Terrorism: Near Eastern Groups and State Sponsors, 2002 [Updated February 13, 2002] [open pdf - 329KB]
"The Al Qaeda terrorist network founded by Osama bin Laden is believed to pose a continuing, although diminished, threat to the United States at home and to U.S. interests and allies abroad following the network's defeat in its base in Afghanistan. The goal of Al Qaeda is to destroy high profile U.S. targets in order to end what Al Qaeda claims is U.S. suppression of Islamic societies. Throughout its history, Al Qaeda has sought to oust pro-U.S. regimes in the Middle East and gain removal of U.S. troops from the region. The United States, in the past, differed with its allies, particularly on how to deal with state sponsors of terrorism; most allied governments believe that engaging these countries diplomatically might sometimes be more effective than trying to isolate or punish them. The United States has generally been more inclined than its European allies to employ sanctions and military action to compel state sponsors and groups to abandon terrorism. Differences with allies have begun to reemerge as the Bush Administration expands its 'war on terrorism,' indicating it will seek to prevent the emergence of threats by regimes - some of which also have ties to terrorist groups - that are developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD)."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31119