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Yellow-Red Overseas Organization

Beginning on 19 April, several embassies and regional airlines in Bangkok, Thailand, received threatening letters by a group identified as the "Yellow-Red Overseas Organization." Threatening all alliance forces supporting the U.S. efforts in Iraq, the letters warned of attacks directed toward eight Asian countries. The group's announced attack window passed without incident, leading some to believe that the organization is rather small and non-affiliated with larger terror networks. Although Philippine authorities asserted that the group had Korean roots, other early intelligence assessments surmised that the letter's author is of Thai origin. Unless the group becomes affiliated with the al-Qaida or JI network, or is able to orchestrate an assault against U.S. interests, expect to hear little of the Yellow-Red Overseas Organization in the near future; however, other small organizations, looking for international exposure, may copy these types of threats as a means to contribute to global terrorism.

On 19 April 2003, Pakistani and South Korean embassies in Bangkok, followed by Korean Air, Philippine Airlines and Kuwait Airways offices there, received letters from a group identified as the "Yellow-Red Overseas Organization" warning of attacks at the embassies and airline offices. Addressed to "all U.S. alliance forces in Iraqi operations", the letter was typed in English and sent by regular mail from within Thailand and cited targets in Australia, Japan, Kuwait, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Malaysia was not on the list of targeted countries, but noted their concern and interest in following developments related to the group.

Mohammad M Salah (or Mohamed M. Sara), the letter's author, had threatened nerve gas attacks from 20-30 April, but none materialized. While the unknown group's threats were scrutinized closely, authorities in each country took measures to increase their readiness (most notably beefed up security at the embassies and airline offices and travel warnings) despite some skepticism of the group's credibility. At one point Thai officials said "we don't think they have the capacity to carry out their threat." Authorities in Thailand believe the group to have Thai connections, although no apparent links to the recent uprising in Thailand's south were noted. Based on their own intelligence review, the Philippine National Police asserted that the Yellow-Red Overseas Organization was of South Korean origin, but ROK officials quickly refuted the statements.

Despite the skepticism of the group's existence, prudent security measures were increased throughout the region in anticipation of the potential Sarin gas or other attacks. However, none of the U.S. supporters have indicated an increased willingness to withdraw troops from or deployment plans to Iraq based on loose terror threats in their respective homelands.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:41:35 ZULU