After busting terror plot, UK points fingers at Pakistan

11 04 2009

April 10, 2009 17:17 IST

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has asked President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] to do more to root out terrorism emanating from Pakistan’s territory after police in the UK arrested a dozen Al-Qaeda [Images] suspects, including 11 Pakistanis, over a “very big terrorist plot”.
“Prime Minister Brown telephoned President Zardari and the two leaders discussed matters relating to bilateral relations as well as the fight against terrorism,” 
Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in Islamabad [Images], without giving details.
However, Dawn newspaper reported that Brown raised concerns about links between terrorists in the UK and Pakistan and demanded ‘intensified efforts to crush militants’.
The telephonic conversation between Brown and Zardari follow resignation of the UK’s top counter-terrorism expert Bob Quick after a security blunder by the police officer, who inadvertently disclosed a covert surveillance operation against Al-Qaeda suspects, forcing premature raids by police who arrested 12 suspects, including 11 Pakistanis.
Earlier, Brown said in the UK that there are ‘links between terrorists in Britain and terrorists in Pakistan. That is an important issue for us to follow through.’
‘One of the lessons we have learnt is that Pakistan has to do more to root out terrorist elements in its country,’ Brown told Sky News.
Brown said the British police raids on Wednesday targeted those behind “a very big terrorist plot”, which authorities “have been following for some time”.
The cell was believed to have been planning to carry out attacks during the Easter holidays.
Brown also sought Pakistan’s help in probing the terrorist plot — in which the 12th suspect arrested was a Briton with roots in the tribal areas while the 11 Pakistanis were in the UK on student visas.

British media reported that the mastermind of the terrorist cell was believed to have been Rashid Rauf, an Al-Qaeda suspect who was implicated in several other plots. He was reportedly killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan last year.
Al-Qaeda operatives in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region were highlighted as one of the major security threats confronting Britain in its government’s counter-terrorism strategy published last month.
Spokesman Babar said Brown and Zardari also discussed US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas and the fragile peace deal in the restive Swat valley. They also agreed to meet soon, he said.

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The 28,000 victims of terrorism

8 04 2009
July 7, 2005
Source: Timesonline

New figures show dramatic increase in global attacks

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THERE were nearly 3,200 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, the Bush Administration said yesterday, using a broader definition that increased fivefold the number of incidents that Washington had previously tallied for 2004.

In figures published in April, the US State Department said that there were 651 significant international terror incidents, with more than 9,000 victims.

But under the newer, less-stringent definition of terrorism, which counts domestic attacks without an international element, the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) reported 3,192 attacks worldwide, with 28,433 people killed, wounded or kidnapped.

Iraq, with 866, had the most attacks against civilians and other non-combatants, according to the report. Under the April figures, Iraq was considered to have suffered 201 attacks in 2004.

The new tally included attacks on Iraqis by Iraqis, a category previously excluded because it was not considered international terrorism. But attacks against coalition forces were omitted, because soldiers are considered combatants. Insurgent attacks on Iraqi police, deemed non-combatants, were included.

The Bush Administration’s terrorism figures have been the subject of repeated controversies. Last year the State Department withdrew its annual report on global terrorism after claiming that terrorism incidents had been declining for three years and that 190 cases reported in 2003 represented the lowest total since 1969.

American officials trumpeted the report as evidence that the US was winning the War on Terror. But the document was found to be full of errors, and officials acknowledged that it had vastly understated the number of attacks.

This year the State Department decided not to publish the terrorism figures in its annual report. It handed the responsibility to the new NCTC. John Brennan, its interim director, said that the methodology that produced the April statistics was so flawed that the numbers were unreliable.

For example, when Chechen rebels blew up two airliners over Russia in near- simultaneous attacks last year, only one attack was counted under the old system.

On board one aircraft were 46 Russians. The other had 43 Russians and one Israeli civilian, a foreign citizen. That allowed only the second attack to meet the criteria for international terrorism, which under the old system required terrorists to claim at least one citizen from another country among their victims.

