable levels. The existing and emerging threats after the end of the Cold War transcended the territorial boundaries of the nation-state. The phenomena of globalisation – the increase in porosity of boundaries, enhanced communication, rapid movement and migration of people, free flow of information and greater access and transfer of lethal technology – has added a new dimension to the security of the nation-state, forcing security planners to think afresh locally, nationally, regionally and globally. The persistent simmering of East-West tensions has created the space and opportunity either to end or fuel conflict. The most potent threat facing the region is terrorism. Although incidents of terrorism have escalated, government agencies have only gradually begun to develop multi-agency approaches to combat the phenomenon. The region was affected mostly from Afghanistan and the Mid-East. Islamic militant groups – Egyptians, Algerians, Palestinians, and Saudis – using Afghanistan as a base, stepped up operations in the region. Armed members, particularly those trained by the Taliban militia, not only operated in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Kashmir, Middle East but also in Southeast Asia.

Al Qaeda

Following the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, its neighbouring states – Pakistan and Iran – were unsuccessful in their attempts to restore normalcy in the country, with Saudi and US support. The spill-over effects of the Afghan conflict threatened domestic and international security for over a decade. Afghanistan-trained Al Qaeda terrorists participated in political and military campaigns in Mindanao in the Philippines, Dagestan, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Kashmir, Bosnia, Algeria, Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia, Bahrain, the Lebanon and Kosovo.30  In addition to Pakistani support, the Kashmiri groups benefited from the weapons pipeline of the anti-Soviet Afghan-mujahiddeen campaign. With the Taliban, a fundamentalist group backed by Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), entering the Afghan theatre, Pakistan’s control over the developments in Afghanistan temporarily increased, but, at the same time strained Pakistan-Iran relations.31  Since the mid-1990s, India and Iran developed close political and military relations.

In 1999, Afghanistan’s south-east produced 4,600 tons of opium. About 97 per cent of the crop was in the area controlled by the Taliban, who levied a 20 per cent tax on the cultivators. The population of Afghanistan, estimated at 18 million in 1995, has suffered heavy social and economic losses due to continuous war. There are six million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran.

In the first half of the 1990s, a number of anti-Western Islamic groups established a presence in Afghanistan. The US authorities believed that the Egyptian Jehad, also known as the Jehad Group, Vanguards of Conquest, Talaa’ al-Fateh, International Justice Group and World Justice Group had a presence both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. "The original Jehad was responsible for the assassination in 1981 of President Anwar Sadat. Unlike al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya, which mainly targets mid- and lower-level security personnel, Coptic Christians, and Western tourists, al-Jehad appears to concentrate primarily on high-level, high-profile Egyptian Government officials, including cabinet ministers. It claimed responsibility for the attempted assassinations of Interior Minister Hassan Al-Alfi in August 1993 and Prime Minister Atef Sedky in November 1993."32 

In the second half of the 1990s, US authorities began to focus on the Saudi-born terrorist financier Osama Bin Laden. After leaving Sudan, he relocated from Jalalabad to the Taliban’s capital of Kandahar in early 1997 and established a new base of operations.33  US authorities believe that he continued to incite violence against the United States, particularly against US forces in Saudi Arabia. "Bin Laden called on Muslims to retaliate against the US prosecutor in the Mir Aimal Kansi trial for disparaging comments he made about Pakistanis and praised the Pakistan-based Kashmiri group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) in the wake of its formal designation as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States."34  Following Kansi’s extradition to the United States, Bin Laden warned the United States that, if it attempted his capture, he would "teach them a lesson similar to the lesson they were taught in Somalia."35  After the Al Qaeda bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the US cruise missile attacks in Sudan and the Khost region of Afghanistan in August 1998 led to greater support for Al Qaeda and its associate groups. The reactive response of the US to the African bombings generated further support for Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda.36  Several small Asian groups pledged support to Al Qaeda and also condemned the US.37  Until ‘9/11’, the US, backed by an intelligence community with a global reach, had grave limitations in fighting terrorism. Furthermore, the ‘9/11’ multiple attacks demonstrated that stateless terrorists like Bin Laden could command their activists or supporters in far away theatres to carry out attacks against enemy targets.

In the wake of Operation Enduring Freedom, the surviving Al Qaeda and the defeated Taliban militia are now planning for a protracted war both in and outside Afghanistan. Such developments and vulnerabilities in the international environment call governments to periodically rethink, re-strategize and reformulate fresh responses.38 

The break-up of the Soviet Union provided opportunities for both India and Pakistan to establish close relations with Soviet Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrigistan.39  The Middle-East, notably Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey, also developed strong political and economic ties with this Muslim majority region. The conflict in Tajikistan came to an end with the establishment of a national reconciliation government in 1997. In 1998 and 1999, with the support of Moscow, Tehran and Islamabad, opposition parties were brought in, strengthening the peace initiatives. The instability in Afghanistan, the gateway to Soviet Central Asia, continues to affect the rest of Central Asia. A few members of some Islamic parties from the Soviet Central Asian states, notably from Uzbekistan, have received military training in Afghanistan. Furthermore, propaganda material originating in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been distributed outside mosques in the Soviet Central Asian countries. The source of Islamic fundamentalism in this region is in the Ferghana Valley, linking Uzbekistan, Kyrigistan and Tajikistan. The terrorist threat has been low except for two major incidents: the attempted assassination of the Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in Tashkent of February 1999, and the kidnapping of Japanese geologists and accompanying security forces personnel in Kyrigistan in the summer of 1999.40  The flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, enjoying a common border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, remains another security concern. As of late 1999, opium cultivation in northern Afghanistan spread into the Uzbekistan border.

