Which Nations Are State Sponsors of Terrorism?

On 30 December 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a cable (subsequently released to the public by wikileaks) to America’s Ambassadors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, and Pakistan, headlined, “Terrorist Finance: Action Request for Senior Level Engagement on Terrorism Finance.” 

She told those Ambassadors to make clear to the given nation’s aristocrats that, under the new US President, Barack Obama, there would no longer be any allowance for continuation of their donations to Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups that attack the United States.

It opened, “This is an action request cable,” meaning that the operations of the local US Embassy in the given nation would be monitored for compliance with the Secretary of State’s “request.”

Clinton’s focus was:

on disrupting illicit finance activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the external financial/logistical support networks of terrorist groups that operate there, such as al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT). The IFTF’s [Interagency Illicit Finance Task Force] activities are a vital component of the USG’s [US Government’s] Afghanistan and Pakistan (Af/Pak) strategy dedicated to disrupting illicit finance flows between the Gulf countries and Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IFTF has created a diplomatic engagement strategy to assist in the accomplishment of this objective. The strategy focuses on senior-level USG engagement with Gulf countries and Pakistan to communicate USG counterterrorism priorities and to generate the political will necessary to address the problem. The IFTF has drafted talking points for use by all USG officials in their interactions with Gulf and Pakistani interlocutors. These points focus on funding for terrorist groups threatening stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan and targeting coalition soldiers. These points have been cleared through the relevant Washington agencies.

Although the named concern was “groups threatening stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the US Secretary of State was actually telling her agents (the Ambassadors) to warn the local aristocracy to stop funding the groups that pose a terrorist threat to the United States as well.

She was listing the actual countries that are State Sponsors of Terrorism and threaten the people of the United States and of other countries.

These confidentially listed State Sponsors of Terrorism were being listed as of 2009, which was 8 years after 9/11; and so, after eight years of George W, Bush’s being in the US White House, these were the nations that still were leading the world in the financing of the Sunni fundamentalist group Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, which were doing such attacks. 

This cable reviewed the existing situation regarding each one of the governments, and it included separate instructions to each of the Embassies:

Concerning Saudi Arabia:

While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority. …

Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide…

Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources. …

She noted that,

In 2002, the Saudi government promised to set up a Charities Committee that would address this issue, but has yet to do so. 

She instructed the US Ambassador there to:

encourage the Saudi government to take more steps to stem the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia-based sources to terrorists and extremists worldwide, 

and to,

encourage the Saudi government to take more steps to stem the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia-based sources to terrorists and extremists worldwide.

Concerning Qatar:

Qatar’s overall level of CT [Counter Terrorist] cooperation with the US is considered the worst in the region. Al-Qaida, the Taliban, UN-1267 listed LeT, and other terrorist groups exploit Qatar as a fundraising locale. Although Qatar’s security services have the capability to deal with direct threats and occasionally have put that capability to use, they have been hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the US and provoking reprisals. …

However, given the current focus of US engagement with the GOQ [Government of Qatar] on terror finance related to Hamas, it would be counter-productive for Embassy Doha to engage the GOQ at this time on disrupting financial support of terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [No explanation of that was provided, but one interpretation of it might be: Protecting Israel from Hamas was more important to the Obama Administration than was “disrupting financial support of terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”]

Concerning Kuwait:

Kuwait … has been less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks outside of Kuwait. Al-Qa’ida and other groups continue to exploit Kuwait both as a source of funds and as a key transit point. …

Clinton noted that though

Kuwait’s law prohibits efforts to undermine or attack Arab neighbors, … the GOK [Government of Kuwait] faces an uphill battle to implement comprehensive terror finance legislation due to a lack of parliamentary support. 

In other words: Kuwait’s aristocracy refused to donate to jihadist groups that attack themselves or the aristocracies of other “Arab” countries, but did contribute to jihadist groups which attacked non-Arab countries. Furthermore, the official reason why they did was that the parliament, which consists of people who are elected by the public, supported jihadists who attacked non-Arab countries. (Actually, when they supported jihadists trying to take over Syria, they were violating that rule, but only because those Sunni jihadists would be replacing a Shiite leader, Bashar al-Assad, who was, to them, even worse: he’s a non-sectarian Shiite, whose political party, the Ba’athist Party, is committed to a separation between church-and-state.)

The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung headlined on 25 April 2014, “Kuwait, ally on Syria, is also the leading funder of extremist rebels.”She reported that, “Last month, the administration decided to go public with its concerns… Such fundraising was not illegal in Kuwait until last year, when the government took advantage of an unrelated parliamentary boycott to push through a new law. Disappointingly, since then there has not been much vigor shown in implementing a ban on terrorist financing.”

