29 October 2003
Increased Cooperation Needed to Combat Transnational Terrorism
State's Matthew Daley's remarks to House panels
International efforts are needed to combat the transnational threat
of terrorism, says Matthew P. Daley, deputy assistant secretary
of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
"The new terrorism all of us face is transnational. Thus, defending
ourselves demands unprecedented international cooperation," Daley
said in testimony delivered October 29 to two House of Representatives
International Relations subcommittees.
"Just as terrorists work together to move men, materiel and money
across borders, coordination with our allies, partners and friends
is essential to prevent terrorists from slipping through the cracks
between national authorities and, indeed, within some countries," he
said. "Thus, diplomacy is the bedrock on which intelligence, law
enforcement, financial and, in specific cases, military cooperation
against terrorism, has expanded in East Asia.
"We continue to be impressed," Daley said, "by the depth of the
links that connect Southeast Asian terrorists with their counterparts
inside and outside the region."
He presented as an example a cell of the Southeast Asian regional
Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which was recently dismantled
in Karachi, Pakistan, saying: "We are not confident that we have
yet identified all the tentacles of the terrorist networks or the
boundaries to their presence and influence. "
According to Daley, Southeast Asian states have come a long way
in just the last two years in developing effective, cooperative
strategies against international terrorism. At the same time, he
said, they continue "to wrestle with demands to strengthen democracy
and restore prosperity after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98."
Following is the text of Daley's testimony:
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on International Relations
Subcommittees on Asia and the Pacific, and on
International Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Human Rights
Testimony by Matthew P. Daley
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Department of State
October 29, 2003
U.S. Counter-terrorism Policy for East Asia and the Pacific
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittees, I
appreciate the opportunity to meet with you. The President has
just returned from East Asia, where he met with our Asian allies
and partners in the war against terrorism, not just at the APEC
Summit in Thailand but also during his visits to Japan, the Philippines,
Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.
In East Asia and the Pacific, counter-terrorism moved to the top
of our foreign policy priorities after September 11. Southeast
Asia, home to more than 200 million Muslims, is threatened not
only by Al-Qaida but also by regional terrorist organizations such
as the Jemaah Islamiyah. With the murder of 202 people in the October
2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia, East Asia suffered the worst terrorist
attack since September 11.
Southeast Asia was often viewed as on the fringe of the Muslim
world. Thus, immediately after 9/11, Islamic-based terrorism was
often portrayed as a foreign import to the region. We ourselves
were most concerned that members of Al-Qaida would make their way
from Afghanistan to Southeast Asia. But that was a misunderstanding.
To one degree or another the states of the region, like the U.S.,
have been forced to readjust their views, and acknowledge the extent
and sophistication of indigenous terrorist organizations and networks.
Moreover, these networks are not composed of the wretched of the
earth, but often of educated and well-off recruits.
We continue to be impressed by the depth of the links that connect
Southeast Asian terrorists with their counterparts inside and outside
the region. For example, a cell of the Southeast Asian regional
Islamic terrorist Jemaah Islamiyah was recently dismantled in Karachi,
Pakistan. We are not confident that we have yet identified all
the tentacles of the terrorist networks or the boundaries to their
presence and influence.
The new terrorism all of us face is transnational. Thus, defending
ourselves demands unprecedented international cooperation. Just
as terrorists work together to move men, materiel and money across
borders, coordination with our allies, partners and friends is
essential to prevent terrorists from slipping through the cracks
between national authorities and, indeed, within some countries.
Thus, diplomacy is the bedrock on which intelligence, law enforcement,
financial and, in specific cases, military cooperation against
terrorism, has expanded in East Asia.
In two years, Southeast Asian states have come a long way toward
developing effective, cooperative strategies against international
terrorism, while continuing to wrestle with demands to strengthen
democracy and restore prosperity after the Asian Financial Crisis
Australia, China and Japan, among others, have made significant
contributions to the international campaign against terrorism,
both within and outside the region. Japan, our linchpin ally in
Asia, continues to back the international war against terrorism.