Through the 1990s, US and Israel began to aid India to emerge as a counter-balance to Islamic fundamentalism. As of 2002, with the exception of Afghanistan, the Central Asian region remains stable largely due to pragmatic leadership. With the succession of the current Soviet period leaders, the potential for a resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in Muslim Central Asia remains high.41 

It is within this context that the consolidation of the Al Qaeda is to be assessed. The Al Qaeda is vertically organised with Bin Laden, the emir-general, at the top, followed by other Al Qaeda leaders and leaders of the constituent groups.42  Horizontally, it is integrated with 24 constituent groups. While the vertical integration is formal, the horizontal integration is informal.43  Immediately below Bin Laden is the Shura Majlis, a consultative council. Four committees – military, religio-legal, finance, and media – report to the majlis. Handpicked members of these committees – especially the military committee – conduct special assignments for Bin Laden and his operational commanders. In order to preserve operational effectiveness at all levels, compartmentalisation and secrecy are paramount.44 

After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, external funding to the Afghan Jehadis ceased. Consequent to the Al Qaeda shifting its base to Sudan in 1990, it needed to invest in businesses and extensive financial enterprises to sustain its expanding network of trans-national operations (Table 1).

Table 1: Al Qaeda Enterprises in Sudan


Ø Wadi al Aqiq Ltd Import agricultural and industrial equipment such as fertiliser, iron, insecticide, lathing machines

Ø Zirqani company Ltd Exchange foreign and local bonds

Ø Ladin international Ltd Buy, market & export through Cyprus peanuts, sesame
seeds, sunflower, corn, hibiscus, bananas.

Ø Taba Investments Ltd · Grow and import sugar.

· Market canned mushroom and tomatoes, sugar, palm oil, soap, fava beans.

· Import lemons, olives, rasins, nuts, hazelnuts, and almonds from Tajikistan

Ø Soba & Damazine farms Produce agricultural products: grow white corn, peanuts, sunflower, wheat.

Ø Oil factories Crush sesame and peanut seeds and make oil

Ø Furniture Company Import wood from Turkey

Ø Al Hijra Constructions

Ø Qudurat Transportation

Ø Qudurat Construction · Built the Thaadi road (revolution road from Khartoum to Port Sudan via Atbar, Shendi, Hayer cities

· Purchased cement, asphalt & machines to crush rock

Ø Bank of Zoological Produce genes make good hybrids of cattle


Ø Kasalla Facility Produced & exported hybrids for agricultural products like corn

Ø Happ/Khartoum Tannery Tan cowhides

Ø International al-Ikhlas Sweets & honey factory, Kameen


Ø Blessed Fruits Ltd Fruit and vegetable export

Ø Althemar al Mubaraka Agricultural production

Company Ltd

Ø GASH Project

Ø Bareba Commission


Ø Bakery

Ø Planned to establish Rice


Ø Cheese Factory

Ø Cargo Shipping Firm

Ø Clandestine Activities Camels from Umduhrman to Egypt with weapons

Osama Bin Laden also had ventures in Tanzania ranging from mining diamonds to trading in gold, diamonds, Tanzanites and other semi-precious stones. In Uganda, the Al Qaeda conducted trade in lapis lazuli, a blue stone. Al Qaeda undertook trade in ostrich eyes and meat in Kenya as also fish business in Mombassa and in Im-Ex Films, Electric Appliances and Local Ceramics in Yemen. The outfit had extensive commercial ventures in Madagascar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. While in Azerbaijan, it traded in bikes, in Russia it was Maz Trucks. In Croatia, the outfit purchased companies sold by the government in Zagreb. Al Qaeda businesses had extended to Hungary and Slovakia, where it traded in Zetor Tractors from Martin. It also had businesses in various parts of Europe and North America. The Al Qaeda’s ventures in Southeast Asia extended into Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines. Al Qaeda products for export included ostriches and sheep dogs (Kenya); wood (Turkey); lemons, olives, raisins, nuts, hazelnuts and almonds (Tajikistan); and camels (Sudan). Imports from the US included: night vision goggles, night vision scopes, video equipment, batteries, Barret 50 calibre rifles and a T389 military aircraft that crashed at Khartoum International airport.45  It also imported scuba gear and range finders (UK); phone equipment (Germany); uranium (South Africa); bicycles (Azerbaijan); Maz Trucks (Russia); heavy machinery for construction work; fertiliser; iron; insecticide; lathing machines; and sugar. Al Qaeda products were marketed world-wide through an elaborate network of front outfits, affiliated individuals and charities.

The crime network of Al Qaeda also flourished world wide, primarily through an array of charities and tertiary organisations that took advantage of the liberal laws prevailing in many countries. Among the charities linked to Bin Laden were the Saudi Arabia-based International Islamic Relief Organization, Qatar Charitable Organisation managed by Khalid alias Abu Mahdi, Help Africa People in Kenya, Malaria Research Project in Somalia, Kenya-based Mercy International. Al Qaeda also infiltrated several mosques and institutions of Muslim learning in various parts of Europe and North America. In fact, the outfit had a high capacity to infiltrate Muslim communities world wide, and this was based primarily on its linkages with various Islamic philanthropies and foundations.

Al Qaeda is reported to have acquired a wide range of technologies and weaponry from diverse countries. While it secured Satellite phone and communication equipment from Germany, uranium resources were secured from South Africa. Devices under test (DUT) were acquired from various quarters in Japan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Major supplies of weaponry emerged from Soviet Central Asia.