According to the NCTC figures, America suffered only five terrorism incidents last year, which included an arson attack in Utah for which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Mr Brennan said that the low number of attacks on US soil reflected the good job that the Bush Administration has done in protecting the US homeland. But he noted that many attacks overseas are aimed at American and Western interests. According to the report, only 19 per cent of terrorist incidents last year were attributable to Islamic extremists.

A quarter were recorded as secular or political attacks, but it said that the motives for 56 per cent remain unknown. Asked how the NCTC distinguishes between freedom fighters and terrorists, Mr Brennan said that the centre’s database is not “black and white and perfect”.





A new dimension of suicide terrorism

6 04 2009

A new dimension of suicide terrorism

M Abdul Vasiq Eqbal

After the successful escape of the Liberty Square attackers it was being assumed that Lahore has to face another attack in the same way, but right in the nursery of protectors was unexpected. Around 900 trainees and staff personnel were there when the “Suicide Attack” was launched. This brazen attack has given totally new dimension to the phenomenon of suicide terrorism. High value targets are no more accessible through the single perpetrator as they cannot penetrate within the security establishments blocked by barriers and security checks. Ramming vehicles is also not a worthy solution to this as it can damage the building infrastructure and that’s it. Police Training School was a “gold mine” of security personnel which were not even completely trained. Assailants were clearly ordered to kill themselves before getting caught; and out of one dozen four blew themselves up. However, two of them have been apprehended and rest of them managed to runaway in the police uniforms. They were aware that their target is place of no-return, reinforcements would be called up and even if they would use hostages to get an escape way, they would be chased till their den, still they came and did what they were indoctrinated to do. But why Police Academy was targeted? Question to this answer is that academy was located at the outskirts of the city neighbouring Manawan viallage, an urban locality just few miles away from the border line of India. Police training school is located in a city which is strategically very important and historical as well, this was the mightiest reason for the perpetrators to encircle the police training school on the map. Other reasons could be “pre-gauged” inadequate security measures and densely populated area which could provide them hindrance or easy escape way. Despite the current security situation and given warnings of Corps Commander Lahore, nothing was done to preempt the attacks. We are well aware of the ill-equipdness, inadequate training and limited resources of the police. With this kind of infrastructure they cannot maintain the law and order in the country but can just exist. Condition of the attacked police school, especially the rear side of the building clearly demonstrated the capability of police to face such kind of incidents, through the media. There were some reports in the media that according to post-event accounts of some eye-witnesses, assailants had also taken control of the arms store inside and due to that, security guards at the main gate ran out of bullets and could not resist for long. Albeit the precious lives of the policemen had been lost and number of them wounded and traumatized, Eight hours long battle is too short which has resulted in the capturing of two perpetrators which is enough to tail the storming brain. But on the contrary it is too long if the time was consumed to take the help of other security agencies through the systematic rules of engagement. Coordination of all the four agencies was praised in the media, but unfortunately one thing was neglected. If calling up army was the ultimate solution then why rangers and elite groups were mobilized to the location?

Displacement of entire security structure could have provided another and open battlefield to the “unseen” hand. If rangers were their just to cordon off the area, then I think our police can do this at least. Elite members were waving their weapons on the rooftop of the building after capturing the lost castle, the way they were moving in and out around the area, their body language was depicting the level of their training and the way they were raised up from within the existing police structure. Regular police personnel were also there, on the same scene but their inability to retaliate quickly and wisely, on such kind of assaults were in their demeanor. Do we have any contingency plan to face such kind of situation? Pakistani security forces are being attacked since Pakistan started the operation against al-Qaeda and Taliban in FATA, Swat and Waziristan. Police, the first defence line of civilian and government infrastructure has suffered the most in the country and particularly in Lahore, suicide attack at Lahore high court, another attack in front of Allama Iqbal town police station and recently on the Sri Lankan cricket team were the examples to hit the civilian security agency. A unified contingency plan for all the security agencies should be defined regardless of their type and style of working, whether they are from civilian or military setup. A well-established line of communication and chain of command that who will assist who, when, where, how and through what? A worst case scenario should be constituted to manage such kind ofhappenings. We are still onboard and the ship of war against terrorism is facing storm of Taliban but we cannot rule out our other rivals. Enemy of my enemy is my friend, quote goes with the time we are living in. Pre-defined set of rules, applicable anywhere in the country will provide basic platform to minimize the response and rescue time. It would decrease the damage and increase the chances of success simultaneously. The sooner the formation, the greater the fruitfulness, “a stitch in time saves nine”.

