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Department of State Publication 10239

Office of the Secretary
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.



Terrorism continued to menace civil society in 1994. Although international terrorism declined worldwide, there was an upsurge of attacks by Islamic extremist groups, including many aimed at undermining the Middle East peace process. The Clinton administration increased cooperative efforts with many nations to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Examples of serious acts of international terrorism in 1994 were:

  • The bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in July that killed nearly 100 persons.
  • The hijacking in December of an Air France jet by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, who are waging a massive campaign of terrorism against Algerians and foreigners in Algeria.
  • Attacks against foreign tourists by Islamic radicals in Egypt and by the PKK in Turkey.
  • The bombing of a Panamanian commuter aircraft that killed 21 persons.
Extremists opposed to the Arab-Israeli peace process dramatically increased the scale and frequency of their attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. More than 100 civilians died in these attacks in 1994.

This pattern of terrorism in 1994 reflects a trend in recent years of a decline in attacks by secular terrorist groups and an increase in terrorist activities by radical Islamic groups. These groups are a small minority in the Islamic world, and most Islamic countries, as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, have condemned religious extremism and violence. Nevertheless, terrorism in Islamic guise is a problem for established governments in the Middle East and a threat to the Arab-Israeli peace process.

There have been important positive developments as well in the fight against international terrorism:

  • Two radical Arab regimes long involved in sponsoring and supporting terrorism in the Middle East -- Libya and Iraq -- are isolated.
  • Iran, while still a major state sponsor of terrorism, is under considerable economic pressure.
  • The old Soviet Union, once a protector of radical terrorist states and organizations, is gone.
  • The conflicts in Northern Ireland and South Africa, regarded in the past as intractable, have also yielded to processes of peaceful settlement, and the main protagonists have halted the use of terror and violence as a political weapon.
  • Counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation among nations has grown, increasing the pressure on terrorists, and there is a growing international consensus that terrorism is beyond the pale.
  • The Arab-Israeli conflict, which has bred much terror and violence, has taken a historic turn toward resolution. Israel and the PLO have concluded an agreement on interim self-government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jordan has followed Egypt in making peace with Israel; other Arab states are establishing contacts with Israel; and Syria and Israel are engaged in a process of negotiations. Nevertheless, those opposed to the peace process dramatically increased their rear-guard terrorist campaigns in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza aimed at destroying the process.
US counterterrorism policy follows three general rules:
  • First, do not make deals with terrorists or submit to blackmail. We have found over the years that this policy works.
  • Second, treat terrorists as criminals and apply the rule of law.
  • Third, bring maximum pressure on states that sponsor and support terrorists by imposing economic, diplomatic, and political sanctions and urging other states to do likewise.
Because terrorism is a global problem, the Clinton administration is deeply engaged in cooperation with other governments in an international effort to combat terrorism:
  • US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have an active network of cooperative relations with counterparts in scores of friendly countries.
  • The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the Department of State conducts consultations on counterterrorism with many other governments. There are similar consultations in the G-7 and the European Union.
  • There are now 11 treaties and conventions that commit signatories to combat various terrorist crimes. The United States urges governments that have not signed and ratified these to do so promptly.
  • The Department of State's antiterrorism training assistance program has trained over 15,000 law enforcement personnel from more than 80 countries over 10 years in counterterrorism techniques.
  • The United States and other nations fund an active counterterrorism research and development program that strengthens our capability in such areas as plastic explosives detection.
  • Finally, the United States offers rewards of up to $2 million for information that leads to the prevention or favorable resolution of a terrorist attack against US persons.
Civilized people everywhere are outraged by terrorist crimes. The scars are long lasting, and there is no recompense for victims. But terrorists are a small minority, whose crimes, deadly as they are, cannot be allowed to intimidate the forces of peace and democracy. The message to terrorists from Americans and other free people and nations is that we are strong, vigilant, and determined to defeat terrorism.

Legislative Requirements

This report is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(a), which requires the Department of State to provide Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of Section (a)(1) and (2) of the Act. As required by legislation, the report includes detailed assessments of foreign countries where significant terrorist acts occurred and countries about which Congress was notified during the preceding five years pursuant to Section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (the so-called terrorism list countries that have repeatedly provided state support for international terrorism). In addition, the report includes all relevant information about the previous year's activities of individuals, terrorist groups, or umbrella groups under which such terrorist groups fall, known to be responsible for the kidnapping or death of any American citizen during the preceding five years, and groups known to be financed by state sponsors of terrorism.


No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance. For the purposes of this report, however, we have chosen the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). That statute contains the following definitions:
  • The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant(1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
    1 For purposes of this definition, the term ''noncombatant'' is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty. For example, in past reports we have listed as terrorist incidents the murders of the following US military personnel: Col. James Rowe, killed in Manila in April 1989; Capt. William Nordeen, US defense attache killed in Athens in June 1988; the two servicemen killed in the La Belle disco bombing in West Berlin in April 1986; and the four off-duty US Embassy Marine guards killed in a cafe in El Salvador in June 1985. We also consider as acts of terrorism attacks on military installations or on armed military personnel when a state of military hostilities does not exist at the site, such as bombings against US bases in Europe, the Philippines, or elsewhere.
  • The term "international terrorism" means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country.
  • The term ''terrorist group'' means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.
The US Government has employed this definition of terrorism for statistical and analytical purposes since 1983. In a number of countries, domestic terrorism, or an active insurgency, has a greater impact on the level of political violence than does international terrorism. Although not the primary purpose of this report, we have attempted to indicate those areas where this is the case.


Adverse mention in this report of individual members of any political, social, ethnic, religious, or national group is not meant to imply that all members of that group are terrorists. Indeed, terrorists represent a small minority of dedicated, often fanatical, individuals in most such groups. It is that small group -- and their actions -- that is the subject of this report.

Furthermore, terrorist acts are part of a larger phenomenon of politically inspired violence, and at times the line between the two can become difficult to draw. To relate terrorist events to the larger context, and to give a feel for the conflicts that spawn violence, this report will discuss terrorist acts as well as other violent incidents that are not necessarily international terrorism.

Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.
Coordinator for Counterterrorism

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Monday, 8 January 1996; Corrections, 20 February 1996