The Al Qaeda is known to have used a wide array of bank accounts in various countries to conduct its trans-national operations. It maintained accounts in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Dubai, Barclays Bank London, Vienna Girocredit, Kenya Girocredit, Sudan Shamal Bank (where five separate and one joint accounts were maintained), Bank Tadamon Islami, Bank Faisl Islami, Bank of Almusa and the Muduhrman Bank. At its height, the core Al Qaeda cadre strength is known to have conducted significant clandestine financial transaction and built up a formidable global terrorist infrastructure. Furthermore, since year 1998, there were also signs of self-financed operational cells being formed in different parts of the world. Bin Laden is also known to siphon funds from overt Muslim charities to a wide variety of banks in the Gulf region, with the Group’s front organisations transacting businesses.46  The distribution of funds was managed by an exiled Saudi businessman in Ethiopia, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al-Almadi, and the Afghan-based Abu Zubayda, who is thought to be a Palestinian originally named Zein Abedein Mohammad Hassan.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

The LTTE is the leading guerrilla and terrorist group in the world and is responsible for two thirds of all the suicide bombings. The intensity of fighting between government forces and the LTTE in the Sri Lanka’s Northeast reached an unprecedented high in 1999 and 2000. The number of Tamil civilians killed declined during this phase, as most of the fighting was concentrated in the sparsely populated Wanni, but this is likely to change with LTTE attempts to recover the densely populated Jaffna peninsula from the security forces. During the past decade, the LTTE has mutated from a classic guerrilla force to a semi conventional force. To increase the pressure on the government, the LTTE attacked Colombo, the capital, destroying public infrastructure, commercial and industrial targets, with the intention of crippling the economy. Trains, buses, ships, buildings, tea factories, power stations, oil installations, and telecom structures were damaged or destroyed, thus depleting tourism and foreign investment. In October 1997, a suicide bomb attack on the World Trade Centre in Colombo, modelled on the US WTC (1993) attack plan, was staged by the LTTE. This followed the January 1996 suicide bomb attack that destroyed the Central Bank. The US State Department’s Office of the Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism classified the Central Bank attack as the worst terrorist strike in 1996.47  From 1997, with the aim of disrupting civil administration, the LTTE also assassinated Tamil political leaders, including Members of Parliament and a female mayor.48  In 1998, the LTTE mounted reconnaissance on the US Embassy in Colombo. In December 1999, LTTE suicide operatives assassinated the Shadow Defence Minister, General Lucky Algama, and also injured the Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge in one eye.49  The LTTE also stepped up attacks on foreign commercial vessels, abducting crew, setting fire to or exploding vessels. The LTTE also heisted a shipment of 32,400 mortar bombs bound for the Sri Lankan military from Croatia in July 1997. While the contract was placed with the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, the joint contractor – LBJ Militaries Supplies of Israel – loaded the supplies on to a LTTE vessel.50  In August 1997, a US-based group sympathetic to the LTTE, calling itself the Internet Black Tigers (IBT), claimed responsibility for bombarding several Sri Lankan foreign missions with junk e-mail.51  The Sri Lankan Government strongly supports international efforts to address the problem of terrorism.52 

After the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency, ceased to support the LTTE in 1987, it ventured out to generate a bulk of its war budget from its Diaspora, trade and investment.53  About 80 per cent of the LTTE budget, estimated at US $ 80-100 million, comprises Diaspora contributions and revenue from international trade, enterprises and investments.54  The LTTE continues to operate in Europe and in North America through front, cover and sympathetic organisations.

Despite the US designation of the LTTE as a terrorist group in October 1997, the LTTE operated in the US as LTTE, World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), and Illankai Tamil Sangam (ITS). Today, the LTTE continues to operate as World Tamil Movement (WTM), Tamil Eelam Society (TES) and the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT) in Canada. While the bulk of the funds raised have been diverted to procurement, funds have also been transferred to the accounts of a few powerful Indian political leaders who are sympathetic to the LTTE. Despite the LTTE assassination of former Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi, some politicians of the present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government remains sympathetic to the LTTE. An Indian court sentenced all the accused in the Rajiv Gandhi murder trial to death by hanging. The LTTE also continues to maintain links with Indian guerrilla and terrorist groups.55  In early 2000, foreign intelligence reports indicated that the LTTE intended to target Indian strategic facilities – especially nuclear plants – in the South, in the event of Indian intervention in Sri Lanka. The LTTE also mounted reconnaissance on the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, widow of Rajiv Gandhi, in 1999. Sri Lankan and Indian intelligence assess that the LTTE is likely to assassinate her in the event of a return to power of the Congress Party of India. The LTTE remains a proscribed organisation in India. As the LTTE is tactically rearming itself, the early 2002 effort at negotiating with the LTTE is bound to fail.

An LTTE vessel was destroyed on November 2, 1997.

Horizon (Comex Joux 3) – (Flag: Honduras) was destroyed on February 14, 1996.

Ahat (Yahata) – (Flag: Honduras) – destroyed on January 16, 1993. Cholakeri capsized on November 28, 1992.

Tongonova was captured in November 1991.

Kadalpura was captured in October 1987.

Cholan, the first LTTE vessel was purchased in 1984.

The LTTE has established offices in Bangkok in addition to using Pukhet as a transit point for its ships. The LTTE also conducted the bulk of its purchases in Thailand. The LTTE chief procurement officer Tharmalingam Shanmugam (alias Kumaran Pathmanathan) is resident in Thailand.

Terrorist groups like the LTTE that have developed a transnational reach usually engage in organised crime. Gradually such groups, through their overseas representatives, break into high-risk and high-profit ventures such as narcotic trafficking, human smuggling, credit card scams, etc.56  For instance, V Manoharan, head of the LTTE International Secretariat, UK, was arrested in Paris for possession of heroin and was fined 120,000 francs and sentenced to three years in prison on March 25, 1985.57  Until he was released in September 1987, the LTTE paid his salary and thereafter appointed him as the LTTE representative in France.

