February 11, 2003
(As Prepared for Delivery)
The Worldwide Threat in 2003: Evolving Dangers in a Complex World
- I can tell you that the threat from al-Qa'ida remains, even though we have made important strides in the war against terrorism.
- Secretary of State Powell clearly outlined last week the continuing threats posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, its efforts to deceive UN inspectors, and the safehaven that Baghdad has allowed for terrorists in Iraq.
- North Korea's recent admission that it has a highly enriched uranium program, intends to end the freeze on its plutonium production facilities, and has stated its intention to withdraw from the Nonproliferation Treaty raised serious new challenges for the region and the world.
- Challenges such as the world's vast stretches of ungoverned areas - lawless zones, veritable "no man's lands" like some areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border - where extremist movements find shelter and can win the breathing space to grow.
- Challenges such as the numbers of societies and peoples excluded from the benefits of an expanding global economy, where the daily lot is hunger, disease, and displacement - and that produce large populations of disaffected youth who are prime recruits for our extremist foes
- The operations chief for the Persian Gulf area, who planned the bombing of the USS Cole.
- A key planner who was a Muhammad Atta confidant and a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks.
- A major al-Qa'ida leader in Yemen and other key operatives and facilitators in the Gulf area and other regions, including South Asia and Southeast Asia.
- Not everyone arrested was a terrorist. Some have been released. But the worldwide rousting of al Qa'ida has definitely disrupted its operations. And we've obtained a trove of information we're using to prosecute the hunt still further.
- Ever since Pakistan's decision to sever ties with the Taliban - so critical to the success of Operation Enduring Freedom - Islamabad's close cooperation in the war on terrorism has resulted in the capture of key al-Qa'ida lieutenants and significant disruption of its regional network.
- Jordan and Egypt have been courageous leaders in the war on terrorism.
- A number of Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates are denying terrorists financial safehaven, making it harder for al-Qa'ida to funnel funding for operations. Others in the Gulf are beginning to tackle the problem of charities that front for, or fund, terrorism.
- The Saudis are providing increasingly important support to our counterterrorism efforts - from arrests to sharing debriefing results.
- SE Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, with majority Muslim populations, have been active in arresting and detaining terror suspects.
- And we mustn't forget Afghanistan, where the support of the new leadership is essential.
- Al-Qa'ida or associated groups carried out a successful attack in Tunisia and - since October 2002 - attacks in Mombasa, Bali, and Kuwait, and off Yemen against the French oil tanker Limburg. Most of these attacks bore such al-Qa'ida trademarks as intense surveillance, simultaneous strikes, and suicide-delivered bombs.
- Al-Qa'ida has also sharpened its focus on our Allies in Europe and on operations against Israeli and Jewish targets.
- If given the choice, al-Qa'ida terrorists will choose attacks that achieve multiple objectives - striking prominent landmarks, inflicting mass casualties, causing economic disruption, rallying support through shows of strength.
- And the Mombasa attack in East Africa highlights the continued vulnerability of Western interests and the growing terrorist threat there.
- Terrorists count on the threat of demoralizing blows to instill massive fear and rally shadowy constituencies to their side.
- These planned attacks involved similar materials, and the implicated operatives had links to one another.
- In particular, we continue to follow up on information that al-Qa'ida seeks to produce or purchase a radiological dispersal device. Construction of such a device is well within al-Qa'ida capabilities - if it can obtain the radiological material.
- Iraq has in place an active effort to deceive UN inspectors and deny them access. This effort is directed by the highest levels of the Iraqi regime. Baghdad has given clear directions to its operational forces to hide banned materials in their possession.
- Iraq's BW program includes mobile research and production facilities that will be difficult, if not impossible, for the inspectors to find. Baghdad began this program in the mid-1990s - during a time when UN inspectors were in the country.
- Iraq has established a pattern of clandestine procurements designed to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program. These procurements include - but also go well beyond - the aluminum tubes that you have heard so much about.
- Iraq has recently flight tested missiles that violate the UN range limit of 150 kilometers. It is developing missiles with ranges beyond 1,000 kilometers. And it retains - in violation of UN resolutions - a small number of SCUD missiles that it produced before the Gulf War.
- Iraq has tested unmanned aerial vehicles to ranges that far exceed both what it declared to the United Nations and what it is permitted under UN resolutions. We are concerned that Iraq's UAVs can dispense chemical and biological weapons and that they can deliver such weapons to Iraq's neighbors or, if transported, to other countries, including the United States.
- Iraq is harboring senior members of a terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a close associate of Usama Bin Ladin. We know Zarqawi's network was behind the poison plots in Europe that I discussed earlier as well as the assassination of a US State Department employee in Jordan.
- Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al-Qa'ida. It also provided training in poisons and gasses to two al-Qa'ida associates; one of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.
