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Disrupting Terrorists

According to the U.S. State Department's recently released Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, international efforts are weakening al-Qaida.

Henry Crumpton is the U.S. Special Coordinator for Counterterrorism. He says there is evidence that al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are frustrated by their lack of direct control over terrorist operations:

"As demonstrated by the Zawahiri-Zarqawi correspondence of October. With these Afghan bases eliminated, with Pakistan reducing its safe haven along the border, and with global international cooperation constraining terrorist mobility, al-Qaida and affiliates are desperate to claim Iraq as their own. That is why Zarqawi fears a viable Iraqi nation and foments terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. This is why we and our allies along with the emerging Iraqi government, must deny Iraq to al-Qaida. We must maintain unrelenting pressure against al-Qaida."

Ambassador Crumpton says al-Qaida and its affiliated terrorist groups "are attacking what they fear most":

"The development of a global civic society, a society characterized by global networks of liberal institutions, free speech, democratic organizations, free market forces and the rule of law. . . .Tactical and operational counterterrorism battles will be won and lost, but we wage these battles in a global war within a strategic context. We must fight the enemy with precise, calibrated force to buy space and time to transform the environment and the conditions which terrorists exploit."

The war on terrorism, says Ambassador Crumpton, "is not the kind of war where you can measure success with conventional numbers or aspire for a single decisive battle that will break the enemy's will or hope for a signed peace accord. It is going to take us a long time to win this."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.