DeYoung went on: “Unlike other monarchies and autocracies in the region, Kuwait’s politics are relatively open and combative. The executive branch, headed by Emir Sabah Ahmed al-Sabah, frequently clashes with a feisty parliament composed of warring political groups within both the Sunni majority and the Shiite minority. Unlike other Gulf countries, Kuwait allows broad freedom of association for its 2.7 million citizens, and Sabah’s rule is characterized more by political incorporation than confrontation.”

Secretary of State Clinton’s cable continued:

A particular point of difference between the US and concerns Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS). … providing financial and material support to al-Qa’ida. … In Kuwait, RIHS enjoys broad public support as a charitable entity. The GOK to date has not taken significant action to address or shut down RIHS’s headquarters or its branches.

So: whereas the Sabah family had been saved by America’s 1991 war against Saddam Hussein’s invasion and attempted takeover there, they didn’t crack down against Al Qaeda; they didn’t stop the funding to Al Qaeda. They “took advantage of an unrelated parliamentary boycott to push through a new law,” but, after the boycott ended, didn’t enforce the new law.

Concerning UAE:

UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups, including Hamas. 

Concerning Pakistan:

Pakistan’s intermittent support to terrorist groups and militant organizations threatens to undermine regional security and endanger US national security objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Pakistani senior officials have publicly disavowed support for these groups, some officials from the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organizations, in particular the Taliban, LeT and other extremist organizations. These extremist organizations continue to find refuge in Pakistan and exploit Pakistan’s extensive network of charities, NGOs, and madrassas. This network of social service institutions readily provides extremist organizations with recruits, funding and infrastructure for planning new attacks.

Those were the countries that, in private, the US Government recognized as being State Sponsors of Terrorism. All of them were being identified as funders of fundamentalist-Sunni groups who perpetrate terrorism upon the US and other countries.

The United States Government has an official list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism”, and only four governments are on it: Syria (as of 1979), Iran (as of 1984), Sudan (as of 1993), and North Korea (as of 2017). None of them is a fundamentalist-Sunni-led nation, and none of them has ever attacked, nor even threatened to attack, the United States of America. By contrast, fundamentalist-Sunni terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, which are primarily funded by the actual State Sponsors of Terrorism (mainly Saudi Arabia), have attacked the US Furthermore, on 6 September 2016, Asia News headlined “Conference in Grozny: Wahhabism exclusion from the Sunni community provokes Riyadh’s wrath” and reported that at the international Islamic conference in Grozny, jihadist sects were condemned by all Governments except Saudi Arabia’s, and that the only Government continuing to support the most extremist sect, Wahhabism, was Saudi Crown Prince Salman, the American regime’s closest ally.

Furthermore, in a secret 2014 court case in the United States, the financial bagman who had personally collected tens of millions of dollars for Al Qaeda during the years prior to Saudi Arabia’s 9/11 attacks, said there, under oath, that, “without the money of the — of the Saudi, you will have nothing” of Al Qaeda. And, yet, Saudi Arabia wasn’t even on the official list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” not at all. The US Government continues, to this day, to protect the royal Saud family, who own and control Saudi Arabia and its Government and who were the chief funder of the 9/11 attacks.

Consequently: On whose side is the Government of the United States of America? Is it on the side of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; or is it on the side of countries such as Iran and Syria — countries that the Sauds want to take over? And why does it lie (deceive), so much, calling “State Sponsors of Terrorism” countries such as Syria and Iran that are instead the chief enemies of the actual state sponsors of terrorism?

As I have previously documented, the only country that has any authentic reason to worry about terrorism that comes from Shiites, such as in (or that are backed by) Iran, is Israel. But is the US Government supposed to be representing and protecting the people in Israel, or instead to be representing and protecting the people in the United States of America? What’s actually behind the US Government’s systematic lying, against Shiites, and for Sunnis (especially Wahhabist ones) and Israel? And why is this US Government lying bipartisan — not Republican or Democratic, but both — at the very top of the US regime: the people who actually control both of America’s political Parties? Or do the American people actually not control the American Government? If not, then what should be done to the American Government, and why are such questions not being publicly debated and discussed, especially in the American press and among the American people? Is the US lockdown that complete? (This commentary is being submitted to all US newsmedia for publication, to get that essential public conversation in America started.)

Photo: Flickr


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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