The author can be reached at: vasiq.eqbal@gmail.com





Editorial: Counter-terrorism in a divided land

6 04 2009

Sorce DAWN NEWS

The suicide-bomber who killed eight Frontier Constabulary men on Margalla Road in Islamabad two days ago was successful because the man appointed as guard in the camp thought he could leave his post during meals. In 2008, the truck that blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad had taken the heavily guarded “high-security” Margalla Road because the security force stationed there thought it could leave its positions to break the Ramadan fast. In both cases the force knew that an attack was imminent.

The state can multiply the police force manifold but unless the quality of its recruits is raised, counter-terrorism strategy will be a failure. Pakistan can get any amount of money if it wants to raise the quality of its security forces through better salaries and higher educational qualification. In Lahore at Manawan the police recruits said that they were not even properly fed during training. Only an educated and “rational” security person will know that he can’t leave his post during meals and that his religion allows him relaxation of namaz and fasting during a life-and-death emergency.

Today the fact is that Baitullah Mehsud can attack a Friday congregation in a mosque and still be trusted as a “good Muslim” by sections of the population and media but the security forces cannot be relied upon to prevent their faith from becoming an impediment in the fight against terrorism. When Baitullah Mehsud says he has not done a certain act of terrorism, he is believed, adding to the deception and savagery of the violence done in the name of Islam. The latest proof of his strategy of false propaganda came when he claimed the killing of 13 innocent people at a New York immigration centre this week. The killer was in fact a Vietnamese.

It has been observed in the wake of 9/11 that Muslim terrorists find it easier and strategically useful to attack and kill Muslims. Mounting a terrorist attack in the US after 2001 and in the UK after 2005 has been difficult. Attempts made by Al Qaeda since then have been unsuccessful although the terrorists succeeded in coming to Pakistan and taking their training and indoctrination here. Killing Muslims in Muslim lands produces sympathy rather than fear and loathing. Fundamentally it is public fear and loathing which leads to better counter-terrorism efforts. This has been proved by unsuccessful Al Qaeda attempts in the US, Europe and Russia.

As terror becomes widespread in Pakistan — another incident happened Saturday when some JUI activists closed down a dancing event in Larkana, and on Sunday morning at an Imam Bargah in Chakwal — sympathy for the terrorists has arisen in Lahore instead of declining. Sympathetic terrorist incidents aimed at closing down theatres and music shops have increased. The video showing the lashing of a 17-year-old girl has united civil society but divided the media and the intelligentsia. At least two leading journalists of a major newspaper group have illustrated the dilemma of a nation trapped in terrorism it can’t clearly define in moral terms.

Reacting to the Pakistan-wide condemnation of the Swat Taliban, the chief reporter of the said group warned that the nation was “thinking like America” and referred to Sura Nisa to prove that the whipping punishment meted out in Swat was right. By ignoring the question of “authority” — a fundamental condition under Islam — he asked the nation to accept the legal status of whoever it was who ordered the whipping. Another TV anchor who does a popular “monologue” programme pointed out that the Swat whipping had brought the “humanist-Islamic” divide in Pakistan. A pro-Taliban leader in Swat also said on TV that the “roshan khayal” (enlightened) elements of the country were aligned with America and their NGOs were leading the assault against Islamic values.