- The example of new nuclear states that seem able to deter threats from more powerful states, simply by brandishing nuclear weaponry, will resonate deeply among other countries that want to enter the nuclear weapons club.
- With the assistance of proliferators, a potentially wider range of countries may be able to develop nuclear weapons by "leapfrogging" the incremental pace of weapons programs in other countries.
- Countries are more and more tightly integrating both their BW and CW production capabilities into apparently legitimate commercial infrastructures, further concealing them from scrutiny.
- Short- and medium-range missiles already pose a significant threat to US interests, military forces, and allies as emerging missile states increase the range, reliability, and accuracy of the missile systems in their inventories.
- North Korea also continues to export complete ballistic missiles and production capabilities along with related raw materials, components, and expertise. Profits from these sales help Pyongyang to support its missile and other WMD development programs, and in turn generate new products to offer to its customers.
- Although Kim presumably calculates the North's aid, trade, and investment climate will never improve in the face of US sanctions and perceived hostility, he is equally committed to retaining and enlarging his nuclear weapons stockpile.
- Libya clearly intends to reestablish its offensive chemical weapons capability and has produced at least 100 tons of chemical agents at its Rabta facility, which ostensibly reopened as a pharmaceutical plant in 1995.
- And Chinese firms may be backing away from Beijing's 1997 bilateral commitment to forego any new nuclear cooperation with Iran. We are monitoring this closely.
- We remain alert to the vulnerability of Russian WMD materials and technology to theft or diversion. Russia has the largest inventory of nuclear materials that - unless stored securely - might be fashioned into weapons that threaten US persons, facilities, or interests.
- Iran is continuing to pursue development of a nuclear fuel cycle for civil and nuclear weapons purposes. The loss of some Russian assistance has impeded this effort. It is also moving toward self-sufficiency in its BW and CW programs.
- Tehran is seeking to enlist foreign assistance in building entire production plants for commercial chemicals that would also be capable of producing nerve agents and their precursors.
- As a supplier, Iran in 2002 pursued new missile-related deals with several countries and publicly advertises its artillery rockets, ballistic missiles, and related technologies.
- The former party chief, Jiang Zemin, who is also scheduled to hand over the Presidency to his successor in both positions, Hu Jintao, is determined to remain in charge. He retains the Chairmanship of the party's Central Military Commission. The new leadership contains many Jiang loyalists and protoges.
- The "next generation" leaders offers policy continuity, but the current setup probably guarantees tensions among leaders uncertain of their own standing and anxious to secure their positions.
- Chinese leaders seem convinced that all trends are moving in their favor - Taiwan is heavily invested in the mainland and Chinese military might is growing.
- From its perspective, Beijing remains wary of nationalist popular sentiment on Taiwan and of our arms sales to and military cooperation with Taipei.
- This was apparent in Russia's low-key reaction to the decision to invite the Baltics into NATO and in its serious attitude toward the new NATO-Russia Council, and in reconsidering some of it military-technical cooperation with proliferation states of concern.
- Moscow eventually supported UN Security Council resolution 1441 on Iraq and has been a reliable partner in the war on terrorism.
- Meanwhile, over the past year the war in Chechnya entered a new, brutal phase. Russian security service units have targeted suspected guerrillas and their supporters and punished their families. Chechen guerrillas, for their part, continued to kill pro-Moscow officials and their families.
- While Putin has reined in some powerful political figures - a few of the governors and so-called "oligarchs" - in many cases he has negotiated a balance of interests.
- Over the past three years, the Russian government has made real progress on reform objectives by cutting tax and tariff rates, legalizing land sales, and strengthening efforts to fight money laundering.
- Moscow has used its largely oil-driven revenue growth to pay down the country's external public sector debt to a moderate level of 40 percent of GDP, half the level of only a few years ago.
- Some reformist legislators have threatened to resign from government if conservatives block the legislation. Others have argued for holding a referendum on reform if opponents kill the bills.
- Comments from the hardline camp show little flexibility - and indeed some opponents of reform are pressing hard to dismantle the parties that advocate political change.
- Weary of strife and cowed by the security forces, Iranians show little eagerness to take to the streets in support of change. The student protests last fall drew only 5,000 students out of a student population of more than one million.
- But more and more courageous voices in Iran are publicly challenging the right of the political clergy to suppress the popular will--and they are gaining an audience.
- We are currently unable to identify a leader, organization, or issue capable of uniting the widespread desire for change into a coherent political movement that could challenge the regime.
- In addition, we see little indication of a loss of nerve among the opponents of reform, who have publicly argued in favor of using deadly force if necessary to crush the popular demand for greater freedom.
- No Iranian government, regardless of its ideological leanings, is likely to willingly abandon WMD programs that are seen as guaranteeing Iran's security.
