Terrorism, the Future, and U.S. Foreign Policy [March 26, 2002]   [open pdf - 102KB]

"International terrorism has long been recognized as a foreign and domestic security threat. The tragic events of September 11 in New York, the Washington, D.C., area, and Pennsylvania have dramatically re-energized the nation's focus and resolve on terrorism. This issue brief examines international terrorist actions and threats and the U.S. policy response. Available policy options range from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to economic sanctions, covert action, physical security enhancement, and military force. […] A modern trend in terrorism is toward loosely organized, self-financed, international networks of terrorists. Another trend istoward terrorism that is religiously- or ideologicallymotivated. Radical Islamic fundamentalist groups, or groups using religion as a pretext, pose terrorist threats of varying kinds to U.S. interests and to friendly regimes. Some nations facing difficult challenges include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and, to a certain extent, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Looming over the entire issue of international terrorism is a trend toward proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). For instance Iran, seen as the most active state sponsor of terrorism, has been aggressively seeking a nuclear arms capability. Iraq is thought to be stockpiling chemical and biological agents. Also, indications have surfaced that the al Qaeda organization attempted to acquire chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. As a result, stakes in the war against international terrorism and its supporters are increasing and margins for error in selecting appropriate policy instruments or combinations of them to prevent terrorist attacks are diminishing correspondingly."

Report Number:
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB95112
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