Despite the nation-wide condemnation, the whipping incident is gradually becoming victim of the national division over terrorism. Are we being killed because we are fighting America’s war; or are we dying because the terrorists want to take over the country? The media is heavily tilted along with the opposition politicians in favour of the first cause. Civil society is being heavily influenced by the TV channels and is becoming vulnerable to the rhetoric of retired army officers who say terrorism can’t be fought and the correct policy is to fight the Americans out of Afghanistan instead of fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban out of Pakistan.

Terrorism has to be fought, if not as terrorism than as a law and order problem. If the state wants to survive it must raise a strong security force that will face the terrorists and lay down the law. *

Second Editorial: Uniting to kill Baitullah Mehsud

According to a reported intelligence source, “Pakistan and the US have agreed to stage a joint operation to kill local Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud”. The effort will include intelligence from Pakistan about Mehsud’s movements, with the aim of guiding a missile attack from an American drone. It is said that it took Pakistan time to persuade Washington to target Mehsud and abandon its earlier drone policy of not attacking elements who are not directly involved in raids across the Durand Line.

The Americans have likely agreed to cooperate on Mehsud after twice ignoring precise triangulation of Mehsud’s movement by Pakistan. The earlier American policy of letting Mehsud wreak havoc in Pakistan was flawed. His men literally drove NATO supply logistics out of Pakistan by attacking the truck convoys outside Peshawar. His men also spread from Khyber to Orakzai to Kurram and were able to increase Mehsud’s capacity to challenge America in Afghanistan and, finally, inside the United States. He is in his early 30s and dangerous precisely because he has acquired power without the maturity to use it judiciously. Before he goes down, he is bound to do a lot of damage to both Pakistan and America.

What Baitullah Mehsud is doing together with his master organisation Al Qaeda is global terrorism. If he is killing Pakistanis today, tomorrow he will be killing others all over the world. Pakistan can tackle him but lacks the technological capacity and funds to prepare itself for the job. It is joined with the advanced nations of the world in the fight against global terror, more or less like it is united with the world against such endemic diseases as polio and smallpox. Had Pakistan refused to join the world against the latter two diseases, a large percentage of its population would have died by now. *





Lahore siege ends

30 03 2009

Lahore: Heavily armed terrorists gunned down at least 22 policemen, including eight officers, and injured 90 others as they stormed into police training centre near Lahore on Monday, barely a month after the brazen attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in this city.

The nine-hour hostage drama at the police training academy at Manawan near Lahore ended on Monday afternoon with police officials claiming to have killed or arrested all the attackers.

All the arrested terrorists have been taken to an unknown location.

Lobbing grenades and opening indiscriminate fire, the terrorists, said to number between 10 and 16, struck the academy as trainees prepared for the morning drill, killing guards at the gate and later holed up inside with hostages.

Authorities clamped curfew and called in Army and paramilitary rangers, who along with police, laid siege to the sprawling complex where an estimated 800 unarmed policemen were present.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that four terrorists were shot dead in the gunbattle.

But some reports also claimed that one terrorist managed to escape from the academy.

TV channels showed Pakistani commandos involved in the gunbattle with the terrorists celebrating on the rooftop of the academy building and firing in the air from their assault rifles.

Earlier, two attackers were reportedly shot dead while one suspected terrorist involved in the attack was arrested.

The death toll in the deadly strike stood at 20 while the number of injured was about 150.

Helicopters and armoured carriers were deployed by the security forces to monitor the situation inside, which authorities described as a hostage crisis.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said the suspicion in the attack was on Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e Mohammad as intermittent firing and sounds of explosions continued to emanate from the centre.

While Malik said the attack bore resemblance to the Mumbai terror strikes, former Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub said it “is similar to the one on the Sri Lankan team”.

“It is the same type of people and same style of operation,” he said.

Prior to the attack, which started between 7-8 am, a series of at least five blasts were heard at the training centre at Manawan, located near the Wagah land border.

