Rogue Operators

Think that state sponsors of terror are pulling all the strings? Think again. Countries like Iran and Syria may play a big role in the terrorism underworld, but they’re quickly losing control over rogues that bite the hands that once fed them.

Issue: July-Aug 2008

WE LIVE in a world where the greatest terrorist threats to the United States can hardly even be given a label. The actors are neither traditional terrorist groups nor the classic state sponsors. In the murkiest of undergrounds, weaknesses within states and their governments' desires to bolster their security often result in an inability to rein in societies' darkest undercurrents. In this netherworld, Saudi Arabia funded the kind of networking that ultimately led to 9/11. Pakistan becomes in part responsible for the Talibanization of its own country as sectarian strife explodes and members of its intelligence service abet radicals. Even Iran, a classic state sponsor, finds itself hedging its bets, funding all kinds of radical groups in Iraq, even ones that are fighting its favored proxies. These states create serious problems for the United States, deadly problems for their regions and at times catastrophic problems for themselves.

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