The Brief: State Department Releases Country Reports on Terrorism
Report highlights important U.S. advances in countering terrorist organizations in 2019
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday presented the 2019 Annual Report on Terrorism.
Opening the presentation of the report at the State Department, the head of the US Foreign Office noted the importance that the current administration attaches to the fight against terrorism..
Pointing to the success of the United States in the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, Pompeo focused on the situation in Venezuela.
Secretary of State re-emphasizes the illegality of the Maduro regime.
The head of the State Department especially focused on the destructive role of Iran and the measures taken by the international community to curb the Tehran regime. At the same time, he noted the readiness of the United States to act if necessary and unilaterally..
Speaking about new sanctions against Iran, Pompeo expressed hope that the world community will understand their need.
Answering journalists’ questions about the situation in the Middle East and, in particular, in Lebanon, Pompeo stressed that the government of this country, showing the desire and ability to take action against Hezbollah, can count on the support of the United States.
Referring to relations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Secretary of State criticized the Palestinian leadership for blocking US efforts to establish dialogue between the parties.
At the end of the presentation, answering questions from the press, Nathan Sayles, Special Representative of the State Department for Combating Terrorism, highlighted US efforts against white supremacist organizations. In this context, Sales noted the sanctions imposed by the United States against the Russian extremist organization “Russian Imperial Movement”.
In 2019, the United States and its partners made great progress in the fight against international terrorist organizations, the State Department’s counterterrorism division said in a statement. So, in March, the United States and the international coalition to fight ISIS completed the destruction of the so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria..
However, despite these successes, terrorist threats still exist in the world, including from the Islamic State, the Iranian regime and its puppets, al-Qaeda and other organizations..
The State Department also recalls a number of key achievements in the fight against terrorism. So, in October last year, as a result of a US military raid in Syria, IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was eliminated. In April, the secretary of state designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its elite Quds unit, as a foreign terrorist organization. In September, President Trump ordered the most significant renewal of powers to list terrorist organizations since 9/11. Throughout the year, Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist organization by a number of governments in the Western Hemisphere and Europe..
The report also notes US efforts to address new and ongoing challenges such as the repatriation of foreign fighters, especially to Western Europe; expansion of branches and networks of IG in Africa; and the threat of racial or ethnic terrorism.
The section of the report on Russia notes that the fight against terrorism remains a priority for the country. Russia also remains a target for international terrorist organizations, especially IS. Small armed groups continue to operate in the North Caucasus despite counter-terrorism and consolidation efforts by the authorities.
The report also notes that Russia continues to use legislation in the field of combating terrorism and extremism against the political opposition, independent media and some religious organizations, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, using a broad interpretation of the concept of “extremism” to suppress freedom of speech, religion and associations.
I will follow