Extremist Groups in the Philippines

The Republic of Philippines is a country that has been afflicted by terrorism since the 1960s. Although peace agreements with insurgent groups have reduced fighting with government forces, former members of insurgent groups and members of extant groups participated in attacks. The patterns of splintering demonstrate the presence of grievances as well as aspirations to maintain steadfast opposition to the state. The New Peoples Army (NPA), the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), aims to overthrow the government. The party, a Maoist group formed in December 1969, gathered considerable strength during the Marcos years. Although it is a rural-based guerrilla group, it has sufficient assets in the urban-areas to carry out assassinations and bombings. With the splintering of the CPP, NPA weakened and the police captured some key leaders. Manila suspended negotiations with the political arm of the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) in late 1997 following an upsurge in small-scale attacks on the government. For instance, in May 1997 the NPA ambushed a vehicle owned by a sub-contractor of a major US firm, killing two Filipino employees. In December 1997, NPA ambushed two army detachments and abducted 21 paramilitary troops in Davao City in Mindanao. When the government called for talks with the NPA, there were several splits.58  As of March 2000, the NPA/CPP raises funds mainly through revolutionary (‘progressive’) taxation; permit-to-campaign (PTC) fees; legitimate business ventures; and foreign communist organisations and NGOs. According to Philippine intelligence, the NPA collects a total of P5 million to P10 million monthly through progressive taxation alone. In the field of Industry, funds are collected from mining59 , transportation60 , food and beverage61 , agriculture62 , merchandise63 and logging.64  Similarly, the NPA collects P100 to P1200 and P400 to P1600 monthly from private individuals and gambling dens, respectively. The NPA in Albay and Camarines Sur compelled barangay officials to give 12 percent of their honoraria and 20 percent of their IRA. The NPA generates funds by levying PTC fees on candidates during the election period in exchange for unhampered campaign sorties in NPA-controlled areas. In the 1995 polls alone, dissidents in Regions 5 and 8 raised P980,000 and P310,000, respectively, through the imposition of PTC fees.

The CPP/NPA is also involved in legitimate business undertakings to raise funds for the movement. Some CPP units are engaged in poultry raising and goat/hog dispersal, among other things, while others have established co-operatives and lending institutions for this purpose. With the Netherlands–based CPP Chairman Jose Ma Sison becoming a member of an international fraternal organisation called the International Communist Movement (ICM), the CPP began to receive about US$500,000 to US$2 million a month from several foreign communist parties. The big donors were the Communist Party of Germany; Christian-Marxist Dialogue based in Sweden and Belgium; Communist Party of Japan; and some Marxist and Maoist parties in Europe. Because Sison co-ordinates and controls the flow of international funds, the party consults him before making any major decisions.65  Before the CPP split, its fronts received financial aid from foreign NGOs. The fronts, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) are currently aligned with the rejectionist camp. The NDF and several of its support organisations continue to get monetary assistance from foreign NGOs, particularly those in Western Europe, where the NDF International Office is based. Some of these foreign funding agencies are the Catholic Organisation for Joint Financing of Development Programs (CEBEMO) in the Netherlands;66  Netherlands Organisation for International Assistance (NOVIB) in the Netherlands67 ; Christian Aid (CA) in the United Kingdom68 ; Diakonia or the Swedish Free Church Aid and Development Agency in Sweden69 ; Bread for the World (BW) in Germany70 ; Terre des Hommes (TDH) in Germany71 ; Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund (SCLF) in Switzerland72 ; Asia Partnership for Human Development (APHD) in Hongkong73  The transfer of funds from Dutch NGOs to local CPP fronts is largely facilitated through the universal banking system which enables foreign organisations to transmit funds to Philippine banks via overseas counterparts. The modes of transfer may either be through the teletype, demand draft or mail transfer which provide security for the identity of the transmitting and receiving party. The CPP financial flows are, thus, secured from the following streams.

Ø Revolutionary/Progressive Taxation

· CCP Central Committee’s National Finance Commission manages taxes collected by NPA units nation-wide. BPI, Metrobank, PCIB, Far East Bank and PNB has accounts under fictitious names with limits of P500,000 to avoid suspicion.

· Mining: P500,000 annually from large mining industries, 10-12 per cent of income from small companies.

· Transportation: P500-30,000 monthly from companies; P5.00-20.00 daily from individuals.

· Food and Beverages: P10,000 monthly or P250,000 annually e.g.: Asia Brewery, Inc., Panay.

· Agriculture & Fishery: Rubber plantation owners are taxed P500-5,000 monthly; rice and corn farmers P100 per hectare. Large agricultural firms & fishpond operators & owners P75,000-250,000. Small fishermen allot P250 worth of fish weekly.

· Merchandising: Dependent on the revenue, merchandising companies are taxed P3,000-40,000 monthly.

· Logging: Logging firms are taxed P2,000-10,000 monthly while illegal loggers 5 per cent of the proceeds of illicit activities.

· Gambling: Private individuals and gambling dens were taxed P100-1,200 & P400-1,600 monthly respectively.

· NPA in Albay and Camarines Sur compelled local government officials to give 20 per cent of their salary.

Ø Permit-To-Campaign (PTC) fees

PTC fees levied on candidates during the elections in exchange for unhampered campaigning.

· In the 1995 polls, in Regions 5 and 8, P980,000 and P310,000 was raised.

· In 1998, P5.4 million was raised in Region 4, P311,000 in Region 5, P237,000 in Region 6, P five million in Region 7, P983,000 in Region 8 and P one million in Region 10.

Ø Legitimate Business Ventures

Ø Foreign Communist Organizations.


Ø CPP/NPA units have established co-operatives, lending institutions and engage in poultry raising and goat/hog dispersal.

Ø In the last quarter of 1997, CCP/NPA in Lanao del Norte earned P2.3 million from 37 CPP/NPA-managed co-operatives.

Several feeder accounts in France, Germany, Switzerland and Hong Kong are managed by Central Committee Members Abroad (CCMA). CPP’s International Finance Commission (IFC) members include Juliet Sison, Luis Jalandoni’s wife Connie Ledesma, and the wife of Antonio Zumel. They maintain accounts in the Netherlands. The CCMA provides US$200,000 monthly to the CPP to finance the activities of the CC and the NPA’s general staff. The money is first deposited in a bank in Hong Kong and then transferred to local banks where the NFC has dollar accounts. As of year 2000, the NFC maintained two dollar accounts at the PNB and one each at Metrobank, PCIB and UCPB. On the other hand, the transfer of funds from Dutch NGOs to local CPP fronts is largely facilitated through the universal banking system, which enables foreign groups to transmit funds to RP banks via overseas counterparts.

