New York: Pakistan and Iran might continue to use terrorist groups to mount attacks on other countries out of a strong sense of insecurity in the next 18 years, says a new report by the US intelligence community.
Every half-decade, the National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends” series produces analysis considered to be the best long-range geopolitical forecasting conducted by the US government. The 140-page “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” report has a chapter titled “Future of Terrorism” which calls Pakistan what it is — a state supporter of terrorism.
“States such as Pakistan and Iran feel threatened by what they perceive as stronger, threatening powers in their regions or globally. Therefore, they seek asymmetric options to assert power and deter attack; using terrorist groups as proxies and pursuing nuclear weapons are two such asymmetric tools,” says the report.
US intelligence experts are now echoing what India has always maintained. Pakistan trains Islamic terrorists to launch attacks on India as part of its claim on Kashmir. Anti-India jihadist groups were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term Pakistani tactical objectives. These Islamic terrorist groups were not thrown up because of Pakistani government weakness, but as a matter of policy.
However, the US intelligence agency notes that the international community is onto states such as Pakistan choosing to exploit terrorist movements and is not about to give them a free pass to use terrorist proxies.
“International disapproval of state support for terrorist movements has increased significantly, and the costs to a regime of directly supporting terrorists looks set to become even greater as international cooperation increases,” says the report.
In a good sign, the National Intelligence Council says the recent Islamic terrorism wave is receding and could end by 2030 because a younger generation of Muslims may simply view things differently and be less interested in an old narrative.
“Although al-Qaeda and others have focused on the United States a clear enemy, the appeal of the United States as the “great enemy” is declining. The impending withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and decreases in US forces in Afghanistan help to reduce the extent to which terrorists can draw on the United States as a lightning rod for anger,” says the report.
“Soon, US support for Israel could be the last remaining major focus of Muslim anger.”
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed and US operations have delivered severe body blows to al-Qaeda's central network in Pakistan and Afghanistan since the war on terrorism. Still, intelligence experts say al-Qaeda has spawned affiliated groups in the Middle East and North Africa and will inspire attacks by home-grown militants in Europe and the US.
The intelligence community also sees a threat from the Hezbollah which has waged a campaign against the US since its creation in 1982 as a terrorist subsidiary of Iran’s clerical regime.
The report also noted that future terrorists could come from other religions. “Taking a global perspective, future terrorists could come from Christianity and Hinduism. Right-wing and left-wing ideological groups — some of the oldest users of terrorist tactics — also will pose threats,” said the report.