- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2002

Terror groups around the world are finding many former havens no longer particularly safe nor welcoming.
The reason: National leaders can see what has happened in Afghanistan, and none wants anything like that to happen to them.
Thus nations whose wilder regions have long harbored terror camps, such as Yemen and Sudan, are at least attempting something of a crackdown. Countries that have long battled insurgencies with terrorist links the Philippines, for one are eager to redouble their efforts, with increased U.S. help.
The next stage of the American-led war on terrorism likely will focus on efforts to further this door-shutting trend, as opposed to mounting major military action against a hard target such as Iraq. Some of these actions will be visible, say officials in Washington. Many others will not be.
"We're encouraged by the range of counterterrorism cooperation and actions that are taking place throughout the world," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said earlier this month.
The al Qaeda terrorist network operates in 60 to 70 countries, said Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.
Worldwide, international law-enforcement efforts have resulted in the arrests of a reported 800 to 1,000 suspected al Qaeda operatives or sympathizers.
Many of these suspects were rounded up in Western Europe, where governments have both the means and the will to lead crackdowns. But some were arrested in nations that have long been homes to terrorist camps, either because of tolerance on the part of local governments or the inability of national leaders to fully control their territories.
Take Yemen. After a visit to Washington late last year by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni officials appear to have begun a real effort to root out suspected al Qaeda operatives who have long lived in remote regions bordering Saudi Arabia.
In December, Yemeni troops trained and equipped by U.S. forces attacked a tribal group thought to be harboring three key al Qaeda operatives. At least 24 soldiers and four tribesmen were killed in the battle, said Yemeni officials.
Yemen has announced plans to deport on immigration charges 80 students and teachers from a fundamentalist Islamic institute. But the three terrorist leaders who were the targets of the December attack remained at large.
Sudan has made a similar surprising turnabout. Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan between 1991 and 1996, and openly ran his operations from an office building in Khartoum. Testimony by an al Qaeda turncoat in a federal trial in New York even described an attempt by bin Laden to buy fissile material through a criminal organization that had links to Sudan's Islamic government.
But today Sudan is cooperating with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, say American officials. Khartoum has provided extensive intelligence about bin Laden's stay in the country. Officials have arrested several suspected al Qaeda operatives and made them available for U.S. interrogation.
Another longtime terrorist haven, Somalia, represents a more mixed case.
Somalia remains a largely lawless nation riven by factions and controlled by warlords. U.S. officials consider it perhaps the most likely nation in the world to become the next Afghanistan that is, a country virtually hijacked by a terrorist group for its own purposes and activities.
The United States does not recognize the transitional government in Mogadishu and is convinced that people linked with terrorism remain in Somalia, a knowledgeable U.S. official said. But neither does Washington think that bombs would make any difference in this situation. No major training camps or other military targets remain in the area.
After Afghanistan, Somalia is an obvious next step, said the official.
"Eventually we will get to Somalia, whether now or in six months' time," this source said.

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