MIDDLE EAST TERRORISM: THE THREAT AND POSSIBLE US RESPONSES

Created: 2/15/1985

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE

5

Middle Cast Terrorism: The Threat and Possible US Responses

Sy rl Middle te In vol vera? promoting reluctant retailat1 Palest1n1xiled po Palestlnl terrorism extensive

Libya, and Palestinian radicals also are major st sponsors o' terrorism. Libya regards US nth* region as the primary obstacle tc Arab military action against Israel, but Is to target the US directly because It fears US On. Unlike the Iranians and Libyans, Syria and the an radicals oo not focus on the US as their major nd most of their attacks are directed against their Htlcal opponents, moderate Arab states, or other an groups. Syria and Libya, like Iran, use as an Instrument of state policy and provide support for terrorists.

Iranian-sponsored terrorism It the greatest threatpersonnel and facilities In the Kiddle East. ran vie*.Washington's presence and InfluenceMiddle tast as major Impediments to successful exportrevolution and regard terrorismegitimatemethod of attacking the US. Mill continue and possibly Increase so long asIn Tehran do not perceive any significant costs 1n such operations.

Iran. Radicals In the Khomeini regime are committed to spreading their lslamTTTdeolOQy, and many clerics view terrorismegitimate, effective tool of state policy, particularly against the US position in the Middle fast. Iranian-backed attacks Increased by aboutercentnd the numbers killed in Iranian-sponsored attacks outpace fatalities In strikes by all other terrorist sponsors. Senior Iranian leaders such as Ayatollah Hontarert,eir-apparent. Prime Minister Husavl, and Consultative As^enbly speaker Raffanjanl arc implicatedeni-an terrorism, HkaWll o

Iran generally employs radical Lebanese or Iraqi Shia groups In Its terrorist operations. These groups Include:

The Islamic Front for the liberation of Bahrain that was responsible for an unsuccessful coup attempt In Bahrain

The Islamic Call (Oawa) Party, with branches in Iraq, Bahrain, and Kuwait, that has bombed the US Embassy and other targets in Kuwait and is responsible for bombings and assassinations in Iraq.

izballah and Kusayn Kusawi's Islamic Amal that operate in Lebanon and were behind the attacks on the US Embassy and trie US Marine barracks V3 as well as the rv>re recent kidnaping* c< several US citizens, femmnmi P

Tehran also can call on Individual sympathizers worldwide. Including scne In the US, to mount terrorist attacks. Iran provides, (ts surrogates with equipment, training, and

The most prominent trademark of Iranian-sponsored terrorismhe willingness of some perpetrators to die In the attempt. Iranian-sponsored Shia terrorists have carried out several car and truck bombings Inraq, and Kuwait. In ncariy every instance, the driver was killed, aij b 5

and Syria have long used terrorism as an Instrument of state policy. Both have used their operatives as well as surrogates to carry out operations. Syria was seriously embarrassed1 when Syrian military personnel sent to Jordan to assassinate the Prime Minister were captured and their confessions televised.

radical

camps in Syria and Lebanon

The Syrians provide weapons, travel documents, and Intelligence support for .operations by their surrogate groups and permit missions by Irantan-sponsored radicals In Lebanon.

provides funds and training to radicals worldwide, but generally avoids using Libyans to carry out operations against targets other than Libyan dissidents and selected pro-US heads of state. Qadhafl hires assassins and thugs when Libyan access to Us targetsimited or when he wants to conceal Libyan involvement.

The PalestiniarVAbu Nldal group--which isember of the PLO--rcaiam* the primary Palestinian organisation responsible (or terrorism. The

group once was supported by Iraq, which appears to have abandoned International terroriseear ago. Abu Nldal now depends on Syria and may undertake operations at Syrian direction. Several other radical Palestinian groups aligned with Syria also are Involved In terrorist operations in Lebanon, Israel, and the west Rank.'

b,

US Targets

do not believe the Syrians or the Palestinians would (fcllberately attack US targets unless US actions in Lebanon or on the Arab-Israeli issue

were perceived asirect. Immediate threat to them. The Syrians, however, have not moved forcefully to prevent Iranian-sponsored terrorism

against US targets In Lebanon. Syria condons Iranian transits through

Damascus Airport and use of Syrian-controlledtyrrltory In Lebanon's Bekaa

valley for terrorist-training activities,

During theas tried to sponsor

Os*ej-at1niis.^gainst-llSfacilities In LatinAfrica.

Libya also has publiclykilling of US personnelIn Lebanon,

joanatt threatened lasVoune'that he would "export to the US to retaliate for the "US-1nsp1red" attack on his headquarters by dissidents last May. Libyan capabilities will be constrained byenerany Inept foreign intelligence network. Us lack of an official presence In target countries, and fear of US retaliation.

Iran has amply demonstrated its willingness to hit US personnel and facilities. It is the cost likely state to try to strike additional high-profile US targris in the Kiddle fast to demonstrate the Inability ofUS to orotect lis interests, and to portray such attacks as actions by localpatriots." Potential Iranian or Libyan tarqets include"

jjfijjted facilities, notably In tne Persian GulfnU "BrTiBaghdad. Cairo, khartoum. Athens, and possibly fonts. Ihe Iranians and their radical 5hia allies In part (Cular ml oht. -ant to strike the Fmbessy In ftnlrut. to rtcmonstralc US Imnotcncc.ohdad. tous-Iraqi relations.

US military facilities In the Persian Gulf area. Examples Include facilities fit Bahrain or Oman supporting Tfs warships and the US Military Training Mission in Saudi Arabia.

dhafl might target US military facilities In Europe, such as the TO cruise missile base at Coral so in Sicily or the Helllnikon alrbase In Greece, to exploit local opposition to the US military presence.

Iran and possibly Libya are likely to try to strike inside the US if they have been, or believe themselves about to be, attacked directly by the US.

Original document.

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