That assertion has been discredited by authoritative / independent sources subsequent to the American occupation of Iraq, but some members of the Bush Administration - and others who support the administration - still contend that Iraq (prior to the American occupation) was a state sponsor of terrorism.
In another article published by the Council on Foreign Affairs, the writer explains that Saddam Hussein's regime has provided training camps, operating bases, headquarters and other kinds of support to terrorists groups that were fighting against the regimes in Turkey and in Iran, both countries which border Iraq. Also, during the Gulf War in 1991, it was explained in the Council on Foreign Affairs article, Saddam paid for several terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities, but those failed to be completed.
In the Bill Clinton Administration, there was a time when Saddam Hussein was accused of sponsoring (or planning, or providing support for) a potential act of terrorism. In an article published in the New Leader (Schorr, 1993) the author, then a CBS News reporter, explained that Clinton ordered a missile attack against Hussein's regime. The attack was retaliatory because allegedly Hussein had plotted to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush, while Bush was visiting Kuwait in April 1993. In the article, Schorr writes that Clinton's public position on the missile attack (aimed at Hussein's intelligence headquarters and apparently finding its target) was that it should be a warning to all states that sponsor terrorism.
Daniel Schorr also mentions that President Ronald Reagan attacked Libya five years into his presidency; the attack was in response to Libya's involvement in the bombing of a discotheque in Germany that U.S. military personnel were known to frequent. Again this is an incident of state-sponsored terrorism, and the American retaliation for that terrorism.
The State Department document alluded to in the first paragraph of this paper states that terrorist groups that do not receive state support have a much more challenging time finding the money, weapons, various materials and secure territory they need to carry out their various insidious operations. That is principally why terror groups seek state support. As to the implications for a country that is considered a state sponsor of terrorist activities, that country is blocked from receiving any U.S. aid, and that country may not engage in trade with any U.S. companies.
In his book, Chain of Command, author Seymour H. Hersh explains that Syria has been on the State Department's list of states supporting terrorism since 1979. Why? Syria has been providing money, weapons, and other important support for Hezbollah, a known terrorist group that was founded in Lebanon in 1982 following the take-over of Lebanon by Israel in 1982 (p. 335). Hezbollah took credit for the bombing of the American Marine base barracks in Beirut in 1983, which killed 241 Marines. Syria has not tried to hide its support for Hezbollah, and yet ironically, Syria, according to Hersh's book, has given information to the U.S. (CIA and FBI) regarding the activities of Al Qaeda after the bombings in the U.S. On September 11, 2001.
Hersh also writes (p. 336) that although Syria resents being on the U.S. list of states that support terror, Syria in fact has helped the U.S. avoid an Al Qaeda attack on the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. Al Qaeda was planning on flying a glider full of high explosives into a building at the Navy headquarters, but a tip from Syria - which has its own spies and intelligence networks - thwarted that attempted terrorism.
The Council on Foreign Relations is a non-partisan resource for information on foreign affairs; the Council takes the position that Cuba is probably not providing money or materials for terrorists in other countries. The Council on Foreign Relations' position, as stated in their Web site: (http://www.cfr.org/publication/9359/states_sponsors.html) asserts that while Cuba did in fact provide training and weapons to various communist rebel groups in Africa and Latin America in the late 1970s and early 1980s, intelligence experts now say they have virtually no evidence that Cuba is providing any state support to terrorist groups.
In 1998 a comprehensive review of Cuba's involvement or non-involvement in terrorist activities (or support for terrorists anywhere in the world) was conducted by the U.S. intelligence community (CIA, NSA, FBI). The report concluded that Cuba does not pose a threat to U.S. national security, which certainly suggests that Cuba no longer sponsors terrorism. Nevertheless, the Bush Administration feels for apparently political reasons that it must keep Cuba on the list; it is fairly clear that among the conservative constituents who helped Bush get elected are Cuban-Americans living in Florida. Bush would be going against a conservative block if he removed Cuba from the list. Politics always plays a role in foreign policy decisions.
Claire Miller of the Council on Foreign Affairs writes on November 11, 2003, that the biggest share of the money that went to fund the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. came from Saudi sources. In fact a great deal of the money that funds terror groups all over the world comes from Saudi Arabians, according to Miller's research article. That said, Miller makes clear that it did not officially come from the government of Saudi Arabia, hence the government is not on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror. It would be hard - even if there was evidence that official Saudi money supported terrorists directly - to convince the George W. Bush Administration to put the Saudi government on the list of state sponsors because Saudi oil is so very important to the U.S., the Saudis and Americans are considered allies (since the Saudis allowed the U.S. To build a big air base near the border with Iraq); and both Bush and his father, the first Bush president, have very close ties with the Saudi Royal Family.
As to whether or not any funding for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks came from the Saudi government, a Los Angeles Times investigative report (Meyer, 2003) claims that Saudis in the government did in fact support those acts of terror. A classified congressional report that journalist Josh Meyer had access to claims the Saudi government provided a great deal of money to the hijackers who flew planes into buildings on September 11, 2001. Also, the report asserts that high officials in the Saudi government have refused to cooperate with U.S. investigators, who suspect that support for various Muslim "charities" in the U.S. comes from Saudi government officials and funds radical Islamic activities.
Fifteen of the four hijackers who crashed planes into buildings on September 11, 2001, were Saudi citizens, according to Richard a. Clarke's book, Against All Enemies (Clarke, p. 244). Clarke was Clinton's top terrorism expert, and his work carried over into the Bush Administration. Clarke writes that by choosing to attack Iraq after 9/11, George W. Bush did something that most presidents would probably not do; instead, Clark insists that by invading Iraq - instead of trying to discover why young men of Islamic faith would commit suicide in order to kill Americans - Bush has made more young radical Muslims angry and pushed them into violence. Rather than trying to improve relations with the Islamic world, Bush chose to attack Iraq, a nation that, according to Clarke, had not been sponsoring terrorism, notwithstanding the crazy and arrogant actions Hussein obviously conducted in his own region.
The International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals (IACSP) claims that state sponsored terror has declined over the past few years and as it declines it is important for all nations that are against terrorist organizations to adopt a zero tolerance. That is to say, any acts even approaching terrorist acts must not be tolerated, and must be dealt with swiftly and powerfully. One nation that has been considered a possible sponsor of terrorists - or at least provides safe haven for terrorists - is Pakistan, according to IACSP (www.iascp.com).There are several well-known terrorist groups that are believed to be operating out of Pakistan, including al-Qaeda, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, and the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan. The U.S. is reluctant to name Pakistan as a country that sponsors terrorists, because the U.S. has certain accords with Pakistan, because Pakistan is very close to Afghanistan (where the Taliban still operates a large training grounds for terrorists), and because Pakistan has the atomic bomb and the U.S. would like to remain allies with Pakistan in that context.
According to an article in the journal Foreign Affairs, Al-Qaeda is more dangerous today than it was in 2001 (Riedel, 2007). And why is Al-Qaeda more dangerous today? The article states that the U.S. decided to go into Iraq rather than hunt down Al-Qaeda's leaders, who now have a solid base of operations in Pakistan, and has more power than ever in the Muslim world. It behooves leaders of the U.S. To spend time and resources in…