Thursday, April 29, 2004

TT: More on TT as a terrorist hub

A more comprehensive report from The Express.

Terrorism analyst Dr Angel Rabasa even listed a number of reasons why [this country was highly vulnerable to becoming a host to terrorist networks] ... as he addressed a meeting of businessmen and expatriates at the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) at the Hilton Trinidad yesterday.

Noting that one sign of potential terrorist activity was the movement of locals to study at Islamic institutions in countries such as Pakistan. Rabasa said Trinidad and Tobago was the only country in the Caribbean, and maybe the Western Hemisphere, to have experienced an episode of Islamic violence such as the attempted coup of 1990.

He added that there were reports of continued activities by elements suspected to be linked to terrorist organisations in this country.

Rabasa listed five reasons why countries in the Eastern Caribbean, especially T&T, were vulnerable to transnational crime and international terrorism.

He said, firstly, these countries lacked the resource base to develop robust internal security, law enforcement and intelligence capabilities.

Rabasa said the second reason was the strategic position of the region that has been called the third border of the US and a bridge between the cocaine-producing regions, such as Colombia, to mainland America. He said this created an avenue of access.

Thirdly, he said, there was the presence of terrorist groups in South America and the Government and the political movement of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Rabasa said the Chavez Government has flirted with rogue states like Libya, the defunct Saddam Hussein Government of Iraq and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

He said the Chavez regime has handed travel documentation to Middle Easterners with suspected links to extremist organisations.

Fourthly, Rabasa cited the presence of criminal networks and communities that provide support for extremist and terrorist networks.

"This creates opportunities for foreign extremists and terrorists groups to come in and recruit local operatives who may be familiar with the local situation and therefore more effective in enabling them to conduct support or other types of operations," he said.

He said the fifth reason included globalisation and the extent that the Eastern Caribbean was brought more closely into the international market.

"This is certainly the case of Trinidad, which is an English-speaking country with an excellent telecommunications infrastructure and direct flights to the United States and a major exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG) and host to a variety of US and international organisations," he said.

Rabasa added, "This creates a higher probability that the area would be incorporated into a terrorist network."

He noted that it was a difficult problem to be looking for signs of incipient terrorist activity because, by definition, it is covert.
Read the rest.

It is rather gratifying to have an international expert on terrorism sounding the same notes that we at CaribPundit have been repeatedly drumming. The only thing that Rabasa omitted from our calculus was Castro.

Now, what does Michael Burke, Jamaica Observer's rude bwoy without balls, have to say? Will he still pass out the KY and insist that Caribbean people bend over? Or, will he and other Caribbean columnists and editorialists 'fess up and admit that terrorism is also a Caribbean problem? More significantly, will Caricom have the good sense to draw closer to the Bush administration, which, in this hemisphere, is the only government with the balls to take the fight to terrorism with the intent to end it?

Terrorism is something about which Caricom must recognize they cannot engage in endless blather, nor can they delay decision-making on stratagems to address it. Caricom would have done well to abide by the old proverb, "when your neighbor's house burning, wet yours," instead of striking a French pose at Islamic terrorism and scornfully regarding GWB as a dimwit warmonger who is neither to be respected nor assisted.

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