The Moro insurgency is one of the oldest continuing insurgencies in the world.74  A number of guerrilla and terrorist groups draw support from the Moro community, which constitutes only 4 per cent of the population of the Philippines. The Philippine Government began implementing the terms of a peace agreement signed with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) since 1996 and continued to negotiate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Former MNLF rebels were integrated into the Philippine military. A cease-fire with the MILF reduced the fighting that peaked in the first half of 1997, but failed to reach peace. MILF, a MNLF splinter, fighting for independence in the southern Philippines, is led by Hashim Salamat. It is far larger and better equipped than any other Moro group. A German businessman abducted in September 1997 by former MNLF members was released in December 1997 after his family agreed to pay the kidnappers approximately $100,000 as ransom money. In separate incidents in October and November 1997, former MNLF members abducted Irish and Belgian priests and demanded payment of funds owed to them under a government rehabilitation program. The captives were released after the government agreed to expedite disbursal of the funds.

The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is a more radical group led by Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani. ASG, influenced by Iran, seeks to establish an Islamic state in Mindanao. ASG operates mostly in the Southern Philippines and occasionally in Manila. Formed after a split from the MNLF in 1991, ASG conducts kidnappings, bombings and assassinations, including, the assassination of a Catholic bishop in February 1997. A Japanese businessman and three Filipino youths were kidnapped by ASG in June 1997.75  A rescue operation by the Philippine military freed the Japanese hostage. ASG’s first large-scale operation was a raid on Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995. Members are mostly younger Muslims, many of whom have studied or worked in the Gulf and Middle Eastern countries, where they were exposed to radical Islamic ideology. The group also has links with foreign Islamic organisations. There are, moreover, a number of Islamic NGOs and business corporations in the Philippines suspected to have links with the ASG and other foreign terrorist organisations.

In October 1997, the US government designated ASG as a foreign terrorist organisation. Despite stepped up efforts by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1998 and 1999, the ASG remained a threat to the security of the state. On March 20, 2000, ASG attacked an army outpost and seized students, teachers, priests and others from two schools in Basilan. In return for 29 hostages, ASG requested the US to release Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, convicted mastermind of the WTC, New York, 1993, bombing and Sheikh Omar Abdel, convicted for conspiring to destroy New York City landmarks such as the UN building. Furthermore, the ASG demanded 85 sacks of rice, removal of Christian crosses from the mountains of Basilan and the release of two ASG cadres from a jail in the province. In the long term, it is likely that the government will be able to draw the MILF into the political mainstream but not the ASG, which is a highly radicalised group. Christian Fundamentalist groups in Mindanao oppose the 1996 Davao Consensus and the granting of Muslim autonomy.

The link between Middle Eastern and South Asian radical Islamic groups and the groups in the Philippines is beginning to grow gradually. A few Islamic terrorists in the Philippines have either joined several radical Islamic groups in the Middle East and South Asia, or represent Middle Eastern and South Asian groups in the Philippines. For instance, the Al Affhani is comprised of veterans active in Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Five Al Affhani members funded a three-month commando training of the ASG in March 1994. Similarly, the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) has cells in the Philippines that maintain contact with the MILF through Palestinian students with Jordanian passports and married to Filipinas. The Islamic Student Association of the Philippines serves as the propaganda arm of Hamas. MQM-Altaf Hussain’s Philippine Chapter, established by Ibad Ur-Rehman, is now based in California. Activities of the LTTE in the Philippines include human smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal shipments of other logistical supplies.76 


Terrorist dependence on organised crime for financial viability and organisational survival will increase in the near future. Structurally, terrorist groups will increasingly mirror organised crime groups. Terrorist groups will rapidly move in search of new opportunities to generate funds. Dependent on the financial opportunities available, both sources and methods of generating revenue will differ from one another. With state-sponsors distancing themselves, terrorist groups will either develop robust organised crime components or work closely with organised crime groups. While the bulk of the terrorist groups will retain their political content, the potential for a few terrorist groups to degenerate into pure criminal groups will, nevertheless, increase. To effectively combat international terrorism, state response will have to reflect the terrorist-organised crime nexus. Among the principal responses to regulating these existing and emerging threats in the Asia-Pacific region are:

Ø Develop exceptionally good military and intelligence expertise to neutralise terrorist groups. The approach of punishing individuals, but permitting groups that have perpetrated violence to exist, is highly counter-productive.

Ø Develop arrangements with states to disrupt terrorist support networks and assist states by sharing intelligence and exchanging personnel to fight transnational terrorist networks.

Ø Terrorist groups can be effectively crushed only at an early stage. The failure to fight efficiently, legitimately and ethically – especially against an ethnically and religiously empowered group – can lead to indiscriminate violence, which can favour the terrorist. With time, most conflicts can gather momentum generating substantial popular support. In such instances, a political solution over a military solution should be considered.

Ø Often devolving regional autonomy or power sharing has been the most effective strategy. But, it works primarily only in the formative phases of a conflict. The process requires close supervision, particularly during the implementation phase.

Ø A politico-military approach to politically isolate a group in order to stem support and recruits, and to simultaneously offer political and economic incentives and to militarily pressurise it to join the mainstream. Often, links with foreign groups, state sponsors, or Diaspora-support can provide the confidence to fight on. Transnational networks make such groups more resilient.

Ø While some of these threats can be resolved unilaterally by states, most require bilateral and multilateral arrangements.

Ø Some of the threats can be regulated at a sub regional and others at a regional level.

  • Some of the threats are new, others are old, but have assumed a renewed dimension. Therefore, new institutions capable of delivering multi-pronged responses are essential to regulate extant and emerging threats.


  1. I wish to thank Dr. Ajai Sahni for inviting me to write this paper

  2. The international security and intelligence community was not adequately monitoring these groups. This led the leading US terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman to remark in 1997: "We have been looking at the wrong groups."