- Without progress on resolving Indian-Pakistani differences, any dramatic provocation - like 2001's terrorist attack on the Indian parliament by Kashmir militants - runs a high risk of sparking another major military deployment.
- Milestones include establishing the Afghan Interim Authority, holding the Emergency Loya Jirga in June 2002 to elect a President and decide on the composition of the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA), and establishing judicial, constitutional, and human rights commissions.
- The country is relatively stable, and Kabul is a safer place today than a year ago. The presence of coalition forces has provide security sufficient for aid organizations and NGO's to operate. Six battalions of what will be the Afghan National Army have been trained by the US and coalition partners to date.
- The Afghan Government also has made great strides in the reconstruction of the beleaguered economy. More than $1 billion in foreign aid has helped repatriate Afghan refugees, re-opened schools, and repaired roads. The ATA introduced a new currency, and instituted trade and investment protocols.
- The Afghans will also have to decide politically contentious issues such as how the new constitution will address the role of Islam, the role sharia law will play in the legal system, and the structure of the next Afghan government. Other major hurdles include bringing local and regional tribal leaders into the national power structure.
- Several Bonn agreement deadlines are looming, including the convening of a constitutional Loya Jirga by December 2003 (within eighteen months of the establishment of the ATA) and holding free and fair elections of a representative national government no later than June 2004.
- And much effort is needed to improve the living standards of Afghan families, many of whom have no steady source of income and lack access to clean drinking water, health care facilities, and schools.
- Latin America's rising populism exemplifies the growing backlash against globalization in countries that are falling behind. Last year Brazil's President, "Lula" da Silva, campaigned and won on an expressly anti-globalization populist platform.
- UN figures point out that unemployment is particularly problematic in the Middle East and Africa, where 50 to 80 percent of those unemployed are younger than 25. Some of the world's poorest and often most politically unstable countries - including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Iraq, Yemen, and several nations in Sub-Saharan Africa - are among the countries with the youngest populations in the world through 2020.
- That said, the Intelligence Community recently projected that by 2010, we may see as many as 100 million HIV-infected people outside Africa. China will have about 15 million cases and India will have 20 to 25 million - higher than estimated for any country in the world.
- The national security dimension of the virus is plain: it can undermine economic growth, exacerbate social tensions, diminish military preparedness, create huge social welfare costs, and further weaken already beleaguered states. And the virus respects no border.
- The 35 million refugees and internally displaced persons in need of humanitarian assistance are straining limited resources. Substantial aid requirements in southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, and North Korea, plus expected needs this year in Iraq, Cote d'Ivoire, and elsewhere in Africa will add up to an unprecedented demand for food and other humanitarian assistance. Worldwide emergency assistance needs are likely to surpass the record $8-10 billion donors provided last year for humanitarian emergencies.
- Food aid requirements this year will rise more sharply than other categories of humanitarian assistance, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, because of drought, instability, HIV/AIDS, and poor governance. Preliminary estimates put the total food aid needed to meet emergency appeals and long-term food aid commitments at about 12 million metric tons, 4 million tons greater than estimated aid supplies.
- Growing ethnic and religious strife, rampant corruption, and a weak economy will test Nigeria's democracy before and after the April 2003 election. Its offshore oil areas provide 9 percent of US crude oil imports and are insulated from most unrest, but relations with Washington could rupture if yet another military regime assumes power in Nigeria during a domestic upheaval.
- After 24 years of President Moi's rule, the new president and ruling coalition in Kenya face many challenges, including preserving their shaky alliance while overhauling the constitution. Kenyans' severe economic woes and sky-high expectations for change do not bode well for the coalition's stability this year.
- Cote d'Ivoire is collapsing, and its crash will be felt throughout the region, where neighboring economies are at risk from the fall-off in trade and from refugees fleeing violence.
- Although Uribe's public support is strong, satisfying high popular expectations for peace and prosperity will be challenging. Security and socioeconomic improvements are complex and expensive. And the drug trade will continue to thrive until Bogota can exert control over its vast countryside.
- FARC insurgents are well-financed by drugs and kidnappings, and they are increasingly using terrorism against civilians and economic targets - as they demonstrated last weekend in a lethal urban attack - to wear away the new national will to fight back.
- Because many oil workers have returned to work, the government is gradually bringing some of the oil sector back on line. Nevertheless, a return to full pre-strike production levels remains months. Oil production through March will probably average less than 2 million barrels per day- one million barrels per day below pre-strike levels.
- Meanwhile, Chavez, focused on crippling longtime enemies in the opposition, states he will never resign and has balked at requests for early elections.
- International peacekeeping forces led by NATO exert a stabilizing influence, but the levels of support provided by the international community are declining.
- The real danger, Mr. Chairman, is that the international community will lose interest in the Balkans. If so, the situation will deteriorate even further.