u.n. has a view? what do you know?

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    Nov. 15, 2003
    UN: Al-Qaida will use WMD when it knows how

    The al-Qaida terror network has decided to use chemical or biological weapons in future attacks, and international efforts to halt the group are failing, according to a confidential report by a UN panel of experts.

    The report, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, said the only thing holding al-Qaida back from using chemical and biological weapons is "the technical complexity to operate them properly and effectively."

    The five-member group said it believes this is the main reason why al-Qaida is still trying to develop new conventional explosive devices such as bombs that can evade scanning machines.

    "The risk of al-Qaida acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction also continues to grow," the experts said. "Undoubtedly, al-Qaida is still considering the use of chemical or bio-weapons to perpetrate its terrorist actions."

    The report is the second by the group established in January by the UN Security Council to monitor sanctions against 272 individuals and entities linked to al-Qaida and Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime. The sanctions include freezing assets, a ban on travel, and an arms embargo.

    The experts cited no new specific new evidence, noting only the recent discovery of a chemical substance, possibly containing the tetanus virus, in a police raid on a hideout in the southern Philippines of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. A manual on bioterrorism was also found at the hideout.

    They also noted concerns raised at the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum last month that al-Qaida might use operatives to poison food.

    "The only restraint they are facing is the technical complexity to operate them properly and effectively. Their possible use of a dirty bomb is also of great concern," the experts said. Dirty bombs use conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material.

    In the report, the expert group said many young Muslims are being drawn to the al-Qaida ideology which is spreading worldwide and has found "fertile ground" in Iraq. This has raised "the specter of further terrorist attacks and further threats to international peace and security," it said.

    The report also said progress had been made toward cutting off financing for al-Qaida financing, but that the terrorist network was still able to funnel money to operatives. The network has shifted much of its financial activities to parts of Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where regulations are more lax or regulators less capable of monitoring finances. it said.

    "Al-Qaida continues to receive funds it needs from charities, deep pocket donors, and business and criminal activities, including the drug trade," the report said. "Extensive use is still being made of alternative remittance systems."

    Sanctions are also failing because many governments refuse to add names to the sanctions list, even though some 4,000 individuals in 102 countries have been arrested or detained for their links with al-Qaida, the experts said.

    Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen reported the arrest of individuals linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Yet in most cases they didn't submit the names to be put on the sanctions list, the report said.

    Even when people are on the list, the experts said, they have been allowed to travel and evade sanctions.

    The report cited an investigation of two men on the UN list of terrorist financiers: Ahmed Idris Nasreddin and Youssef Nada. The two men's bank accounts have been frozen but other assets, including residential or commercial property in Campione d'Italia and Lugano, Switzerland, and Milan, Italy, have not been touched.

    On Jan. 28, Nada traveled from Campione d'Italia to Vaduz, Liechtenstein, in violation of the travel ban and applied to change the name of two of his companies that were on the sanctions list, the report said.

    The expert group called for a new Security Council resolution requiring all 191 member states to enforce sanctions. Otherwise, it said, the UN role in fighting terrorism "risks becoming marginalized."
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