WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM?
IN recent years, this once-general term has taken on sharper meaning. As currently used, especially among Europeans, it refers to a fairly new phenomenon: terrorism perpetrated within one's own country by foreign groups, typically with the backing of a foreign government. Although the names vary, Europeans customarily distinguish among three kinds of terrorism: Nationalist terrorism carried out by Basques, Irish Republicans, Cypriots, Armenians, Algerians, and others who want, one way or another, their own homelands. This sort of terrorism has a long history.
Domestic terrorism growing up within the borders of a single nation and usually anarchic or Marxist in nature. It typically dates from the late 1960s. Examples include the Baader-Meinhof Gang and its successor, the Red Army Faction (RAF), in Germany; the Red Brigades in Italy; Direct Action in France; and the Fighting Communist Cells in Belgium. Another term, Euroterrorism, refers to the recent links forged among these groups for the purpose of attacking NATO, American, and domestic targets.
International terrorism, coming from groups sent by various state sponsors to attack third-party interests on foreign soil. This form of terrorism has been increasing in the last five years. Examples include the Libyan-sponsored attack on a West Berlin discoth`eque in April and an attempt a few weeks later, also by Libyan agents, to bomb a US military officers' club in Ankara, Turkey. In each instance, the targets were not German or Turkish but American.
European officials acknowledge that international terrorism depends on state sponsorship. They also point to some evidence of foreign support for indigenous groups: Soviet funds flowing through East Germany to the RAF, Libyan arms making their way to the Irish Republican Army, and Red Brigades terrorists training in Middle Eastern camps.
On the whole, however, most experts feel that indigenous terrorism has been largely self-sufficient -- robbing banks and supermarkets, or collecting ransoms from kidnappings to fund its operations, and training its own members close to home. AND WHO ARE THE BIG OFFENDERS? IRAN World's leading supporter of terrorism, which it openly espouses as a tool for spreading Islamic fundamentalism and reducing Western influence. Iran is heavily involved in Lebanon and supported Shiite terrorist bombings of the US Embassy and the Marine barracks in Beirut as well as an attack on the US Embassy in Kuwait. Iran reportedly trained the gunmen involved in the Rome and Vienna airport massacres last December. SYRIA Supports some of the deadliest Palestinian terrorist groups, such as that of Abu Nidal, to further the secular goals of President Hafez Assad. Syria directs terrorism against Western targets and Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the moderate Gulf States to thwart the Middle East peace process. It maintains training camps in Lebanon and is a major source of arms for terrorists. LIBYA Openly encourages terrorist groups to strike at Western and Israeli targets, to further Col. Muammar Qaddaffi's presumed plan for a new pan-Arabic order, with himself as head. Libya supplies money and arms to European and Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. It maintains training camps and networks of support systems through its embassies. SOVIET UNION Provides intelligence, weapons, funds, and terrorist training at facilities in the USSR and Eastern Europe. The Soviets also provide safe passage through East-bloc countries for terrorists moving into Western Europe. They also supply arms to terrorists via the state trading companies of Bulgaria (Kintex) and Czechoslovakia (Omnipol). NORTH YEMEN A deeply anti-Western ally of the Soviet Union. South Yemen has supplied training and safe haven for Palestinian groups since the late 1960s. Its political situation is uncertain since a coup attempt in January. NORTH KOREA Provides training, funds, and weapons to foreign terrorist groups. North Korea sells large quantities to arms to Iran and maintains links with Japanese terrorist groups. In 1983, its agents set off a bomb in Burma that killed 17 South Korean government officials. NICARAGUA Maintains strong links to the Soviet Union and Cuba and provides facilities for training terrorists, especially Latin American groups. Nicaragua is a haven for members of Palestinian organizations, Montoneros (Argentina), Tupamaros (Uruguay), ETA (Spain), and Red Brigades (Italy). CUBA Trains guerrillas and insurgents fighting in El Salvador and Honduras, as well as terrorists. Cuba is a main channel of supply for guns, funds, asylum, and training for terrorists, with Soviet backing.