It supports our counter-terrorism efforts during Operation Enduring
Freedom in Afghanistan by supplying coalition naval vessels with
operating fuel at its own expense. Japan is a major contributor
to Afghanistan reconstruction, and is vital to the demobilization,
disarmament and reintegration efforts for that country. At the
recent Madrid conference, Japan committed over a billion and a
half dollars to Iraq's reconstruction to promote a civil society
that does not harbor terrorists. Japan is also a partner in freezing
and disrupting the flow of terrorists' assets.
We have no more staunch and valued ally across the board than
Australia, whose troops fought side by side with American forces
in Afghanistan and Iraq and which contributes personnel and funds
for Iraq stabilization and reconstruction. Australia has also assumed
an important role in combating terrorism in Southeast Asia, closely
coordinating with Asian countries and the U.S. on strengthening
police, customs, immigration and intelligence capabilities.
We have worked with China on sharing counter-terrorism information
and blocking the flow of terrorist finances by designating terrorists
and terrorist organizations under the appropriate UN resolutions.
China's awareness of the terrorist threat informs its global perceptions
of the role of the United States' military operations in Central
Asia. Equally important is the fact that our joint efforts against
this threat have, in turn, built trust and strengthened our relations
with these countries as a whole.
At the recent meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Leaders, the President stressed our fundamental belief that security
and prosperity are inseparable. Leaders of the 21 APEC economies
committed to take all essential actions to dismantle, fully and
without delay, transnational terrorist groups that threaten APEC
economies. Among the specific measures they agreed to this year
was to control MANPADs. Over the past two years, the United States
has also worked very closely and productively with the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to develop multilateral responses
to a threat that knows no boundaries.
Concentrated attention on and coordinated policies to combat terrorism
have degraded terrorist networks in East Asia. More than 200 terrorists
have been detained or arrested by our partners. Hambali - a key
link between Al Qaida and the Jemaah Islamiyah - is now in custody.
Malaysia has established a nascent regional CT center and regional
training and cooperation is at an all time high. Nonetheless, we
are well aware of the costs should complacency re-emerge, and of
the long road many nations still have to travel to improve CT capabilities.
Moreover, as they come under pressure in former havens in Southeast
Asia, terrorists search for softer targets, in neighboring countries
or potentially in piracy-infested waters, such as the Strait of
While I have stressed, appropriately, the international and regional
nature of the terrorist threat, and outlined the multinational
response to this threat, inevitably much of the war against terrorism
takes place within national boundaries. Mr. Chairman, I would now
like to take the opportunity to review our specific efforts and
the constraints we face in several countries in the region.
As the world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesia demonstrates
daily that democracy and Islam are compatible.
Indonesians were inward-looking and, frankly, often reluctant
to acknowledge the reality of the terrorist threat until the Bali
bombing last October led to a dramatic shift in public opinion.
Since Bali, and especially since the Marriott Hotel bombing in
August this year, Indonesian authorities have aggressively pursued
and brought terrorists to justice. Domestic counter-terrorism legislation
has received parliamentary approval and the government has increased
cooperation and consultation with its neighbors. Indonesian courts
sentenced Jemaah Islamiyah spiritual leader Abu Bakr Bashir to
imprisonment, though this sentence is now under appeal. Indonesia
has convicted nearly 30 Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists in connection
with the Bali bombing, sentencing some to death. And finally, Indonesia's
important moderate Muslim organizations are speaking out against
violence, and recapturing the lead in public discourse.
However, while the will to combat terrorism has grown, Indonesia
remains a country whose counter-terrorism efforts face the challenges
of porous borders, an often-lax judicial system, corruption, and
a generally poor educational system, a small part of which has
proved to be a breeding ground for extremists and terrorists. Moreover,
some in Indonesia continue publicly to attribute part of the blame
for international terrorism to U.S. Middle East policy. A key challenge
for the political system in Indonesia will be the sustained pursuit
of terrorists even as sensitivities are heightened by the approach
of elections next year.