  3. Respectively, they performed the first acknowledged chemical, cyber and transcontinental mass casualty attacks.

  4. While violent political conflicts witness under 100 deaths per conflict per year, low intensity conflicts witness between 100 and 1000 deaths per conflict per year. High intensity conflicts witness over 1000 deaths per conflict per year. The fatalities comprise combatants and non-combatants.

  5. Although Aum staged the first acknowledged chemical attack, the LTTE staged a Chlorine attack against Sri Lankan troops in June 1990. 6 Remote control bomb technology originating in the Middle East has been found in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Mike Dolamore, Defence Intelligence Staff, Ministry of Defence, UK, personal communication, February 1999.

  6. Ibid.

  7. From 1975 to 1982, the civil war in Lebanon featuring the Shi'ites, Sunnis, Maronites and the Druzes led to the collapse of the state, creating the conditions for several terrorist groups to establish a presence. Foreign policy considerations forced Syria to control some of these groups. A number of foreign groups - JRA, PIRA, LTTE, ASALA, PKK, RAF, Turkish Left, and Palestinian groups, etc. - established a presence, notably in the Syrian controlled Bekha valley in Lebanon. Similarly, Soviet intervention from 1979 to 1989 led to the collapse of the Afghan State. Until Israel stepped in, and the PLO withdrew to Tunis, Southern Lebanon remained a perfect training ground for several groups. Foreign policy considerations - notably Kashmir - led Pakistan to control the Taliban. The Taliban's unique worldview provided an opportunity for several Muslim radical groups to establish a presence in Afghanistan and train to fight many international campaigns.

  8. Denis Pluchinsky, "Ethnonational Terrorism - Themes and Variations," FOA Report on Terrorism ed., Gunnar Jervas, Sweden, June 1998. 9 Rohan Gunaratna, "Transnational Terrorism: Support Networks and Trends", Faultlines:Writings on Conflict and Resolution, New Delhi, vol. 7, November 2000, p. 1.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in resolution 54/109 of December 9, 1999. For full text, see 11 One of the earliest Asian terrorist groups to form was the Japanese Red Army (JRA) in Lebanon in the early 1970s.

  11. For instance, the LTTE employed the support network in India and assassinated former Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991. Alison Jamieson provides similar examples. An Islamic fundamentalist group trained in Bosnia planned to explode a car bomb in 1997, aimed at killing the Pope. This was the 14th time the Pope had been targeted. Furthermore, there were planned attacks on communication and public services infrastructure in Rome and in the Vatican that were disrupted by Italian intelligence services. Narcotics supported a similar network operating in Milan in 1998. In Albania in 1998, several Islamic fundamentalist groups supported by the UBL network were disrupted. One such group was planning to destroy the US Embassy in Tirana. Alison Jamieson, "Transnational Organised Crime, A European Perspective," Terrorism and Beyond: The 21st Century, Oklahoma, April 2000.

  12. Now known as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). The HuA was formed by the merger of two Pakistani terrorist groups, Harkat-ul-Jehad al-Islami and HuM, and led by Maulana Saadatullah Khan. The merger of these two and its transformation into a terrorist group came about as part of the Afghan jehad. The HuA was termed a terrorist organisation by the US due to its association with bin Laden in 1997. To avoid the repercussions of the US proscription, the HuA was recast as the HuM in 1998. See South Asia Terrorism Portal; India; J&K; Terrorist Groups; Harkat-ul-Ansar;

  13. Interview with David Veness, Head, Specialist Operations, Scotland Yard, April 2000.

  14. Christopher Smith, Light Weapons: The Forgotten Dimension of the International Arms Trade, London: Brassy's Yearbook, 1994, pp. 271-84; Jayantha Dhanapala, Mitsuro Donowaki, Swadesh Rana and Lora Lumpe, Small Arms Control: Old Weapons, New Issues, Aldershot, UNIDIR and Ashgate, 1999.

  15. Myron Weiner, Bad Neighbors, "Bad Neighborhoods: An Inquiry into the Causes of Refugee Flows", International Security, vol. 21, no.1 (Summer 1996), pp. 5-42. Weiner provides an excellent analysis while highlighting the security implications of refugee flows.

  16. As such, Chinese migrants in Asia are colloquially called the "Jews of the East", and have suffered discrimination and violence in Malaysia, Indonesia and beyond.

  17. As of 1999, of the three million Sri Lankan Tamils, some one million live overseas. The Diaspora have been exploited by the terrorists. Before the LTTE developed its shipping network to transfer narcotics, it used the Diaspora to transfer and trade in narcotics. In the mid 1980s, there were as many as 400 Sri Lankan Tamils languishing in the jails of Italy alone. By the mid 1990s, the LTTE was trading only in wholesale quantities primarily to sustain its international arms procurement program.

  18. To control the flow of funds, the US designated 30 foreign groups as terrorist in October 1997. The UK and Canada brought charges against some groups in the 1990s. For instance, Canada prosecuted the LTTE leader Suresh Manikkawasagar and the UK against Markaz Dawa-ul-Irshad, funding terrorism in Kashmir. Overall, Western countermeasures were weak, inappropriate and unsuccessful

  19. Although not an Asia-Pacific group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) fighting the Serbians drew support from Albanian immigrants in New York who fled Kosovo during the Communist rule. KLA claim to have raised "more than $500,000 in recent months." US agencies discovered an American support group and detected an increase in arms smuggling to Kosovo. The weapons have been financed by Kosovar exiles in Europe, and more recently in the United States, and funnelled through ethnic Albanian sympathisers in neighbouring Albania and Macedonia. Colum Lynch, "Albanians in US fuel Kosovo struggle, Guerrillas battling Serbs for independence draw on overseas supporters to purchase weapons," Boston Globe, April 12, 1998. p A02.

