Terrorism - State-sponsored Terrorism
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Two forms of state-sponsored terrorism exist at the beginning of the twenty-first century: governments that carry out terrorism acts against their own citizens, and government support of groups who carry out terrorism against other governments. Amnesty International, a human rights overseer organization based in London, estimates that about one hundred countries use terrorist activities against their own citizens. These activities include jailing and torturing dissidents (persons with opposing political views to those in power or the government), and sponsoring death squads who seek out, kidnap, and murder dissidents. Countries known to terrorize their own citizens are Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Sudan. Iraq, when under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, was notorious for such terror tactics.
Genocide, attempting to kill a whole minority population within a country, is the extreme form of state-sponsored terrorism. In addition to the extermination of Jews by Germany in World War II (1939–45; war in which Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, the United States, and their allied forces defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan), genocides have taken place in the Southeastern Asian nation of Cambodia, Rwanda in Africa, and Bosnia (part of the former Yugoslavia).
According to the U.S. State Department's official list, the second form of state-sponsored terrorism was practiced in 2003 by Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. For example, Iran has long supported HAMAS and Hezbollah, Arab Palestinian groups who have carried out terrorist attacks on Israel. The Sudan has allowed terrorist group members to hide within its country.
The most famous terrorist to spend time in the Sudan was Al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden following his expulsion from his native Saudi Arabia for activities against his own government. Terrorist leaders are also allowed to live within Cuba by its longtime leader Fidel Castro (1926–). Following the U.S.–Iraq war of 2003–04, Iraq will presumably be coming off the state-sponsored terrorism list.