Our counter-terrorism cooperation with Indonesia is designed to
strengthen Indonesia's capabilities, through ongoing programs for
police, judicial, and financial training, and through investigative
assistance. We are working with the Indonesian government and several
other donors to bolster that country's border controls and to coordinate
anti-terrorism assistance. Moreover, the President proposed, during
his recent visit to Indonesia, a major educational initiative designed
to support educational reform and provide an opportunity to obtain
modern education free of extremism.
The government of President Arroyo is a committed and valued partner
in the war on terrorism, but limited resources and internal weaknesses
constrain our close ally's efforts to fulfill its commitments.
While Philippine CT operations, involving U.S. military training
and operational support, achieved significant results against the
Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in 2002, more recent operations planned
for February 2003 sparked an internal Philippine debate, and were
postponed. The Philippine Congress did agree to amend its Anti-Money
Laundering law to meet international standards, but the institutional
weakness that is endemic among the security organizations in the
Philippines was dramatically displayed with the escape of three
dangerous terrorists from a high security facility in Manila on
July 14, 2003. Subsequently one Jemaah Islamiyah bomb-maker, Fathur
Al-Ghozi, was killed as he encountered the Philipine police in
Mindanao, and another was recaptured on October 7.
The most hopeful development is President Arroyo's initiative
to explore the possibility of peace negotiations with the separatist
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest remaining Muslim
insurgency in the Philippines. Unfortunately, some factions of
the MILF have maintained links with terrorists. The United States
has set aside funds to support a peace process and the U.S. Institute
of Peace, in support of the Government of Malaysia, which has the
lead for the international community, will help facilitate that
process. Our funding in Mindanao is contingent on the MILF separating
itself from terrorist organizations and personnel in deed as well
as word and also on a successful negotiating process. I should
add that the U.S. support for the territorial integrity of the
Philippines is unshakeable even as we recognize that the Bangsamoro
people have legitimate and long-standing grievances that must be
Additional U.S. help for Philippines anti-terrorism efforts is
extensive, and includes security assistance, such as the training
of anti-terrorism Light Reaction Companies, other programs to increase
the efficiency of the Philippine Armed Forces, the Terrorist Interdiction
Program, and new educational assistance for Muslim areas. The key
factor, however, is institutional reform, without which U.S. assistance
will not avail.
Singapore and Malaysia have been highly effective in their pursuit
of terrorists. In fact, they were the first states in the region
to crack terrorist cells and detain their members. Their commitment
to fight terrorism in Southeast Asia is undiminished. Malaysia
hosts a nascent regional counter-terrorism center, through which
we offer training, and has detained nearly 100 members of the Jemaah
Islamiyah and other terrorist organizations. In two waves of arrests
in 2001 and 2002, Singapore also detained domestic Jemaah Islamiyah
terrorists planning attacks against U.S., Singaporean and other
interests. Singapore was the first Asian port to go operational
with a program, known as he Container Security Initiative, which
allows U.S.-bound cargo to be pre-inspected and cleared. Singapore
has supported U.S. actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both nations
will be critical to programs to implement maritime CT programs.
Thailand's recent capture of Hambali, al Qaida's point man in Southeast
Asia, demonstrates the support of this longstanding ally that prefers
to say less and do more. Thailand has signed the Container Security
Initiative. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has signed a
grant to start a port and supply chain project to promote secure
and efficient trade between Bangkok's Laem Chabang port and Seattle.
The Thai government has recently passed tough anti-terrorism legislation
and amendments to its anti-money laundering law. It has also dispatched
over 400 soldiers to Iraq and recently completed a deployment in
Throughout East Asia, we support other governments and encourage
them to cooperate with each other and with us against terrorism.
We are determined to limit the ability of terrorists to carry out
terrorist acts or find refuge, and eventually to eradicate terrorism.
Bilaterally and multilaterally, we share intelligence, where appropriate,
and provide and coordinate training, as well as other essential
resources. In addition to helping our allies and partners to enhance
their capacity to combat terrorism, we lay the groundwork through
active diplomacy to build a coalition that will protect American
citizens and interests in Asia against terrorism. We believe this
effort has reassured Asians of America's commitment to their welfare,
degraded terrorist capabilities, and strengthened U.S. relations
with its East Asian allies and partners.