  20. Kevin Rafferty, Economy, The Far East and Australasia, London: Europa Publications Ltd, 1996, p.66.

  21. As of late 1990s and in early 2000, Kosovar migrants, working with Columbian dealers, dominated the distribution networks in the US. In return, Colombians assisted Albanian organised crime groups to grow coca in the mountains of Albania where the heroin refineries operate.

  22. Bernard Frahi, Head, UN Drug Program Office, South and Southwest Asia, quoted in Barry Bearak, "Adding to Pakistan's Misery: A Heroin Epidemic," New York Times, April 19, 2000, %5B%5D%20Adding%20To%20Pakistan's%20Mis ery,%20A%20Heroin%20Epidemic.htm.

  23. Ibid.

  24. During 1995, when more opiate abusers in the age group 15-19 years entered treatment than during the entire 3-year period from 1992 to 1994.

  25. The Special Session deliberated on six main themes: precursor chemicals, Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS), judicial co-operation, money laundering, drug demand reduction and the elimination of illicit crops and alternative development.

  26. Based on estimates by the United Nations Drug Control Program, UN Information Centre, NY. From a health perspective, the most seriously abused drug is heroin. Although its consumption is still relatively small - 8 million people or 0.14 per cent of the world population - its use is increasing. Cocaine is more widespread in terms of the total number of consumers - 13 million people or 0.23 per cent of the world's population, though fewer countries are affected. Cannabis is the most widely abused drug, consumed by about 2.5 per cent of the world population - about 140 million people.

  27. The Kosovans and Albanians work with the Italian Mafia. They are known to supply the Milan market with some 50 Kg a day. Alison Jamieson, "Transnational Organised Crime, A European Perspective," Terrorism and Beyond: The 21st Century.

  28. Personal communication, April 2000.

  29. Most Muslims arrived in Afghanistan from Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), Turkey, Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh after 1984 to participate in the anti-Soviet campaigns.

  30. Due to factionalism within the Taliban, it was difficult for ISI to maintain total control over Taliban

  31. Annual Terrorism Report, Washington DC, State Department, 1998.

  32. Ibid.

  33. Ibid.

  34. Ibid.

  35. Bin Laden's fatwa to attack US interests, also endorsed by groups in Pakistan and Bangladesh, demonstrates his support beyond the Middle East, Africa and the Gulf. Magnus Ranstrop, Deputy Director, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, Scotland, personal communication, March 1999. Bin Laden's group maintains infrastructure in the Balkans, East Africa and in the Far East. Janet Hancock, Head of Research, Middle East ad North Africa, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, personal communication, March 1999.

  36. Owais Tohid, 'Bin Laden to be protected, say Pakistani Islamists,' AFP, Karachi, February 13, 1999. Umer Farooq, leader, Lahkar-i-Tayaba, said, "Mujahideen (Islamic warriors) would sacrifice their lives to defend the hero of Islam." Tariq Madani, a central leader of another pro-Taliban militant group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, said Bin Laden's Arab guards would frustrate any attempt to harm him. He said if the Taliban regime bowed to US demands out of a desire to break out of international isolation, it could split the Taliban ranks. Ghafoor Ahmed, deputy chief of Pakistan's main fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami, said "the US should stop dictating to Moslem countries, especially the Taliban." Mehmood Khan, a leader of the Pasban group, a youth wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami, urged the Taliban to resist outside pressures.

  37. The human intelligence capability of the US and Russia was depleted after the end of the Cold War as the two powers gradually withdrew most of their Humint assets in the early 1990s. Only by the development of exceptionally good military and intelligence expertise, can a state neutralize terrorist groups. Developing arrangements with states to disrupt terrorist support networks, co-operating with states by sharing intelligence, and exchanging personnel to fight transnational terrorist networks is gathering momentum since the mid-1990s. Terrorist groups can be effectively crushed only at an early stage. Failure to fight efficiently - especially a ethnically and a religiously empowered group - can lead to indiscriminate violence which can favour the terrorist. With time most conflicts can gather momentum generating substantial popular support. In such an instance, only a political solution over a military solution would be viable.

  38. M E Ahrari and James Beal, The New Great Game in Muslim Central Asia, Washington DC,: Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University, 1996, p. 95.

  39. The geologists were released by the Islamists from Uzbekistan who had taken refuge in the Ferghana valley in Kyrigistan

  40. Dr. John Anderson, Central Asian Expert, Oxford, April 2000. Also see, John Anderson, International Politics of Central Asia, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997, p. 2000.

  41. Rohan Gunaratna, "Blowback", Jane's Intelligence Review, August 2001, p. 43.

  42. Ibid.

  43. Ibid

  44. Ibid

  45. Ibid

  46. Annual Terrorism Report, Washington DC., State Department, 1997. Both these attacks were staged by using explosives procured with funds raised in Canada and the UK and using LTTE offices in Germany and in the UK to procure supplies from Rubezone chemical plant in Ukraine.

  47. LTTE front organisation Sangillian Force claimed responsibility for the attack. Usually the LTTE does not claim responsibility for civilian killings. This is primarily to evade branding as a terrorist group by the West, from where they raise significant resources to continue their campaign in Sri Lanka. Occasionally, its front organisations - such as Ellalllan Force, claims responsibility for its acts.

  48. The LTTE is the only group in the world to have assassinated two world leaders - Rajiv Gandhi of India in May 1991 and Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in May 1993.

  49. Correspondence between Israel and Zimbabwe, 1997.

  50. The group claimed in its internet postings to be an elite department of the LTTE specialising in "suicide e-mail bombings" with the goal of countering Sri Lankan government propaganda disseminated electronically, and that the attacks were only warnings. Although the US authorities classified the information infrastructure attack as the first incident of cyber terrorism, it failed to apprehend those responsible suspected to have used a web server at Princeton.