The explosions were followed by an exchange of fire between the attackers and policemen that continued for over two hours.

Most of the casualties occurred near the gate of the centre when the terrorists lobbed several grenades as they launched their attack and then fired indiscriminately.

Deputy Inspector General (Investigation) Mushtaq Sukhera told PTI that 850 recruits were present in the centre at the time of the attack.

Policemen and Pakistan Rangers, including snipers, had taken up positions on rooftops of buildings adjacent to the centre, Sukhera said.

Lahore Police Commissioner Azam Suleman said 34 people have been admitted to the hospital.

“I cannot say anything about the number of dead and do not want to speculate anything. It is an emergency situation right now,” he said.

An emergency was declared in all hospitals in Lahore and a red alert was sounded in the city.

Eyewitnesses, who escaped the carnage, said that militants clad in police uniforms and carrying backpacks, had entered the training centre and took up positions in several buildings and exchanged fire with the security forces.

M Latif, a recruit who escaped from the centre with a dozen colleagues, told PTI the policemen were busy training when the terrorists stormed the centre and threw grenades and opened fire.

A visibly shaken Latif said many recruits, all of whom who were unarmed, were still inside the centre.

Another recruit named Jehangir, who was injured, said he had seen about eight terrorists enter the centre and spray bullets at policemen. “A number of my colleagues fell as they were hit by bullets. Then blasts occurred. Everyone was running for their lives and I was hit by a bullet in my left arm,” he said.

Hundreds of policemen, including members of an elite anti-terrorism squad, surrounded the centre and cordoned off the nearby area. Police also fired teargas at the attackers as helicopters were used for aerial surveillance.

Dramatic footage aired by TV channels showed bodies of several policemen strewn across the ground. Dozens of policemen scaled a wall to escape from within the centre.

Police used armoured vehicles to bring the dead and injured out of the centre after rescue workers were unable to approach them because of the firing.

Lahore has witnessed several terrorist attacks since last year, including an assault on Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 that left eight persons dead and over 20 injured. Suicide bombers also struck at the Federal Investigation Agency office and a naval college in Lahore last year.





CHRONOLOGY OF MAJOR TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST U.S.

1 03 2009

source: terrorism project

Also click here for significant terrorist incidents on US

September 11, 2001 – Terrorists hijack four U.S. commercial airliners taking off from various locations in the United States in a coordinated suicide attack. In separate attacks, two of the airliners crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, which catch fire and eventually collapse. A third airliner crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, causing extensive damage. The fourth airliner, also believed to be heading towards Washington, DC, crashes outside Shanksville, PA., killing all 45 people on board. Casualty estimates from New York put the possible death toll close to 5,000, while as many as 200 people may have been lost at the Pentagon crash site.

Oct. 12, 2000 – A terrorist bomb damages the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39.

Aug. 7, 1998 – Terrorist bombs destroy the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi, 12 Americans are among the 291 killed, and over 5,000 are wounded, including 6 Americans. In Dar es Salaam, one U.S. citizen is wounded among the 10 killed and 77 injured.

In response, on August 20 the United States attacked targets in Afghanistan and Sudan with over 75 cruise missiles fired from Navy ships in the Arabian and Red seas. About 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from warships in the Arabian Sea. Most struck six separate targets in a camp near Khost, Afghanistan. Simultaneously, about 20 cruise missiles were fired from U.S. ships in the Red Sea striking a factory in Khartoum, Sudan, which was suspected of producing components for making chemical weapons.

June 21, 1998 – Rocket-propelled grenades explode near the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

July 27, 1996 – A pipe bomb explodes during the Olympic games in Atlanta, killing one person and wounding 111.

June 25, 1996 – A bomb aboard a fuel truck explodes outside a U.S. air force installation in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 U.S. military personnel are killed in the Khubar Towers housing facility, and 515 are wounded, including 240 Americans.

