Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism
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- Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a branch of Iran's...[+]
- Hezbollah Hezbollah is a Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party based...[+]
- Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin...[+]
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
United States counterterrorism officials have said that despite major strides in combating and regaining territories from terror groups such as Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, the terror landscape has grown more complex.
“ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and their affiliates have proven to be determined, resilient and adaptable. They have adjusted to heightened counterterrorism pressure in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and elsewhere,” US Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Nathan Sales, said on Wednesday.
Ambassador Sales made the comments in a briefing to reporters on the release of the State Department’s 2017 ‘Country Reports on Terrorism’, which found that ISIS and Al-Qaeda have become more dispersed, turning to the internet to inspire attacks by distant followers, making them less susceptible to conventional military action.
Last year, the total number of terrorist attacks across the world decreased by 23 per cent while the total number of deaths caused by terrorism decreased by 27 per cent. Ambassador Sales explained that the main reason for the decrease is that the number of terrorist attacks and resulting deaths plummeted in Iraq.
Hitting out at Iran for leading others in supporting terrorism, Ambassador Sales elucidated, “Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining US interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan and in Lebanon, using a number of proxies and other instruments, such as Lebanese Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force.”
He added, “We have seen Iran’s and its proxies’ terrorist-related activities across the globe. There are active fundraising networks in places as far afield as Africa and in South America. We’ve seen weapons caches planted around the world. We’ve seen operational activity not just in Lebanon by Hezbollah, but by Iran-backed terrorists in the heart of Europe. Iran uses terrorism as a tool of its statecraft. It has no reservations about using that tool on any continent.”
Ambassador Sales also noted that while Al-Qaeda has not been in the spotlight as much as in the past, the terror group has been expanding its numbers.
“Al-Qaeda is a determined and patient adversary. They have largely remained out of the headlines in recent years as they’ve been content to let ISIS bear the brunt of the international response. But we shouldn’t confuse that period of relative quiet with al-Qaeda’s abandonment of its capabilities or intention to strike us and our allies.”