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DATE=8/27/1999 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=TERRORISM IN ASIA NUMBER=5-44153 BYLINE=ED WARNER DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The recent killing of a moderate Tamil peacemaker in Sri Lanka points up the continuing menace of terrorism in Asia. How to combat it in that part of the world was discussed at a Washington conference that brought together some of the leading U-S counter-terrorists. V-O-A's Ed Warner reports. TEXT: How do you cope with a suicide bomber? asked James Dunne of the U-S State Department at a conference held by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in suburban Washington. Mr. Dunne was referring to the suicide attack on Neelam Tiruchelvam, an ethnic Tamil moderate who became the latest casualty in Sri Lanka's civil war. The assailant gave up his own life in order to assure the death of his well-guarded victim. Mr. Dunne said the Tamil Tigers, who demand a state of their own, have perfected this unnerving form of terrorism. No other group matches them in this endeavor, or perhaps would want to. Terrorist incidents are declining in much of the world, said Caleb Temple, a senior counter-terrorism official at the U-S Defense Department. But they are increasing in Asia and are "extremely bloody." Mr. Temple said Asian terrorists do not kill just to make a point, but to claim as many victims as possible. The danger is that local groups like the Tamil Tigers may join the international terrorist network with its global ambitions of destruction. But dealing with terrorism is a complex matter, said conference participants. Simple retaliation is not always an answer, and may add to the problem. After the destruction of two American embassies in Africa, the United States retaliated by bombing terrorist camps in Afghanistan, but mistakenly killed a group of Pakistanis. Their comrades swore revenge. Good intentions can lead to unintended results, said Zachary Davis of the Congressional Research Service: /// FIRST DAVIS ACT /// Something that seems like a good idea initially sometimes has consequences that were unforeseen when we started down that path. In particular, cooperating on counter-terrorism or counter drug activities in regions of instability sometimes has surprises in store for us that were not considered in the initial planning. /// END ACT /// Mr. Davis said one commitment, if not carefully considered, can lead to another in a kind of mission creep. It may seem humane, for example, to help another country combat terrorism, said Mr. Davis. But any enhancement of that country's military power may alarm its neighbors and arouse more resentment of the United States, perhaps creating more terrorists: /// SECOND DAVIS ACT /// It may not be an unqualified good to provide technology or military-to-military assistance to a government, even if it is for the purpose of protecting citizens. The unintended consequences of cooperating with a government to beat back or contain insurgencies within their own borders really comes with a price tag. What I am saying is that we need to look at the price tag before we buy. /// END ACT /// Dalton West of the U-S Defense Department said the drug trade greatly complicates the battle against terrorism. The Taleban faction, which now controls most of Afghanistan, relies on heroin production because the country's economy, including its agriculture, has been wrecked by all the years of warfare. So Afghanistan attracts terrorists who thrive on the drug traffic. Even so, said Mr. West, direct U-S action is not likely to remove them: /// FIRST WEST ACT /// The moment we intervene, the nature of our intervention transforms the struggle from being the political or anti-drug or anti-terrorist activity into being a struggle against an invader. These problems, if they are to be resolved at all, have to be resolved internally where the United States plays an appropriate role as an outside power, not as one which can force a solution. /// END ACT /// The solution, said Mr. West, lies here in the United States, where the consumption of illicit drugs is a major problem. He believes a national campaign is needed comparable to the one against cigarette smoking: /// SECOND WEST ACT /// It is going to take long time. It is going to have to involve almost every significant social group from the American Medical Association to the psychiatric associations to the schools to the churches. This is a problem that will only be resolved if and when we all decide that we are going to stem it. /// END ACT /// Mr. West says Americans can deal a substantial blow to terrorism by giving up their drug habit. (Signed) NEB/ew/gm 27-Aug-1999 16:16 PM EDT (27-Aug-1999 2016 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America . Source: Voice of America .

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