  51. Dr. Rohan Perera, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo, co-chaired and Colombo was the first to sign the UN Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings in January 1998 and thereafter chaired the UN Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism. Colombo condemned terrorist attacks elsewhere and raised terrorism issues in international fora including the UN General Assembly and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Edinburgh.

  52. The LTTE is also known to engage in trafficking narcotics to generate funds. "Information obtained since the mid-1980s indicates that some Tamil communities in Europe are also involved in narcotics smuggling." Annual Terrorism Report, Washington DC, State Department, 1998.

  53. Rohan Gunaratna, Sri Lanka's Ethnic Crisis and National Security, Colombo: South Asian Network on Conflict Research, 1998, pp. 217-18.

  54. In addition to maintaining technological and training links with the United Liberation front of Asom (ULFA), People's War Group (PWG) and several Tamil Nadu and Sikh groups in the 1990s, the LTTE responded to the introduction of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka in 1987, by sending LTTE instructors to train Kashmiri and other foreign mujahidin fighting in Kashmir in training camps in Afghanistan.

  55. Rohan Gunaratna, "Transnational Terrorism: Support Networks and Trends", Faultlines: Writings on Conflict and Resolution, New Delhi, vol. 7, November 2000, p. 8.

  56. Terrorism branch, INTERPOL, Lyon, June 2000.

  57. In September 1997, a hitherto unknown group, Filipino Soldiers for the Nation, claimed responsibility for grenade attacks at bus terminals in Manila and Bulcalan City that killed six persons and wounded 65. Alex Boncayo Brigade (ABB), a Manila-based group identified by the US as a "Death Squad" rejected the NPA (also known as the National Democratic Front) peace process with Manila. The ABB, a splinter of the CPP, formed in the mid-1980s is responsible for over 100 murders and is believed to have been involved in the 1989 murder of US Army Col. James Rowe in the Philippines. In March 1997, the group announced that it had formed an alliance with another armed group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army.

  58. Tax being paid by large-scale mining firms ranges from P7,000 to P500,000 collected either monthly or yearly. On the other hand, 10 to 12 percent of the income of small mining companies and small-scale miners are given to the NPA as tax.

  59. Transportation firms are taxed from P500 to P30,000 monthly. Likewise, the NPA demand P5.00 to P20.00 daily from jeepney and tricycle drivers in some areas.

  60. In the food and beverage sector, the tax ranges from P10,000 to P250,000 either on a monthly or yearly basis. Reportedly, the Asia Brewery, Inc. in Panay has reduced its revolutionary tax from P15,000 to P10,000 due to the currency crisis.

  61. In agriculture-related enterprises, rubber plantation owners reportedly pay P500 to P5,000 monthly while rice and corn farmers give P100 per hectare of land. On the other hand, some landowners provide five to 20 percent of their net income depending on their harvest for the season. For large commercial agricultural firms and fishpond operators, owners are taxed P75,000 to P250,000 yearly while in some areas, small fishermen allot P250 worth of fish weekly to the NPA.

  62. Merchandising companies give P3,000 to P40,000 monthly depending on the scale or extent of the business operation.

  63. Logging firms usually pay P2,000 to P10,000 monthly while illegal loggers extend five percent of the proceeds of their illicit activities.

  64. However, when the manner in which foreign-based CPP leaders handled Party funds became suspect, there were moves to create an International Finance Commission. This contributed to the CPP split in 1993. The controversy was aggravated when funds raised overseas were deposited in the names of the wives of Sison, Jalandoni and Zumel.

  65. CEBEMO-supported projects are initiated by CPP-linked groups like the KMU, and leaned heavily on organizations and union-forming via conscientization seminars and leadership training. In November 1997, the local NPA members operating in Lanao del Norte, through the Alternative Rural Development Inc, received a P230,000 financial support from the CEBEMO.

  66. NOVIB's major contact in the Philippines is the anti-Sison TFDP which it financially supports. In the past, the NOVIB also reportedly facilitated the establishment of links between the GABRIELA and the Dutch's Christian Democratic Trade Union, which is one of the two largest trade unions in the Netherlands. The NOVIB also allegedly provides funds to the Resource Center for Philippine Concerns, which is the NDF's office in Japan.

  67. The CA has reportedly pledged to financially support until year 2000 such groups as the KMU-linked National Federation of Labor and the anti-Sison FDC. It was allegedly satisfied with the projects adopted by these local organizations.

  68. Diakonia has channelled funds to the Kapisanan para sa Pagpapalaya at Amnestiya ng mga Detenido sa Pilipinas (KAPATID) and the IBON Foundation. It has also been campaigning against alleged violations of civil and human rights in the Philippines.

  69. BW aims to give aid and development support through self-help programs such as agriculture, fisheries, food production and cooperative. BW reportedly extended financial support to the militant Church-based Consumer Movement.

  70. TDH funded several projects of various CPP-linked groups such as the KAPATID, Kilusan ng Manggagawang Kababaihan, NFSW and the anti-Sison Medical Action Group.

  71. The SCLF gave a US$10,150 cheque to the anti-Sison PAHRA to finance PAHRA's comprehensive development project which includes the implementation of training and human rights advocacy programs in the countryside. The next round of funding will be given to the PAHRA after submitting a progress report on the said project to the SCLF.

  72. The APHD, together with the BW, allegedly extended monetary assistance to the CPP-linked Ranao Socio-Economic Welfare and Development Inc (RSEWDI) based in Iligan City. From January to February 1998, the RSEWDI provided a total of P420,000 to such groups as the Farmers Center for Development in Ranaw Inc and the Panaghugpong sa mga Samohante Alang sa Kausaban in the form of loans with an 11 per cent interest rate.

  73. Some historians claim that the Moro rebellion is 500 years old.

  74. Annual Terrorism Report, Washington DC, State Department, 1998

  75. 75 Annual Terrorism Report, Washington DC, State Department, 1998. 76 Philippine intelligence identified Surendren Ponaiya alias Chunjen as a key member of the LTTE operating out of the Philippines.





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