Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Iran Tops List of State Terror Sponsors

Unsurprisingly, Iran has once again been designated the world's leading sponsor of terror according to the State Department.

The State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 says Iran is the "most active state sponsor" of terrorism with elements of its government — notably the Revolutionary Guards and intelligence ministry — supporting many extremist groups in Iraq and elsewhere.

The two "were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah, to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals," the report said.

The Revolutionary Guard has been "linked to armor-piercing explosives that resulted in the deaths of coalition forces" and has helped, along with Lebanon's radical Hezbollah movement, train Iraqi Shiite extremists to build bombs, it said.

At the same time, "Iran maintained a high-profile role in encouraging anti-Israeli activity, rhetorically, operationally and financially," the report said, adding Iran has yet to identify, try or turn over senior al-Qaida members it detained in 2003.

The story from the A.P. also says
Iran was singled out for criticism in a year that saw a surge of more than 25 percent in terrorist attacks that killed 40 percent more people than in 2005. Much of the increase was in Iraq where extremists used chemical weapons and suicide bombers to target crowds.

But as this Newsbusters.org post points out, while terrorism is up in Iraq, it is down everywhere else in the world.
On Monday evening, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism showing a number of interesting findings, including steep declines in terrorist attacks and murders in many regions of the globe. That has not been the lede story in America's liberal media, however. Instead, they've chosen to focus their attentions on how terrorism has increased in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

That's not entirely unjustified. Both of those countries have significant amounts of American troops in them (although I doubt that the left-wing French or German press, say, is covering this any differently). What has been unacceptable, however, is the American press's complete ignoring of the rest of the State Department's numbers.

Instead of saying that terrorism has increased markedly in Iraq (the truth), the media are extrapolating beyond that to claim that, as Reuters puts it, "U.S. sees sharp rise in global terrorism deaths."

Once you get past the lede of these Reuters and Associated Press pieces, you'll discover the small detail that the increase in terrorism was almost entirely due to Iraq. Nowhere in either piece do you learn the fact that aside from the Middle East (which does not include Afghanistan according to State), the number of terrorist attacks worldwide is down from a year ago by over 300 incidents. The number of deaths from terrorism was only up 14 percent.

In other words, the Bush administration's idea that making Iraq the "central front in the war on terror" seems to be working. According to the State report, terrorism in South Asia is down by 10 percent from a year ago. In Europe, it's down 18 percent. In Central and South America, terrorism-related deaths are down 54 percent.

These aren't the kinds of facts you'll hear on the evening news or read in your local newspaper.

Why would you print news that didn't make the Bush adminstration look bad? You might be accused of not being objective if you did so.