Nov. 13, 1995 – A car-bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills seven people, five of them American military and civilian advisers for National Guard training. The “Tigers of the Gulf,” “Islamist Movement for Change,” and “Fighting Advocates of God” claim responsibility.

April 19, 1995 – A car bomb destroys the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding over 600.

February 1993 – A bomb in a van explodes in the underground parking garage in New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and wounding 1,042.

Dec. 21, 1988 – A bomb destroys Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 are killed including 189 Americans, as are 11 people on the ground.

As a result, two Libyan intelligence officers are charged with planting the bomb. They are eventually turned over by the Libyan government and tried. The trial, conducted in the Netherlands under Scottish law, begins in May 2000 and ends in February 2001. Abdelbaset Al Mohmed al-Megrahi is convicted and receives a life sentence. The other defendant, Al-Amin Khalifah Fhimah is acquitted.

April 1986 – An explosion damages a TWA flight as it prepares to land in Athens, Greece. Four people are killed when they are sucked out of the aircraft.

April 5, 1986 – A bomb destroys the LaBelle discotheque in West Berlin. The disco was known to be frequented by U.S. servicemen. The attack kills one American and one German woman and wounds 150, including 44 Americans

In response, on April 15 the United States retaliated in an operation dubbed “El Dorado Canyon.” Approximately 100 aircraft were launched in direct support of the raid. It was an attack against military targets involving land-based bombers from Great Britain together with carrier-based air strikes from ships in the Gulf of Sidra.

On Nov. 13, 2001 a German court convicted four people for the bombing. Verena Chanaa, a German national, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison for selecting the site of the attack and placing the bomb. Yassir Chraidi, a Palestinian working at the Libyan Embassy and suspected of being the main organizer of the attack, was convicted of multiple counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 14 years. Two other embassy employees, Musbah Abdulghasem Eter, a Libyan, and Ali Chanaa, a Lebanese-born German and Verena Chanaa’s former husband, were both convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years. Libya has refused to extradite five other suspects sought by German police, including members of the Libyan secret service.

December 18, 1985 – Simultaneous suicide attacks are carried out against U.S. and Israeli check-in desks at Rome and Vienna international airports. 20 people are killed in the two attacks, including four terrorists.

November 24, 1985 – Hijackers aboard an Egyptair flight kill one American. Egyptian commandos later storm the aircraft on the isle of Malta, and 60 people are killed.

October 7, 1985 – Palestinian terrorists hijack the cruise liner Achille Lauro (in response to the Israeli attack on PLO headquarters in Tunisia) Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly, wheelchair-bound American, is killed and thrown overboard.

August 8, 1985 – A car bomb at a U.S. military base in Frankfurt, Germany kills two and injures 20. A U.S. soldier murdered for his identity papers is found a day after the explosion.

June 19, 1985 – In San Salvador, El Salvador, 13 people are killed in a machine gun attack at an outdoor café, including four U.S. Marines and two American businessmen.

June 14, 1985 – TWA flight 847 is hijacked over the Mediterranean, the start of a two-week hostage ordeal. The hijackers, linked to Hezbollah, demand the release of prisoners being held in Kuwait as well as the release of 700 Shiite Muslim prisoners being held in Israeli and Lebanese prisons. U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem is killed and 39 passengers are held hostage when the demands were not met. The passengers are eventually released in Damascus after being held in various locations in Beirut.

April 12, 1985 – A bomb explodes in a restaurant near a U.S. air base in Madrid, Spain, killing 18, all Spaniards, and wounding 82, including 15 Americans.

November 1984 – A bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia kills a passer-by. The attack was preceded by death threats against U.S. officials by drug traffickers.

September 20, 1984 – A truck bomb explodes outside the U.S. Embassy annex in Aukar, northeast of Beirut. The ambassador is injured and 24 people killed, two of whom were U.S. military personnel.

