Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Evidence the War on Terror is Being WON!

Experts See Gains Against Asian Terror Networks
By ERIC SCHMITT
New York Times
June 9, 2008

SINGAPORE — The deadliest terrorist networks in Southeast Asia have suffered significant setbacks in the past three years, weakened by aggressive policing, improved intelligence, enhanced military operations and an erosion of public support, government officials and counterterrorism specialists say.

Security officials met recently in Singapore. Three years after the region’s last major strike — the attacks on three restaurants in Bali that killed three suicide bombers and 19 other people — American and Asian intelligence analysts say financial and logistical support from Al Qaeda to other groups in the region has long dried up, and the most lethal are scrambling for survival.

In Indonesia, since 2005 authorities have arrested more than 200 members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic group with ties to Al Qaeda. In the Philippines, an American-backed military campaign has the Abu Sayyaf Group, an Islamic extremist organization with links to Jemaah Islamiyah, clinging to footholds in the jungles of a handful of southern islands, officials said.

Indonesia and the Philippines, which have faced the most serious terrorist threat in the region, have taken sharply different approaches to combat it. Each has achieved some success, offering lessons to American and allied counterterrorism efforts worldwide.
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The United States and Australia, in particular, have played major roles in helping Southeast Asian countries combat terrorist threats in the region.

More than 500 American personnel, including experts from the military Special Operations Forces, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Agency for International Development, are training and working with Philippine counterterrorism forces from a base in Zamboanga, a city in Mindanao.

The Pentagon recently awarded the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia a total of $27 million in coastal surveillance stations equipped with special radar, heat-detecting cameras and computers to help disrupt terrorists plying the Sulawesi sea lanes, according to documents sent to Congress. The Philippines also received nearly $6 million in night-vision goggles, body armor, helmets and radios.

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