TITLE:EXPERTS SEE CONTINUING TERRORIST THREAT (08/03/93)
EXPERTS SEE CONTINUING TERRORIST THREAT
(Panel discusses factors that could mean escalation) (580)
By Paul Malamud
USIA Staff Writer
Washington -- In the sordid history of global terrorism, 1993 could well
become "the bloodiest year yet," predicts Professor Yonah Alexander, an
expert on counter-terrorism at George Washington University.
With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Alexander told a Washington
seminar August 3, "arms proliferation...ethnic, racial and religious
intolerance" as well as nationalist or separatist "extremism" and
cross-border conflicts are leading to an escalation of terrorism around the
According to Alexander, terrorism today has many manifestations, including:
-- groups with extremist ideologies such as xenophobic "skinheads" and
-- "theological terrorism" as well as "racial, ethnic and tribal terrorism;"
-- "zero-sum nationalism or extremism" in which a nation resorts to
terrorist tactics, preferring violence to compromise;
-- anti-government terrorism, such as is occurring in Egypt and Italy; and
-- "Mafia-style terrorism," in which gangsters perform terrorist acts for
money as well as "terrorism against children," as is reported in some
Brazilian cities, "anti-media terrorism" designed to intimidate the press,
and "state-sponsored terrorism" by "new actors such as the Sudan and old
actors such as North Korea."
-- "single issue politics," such as animal rights groups who "destroy
biomedical research," anti-abortion zealots, and people who direct
campaigns against "university professors and scientists" whose research
contravenes their beliefs;
Kevin Giblin, an intelligence officer for counter-terrorism with the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, noted that threats against the United States
continue to be strongest outside its borders because the FBI has "been
successful in preventing planned acts of terrorism...numerous times" within
1he arrest of a terrorist, he said, sends a "powerful message" to terror
groups, and the FBI will "increasingly pursue terrorists worldwide" if they
operate against the United States. So far, he said, in spite of the recent
terrorist activity in New York City, "the level of terrorist activity"
within U.S. borders "remains remarkably low" because "the U.S. government
has devoted a great deal of attention to the problem" in recent years.
Giblin said that, in his view the World Trade Center bombing "should not be
construed as a prelude" to a terrorism wave washing over the United States,
though obviously the nation is "not immune" from such attacks.
Martin Mandelsohn, an aide to Senator Alfonse d'Amato, noted that d'Amato
has received death threats for his outspoken opposition to terrorism and
has strengthened his personal security detail.
"Terrorism has begun to flourish in this country," Mendelsohn warned, due to
the lack of a "proper deterrent," such as the death penalty for terrorism,
which d'Amato favors.
Mendelsohn added that "our open borders" and "leaky visa procedures"
ultimately could result in America becoming "a country not familiar to us"
if U.S. citizens are not more "vigilant."
Congressional aide Kenneth Timmerman added that the entry of Sheik Omar
Abdel-Rahman into the United States has "gotten the attention of Congress"
and that body is trying to fix "structural flaws" in U.S. entry procedures.
Timmerman asserted the blind cleric's entry here was due to "grotesque human
errors and an archaic (reference) system" at the U.S. consulate in
Khartoum. He said he expects the State Department to charge "user fees" to
visa applicants in order to pay for a new computerized reference system.
Timmerman listed Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Sudan as primary sponsors of
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