State Sponsors of Terrorism

What countries (aside from Iran) does the U.S. government classify as state sponsors of terrorism? This is a question that often leaves individuals perplexed, as most Americans can name one or two of these labeled nations without much hesitance, but beyond the well-known culprits are some interesting selections that some Americans may not be aware of. But before we take that trip – what does it mean to be classified as a “state sponsor of terrorism?”

According to the U.S. Department of State, this classifications is for…

…countries that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism as state sponsors of terrorism imposes four main sets of U.S. Government sanctions:

1) A ban on arms-related exports and sales. 2) Controls over exports of duel-use items, requiring 30-day Congressional notification for goods or services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country’s military capability or ability to support terrorism. 3) Prohibitions on economic assistance. 4) Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions (see this document for specifics on this)

Now that we’ve crossed that bridge, let’s discuss the culrits. First on the list is Cuba, who the U.S. claims has, “…continued to publicly oppose the U.S.-led coalition prosecuting the War on Terror.”

While Cuba’s own law (Law 93 to be exact) permits the authority to track down terrorists, seizing their assets and working to freeze their activities, Cuba has allegedly failed to act.

The Cuban government continued to permit U.S. fugitives to live legally in Cuba and is unlikely to satisfy U.S. extradition requests for terrorists harbored in the country.

Then, there’s Iran – a nation that has placed itself at the forefront of terrorist activity. Unfortunately, the Iranian government doesn’t consider actions associated with its hate for the Jews or horrific treatment of their own peoples as terrorist activities.

[Iran’s] Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hizballah, to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

And let’s not forget U.S. charges (despite ultraliberal avoidance and ignorance) of financial and weaponry support to militants embedded in Iraq. Such support, if truly as valid as it appears, has indefinitely resulted in the death of American troops in the region.

And who can forget North Korea? While this nation has been on the teror list for some time now, on Feb. 13, 2007, the U.S. government agreed that it would begin the process of removing it from the list. It should be noted that North Korea has not been noted to support any terrorist activity since the 1987 bombing of a Korean Airlines flight.

Speaking of beautiful destinations (cough, cough) Sudan is also on the list as well.

The Sudanese government was a strong partner in the War on Terror and aggressively pursued terrorist operations directly involving U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan. With the exception of HAMAS, the Sudanese government did not openly support the presence of extremist elements in Sudan. The Sudanese government took steps to limit the activities of these organizations.

The explanation is confounded, but officially speaking, Sudan still appears on the list.

…As does Syria:

The Syrian government continued to provide political and material support to Hizbollah and political support to Palestinian terrorist groups. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), HAMAS, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), among others, base their external leadership in Damascus.

On September 12, [2005], four Syrian nationals with alleged Islamist ties used grenades, guns, and a small truck bomb to launch an attack against the U.S. embassy in Damascus. All four of the assailants were killed as was a Syrian security officer who responded to the attack.

There you have it: The countries America deems state sponsors of terrorism. The aforementioned details were simply chosen highlights from a 2007 U.S. report. For other perspectives, feel free to look beyond the linked source.