March 16, 1984 – CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley is kidnaped by militant Islamic extremists in Lebanon. He is said to have died after prolonged torture. His body was found on December 27, 1991 in southern Beirut, nearly eight years after his abduction.

December 12, 1983 – Shiite extremists bombed the French and U.S. Embassies in Kuwait, killing 6 and injuring over 80 people. The suspects were thought to be members of Al Dawa , a group supported by Iran and known for operating against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

October 23, 1983 – A suicide car bomb attack against the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut kills 241 servicemen. A simultaneous attack on a French base kills 58 paratroopers.

In response, President Ronald Reagan ordered the battleship USS New Jersey, stationed off the coast of Lebanon, to shell the hills near Beirut.

April 18, 1983 – A suicide car bombing against the U.S. embassy in Beirut kills 63, including 17 Americans.

November 4, 1979 – Fundamentalist Islamic students took 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.

In response, in April 1980, President Jimmy Carter authorized “Operation Eagle Claw,” a military mission to free the hostages. The mission involved eight USMC RH-53 helicopters, 12 airplanes and personnel who were to be transported from a carrier in the Pakistan Gulf to a point outside Tehran, where they were to spend the night and resume rescue operations the following morning. The operation involved refueling the helicopters at a spot in the Iranian desert dubbed “Desert One.” The operation was aborted April 25 after three of the eight helicopters suffered mechanical failures and one of the helicopters collided with a refueling plane, killing five Air Force personnel, three Marines and injuring dozens. The hostages, after spending 444 days in captivity, were released unharmed just hours after Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.

Christopher Hellman
CDI Senior Analyst
chellman@cdi.org

Victoria Garcia
CDI Research Assistant
vgarcia@cdi.org





100-day anti-terror plan gets green signal

24 02 2009

Source: Indian Express , India
Maneesh Chhibber
Posted: Feb 23, 2009 at 0323 hrs IST

New Delhi: A 100-DAY plan to make the country a safer place is ready and sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) say P Chidambaram has already ordered its implementation. The go-ahead was given at a high-level meeting chaired by him on Friday.

The plan was one of the first things that Chidambaram told bureaucrats to work upon after assuming charge as Home Minister of the country, after the Mumbai Terror attacks. His lead probably came from the speech of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a conference of state police chiefs recently, in which he suggested a 100-day plan to develop an integrated mechanism to fight terrorism and Naxalism.

The Indian Express was provided exclusive access to the blueprint of what is the biggest-ever exercise undertaken by the MHA to counter terrorism and give more firepower to the forces and other agencies.

Among other things, the plan aims to secure the country’s porous borders, make the state and central police forces better equipped to counter foreign terrorists and Naxalites, construct more roads along the India-China and India-Pakistan borders, develop more integrated border check-posts and immigration checks posts, fully activate the newly set-up National Investigation Agency by May 31, amend the Official Secrets Act, launch more operations in Naxalite-affected areas, operationalise the four new National Security Guard hubs and provide more personnel and better arms to the CRPF and SSB.

Under the plan, the scheme for flood-lights for 2,840 km of Indo-Bangladesh border would be completed by January 20, 2012. This, the ministry, hopes would help check inflow of illegal Bangladeshis.

The ministry is also seeking the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for constructing 509 border outposts — 383 on the Indo-Bangladesh border and 126 on the Indo-Pakistan border.

To secure the coasts, the MHA plan provides for inducting the first batch of 24 interceptor boats by April. These would include 12 boats each of 12 tonne and five tonne capacity. Sources said the ministry had already started working on updating the standard operating procedure (SOP) for terrorist outrage under its crisis management plan. As part of this revamp, it also intends to upgrade the MHA control room.

To counter Naxalism, the ministry is reviewing its guidelines for incentives for surrender and rehabilitation of Naxalites under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme. It has also decided to include the Khunti and Ramgarh districts of Jharkhand in this scheme. Anti-Naxal operations have already been launched in Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) and Kanker (Chhattisgarh).