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TerrorismCentral Newsletter - February 22, 2004

TerrorismCentral, February 22, 2004


Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat was the target of a bomb explosion at his home that may be the work of extremists opposed to reunification of the island. For details of this long-running conflict, see this week's Feature Article. Other News Highlights include the latest Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers, Mexico/US border security initiatives, new tactics from Basque separatist group ETA, another suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem, progress in a vaccine against bubonic plague, and the latest phishing statistics.



1. World
2. Africa
3. Americas
4. Asia Pacific
5. Europe
6. Middle East
7. South Asia
8. Cyberterrorism and Information Warfare
9. Finance
10 Human Rights
11. Law and Legal Issues
12. Transportation
13. Weapons of Mass Destruction
14. Recently Published



1. World

Avian influenza continues its spread to new species, now including domestic cats and a white tiger in Thailand. The Food and Agriculture Organization says that killing wild birds won't prevent flu outbreaks. Instead, control and surveillance is necessary. "For example, commercial poultry owners need to ensure that poultry pens and poultry drinking water supplies cannot be contaminated by migrating birds. If this cannot be done, then making the drinking water safe by appropriately treating it is necessary".

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)'s 187 member states concluded a 2-week meeting. Topics included "biological diversity of mountain ecosystems, the role of protected areas in the preservation of biological diversity, the transfer of technology and technology cooperation, as well as implementation of the target to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity. The implementation of an international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing within the framework of the Convention has also been a major topic at the meeting."

The US government plans to transfer six of the Guantanamo Bay detainees to their home government. Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane will return to Denmark, where he is not expected to face any charges. Tarek Dergoul, Jamal Udeen, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed will be returned to Britain, where police are investigating whether any charges will be brought. Four other Britons remain in detention as do some 660 other suspects. Last week a detainee was returned to Spain to face possible charges there. Australia says it will not ask for the repatriation of their detained citizens David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.

2. Africa

The World Health Organization is beginning a massive polio immunization drive in ten African countries with about 63 million children. The northern Nigerian state Kano says it will not participate amid persistent claims by Islamic clerics that the vaccine will cause infertility. Nigeria accounts for nearly half of new worldwide polio cases.

Ivory Coast's latest ethnic violence was in a government-controlled western town in which Guere tribal youths attacked Burkinabe immigrants with machetes, killing two and injuring at least seven.

In Guinea-Bissau four soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in border clashes with Casamance separatists in Senegal.

Liberia's UN peacekeeping force will no longer pay cash in exchange for returned arms when the disarmament program resumes in a month or two. They are awaiting full deployment of peacekeeping troops across the entire country.

Libya was able to produce a small amount of plutonium using equipment acquired on the black market. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been overseeing the removal and destruction of Libya's nuclear program.

A Moroccan court sentenced ten men to eight years in prison for belonging to the banned Salafia Jihadia that has been associated with last May's suicide bombings in Casablanca. 33 more people will be tried on the same charges in March.

In Sudan's Darfur region, the Center for the Prevention of Genocide reports that "The Sudanese government and government backed Arab militias are perpetrating violent attacks on civilian populations in Darfur, Sudan. On February 18, 2004, CPG received confirmation of government backed Arab militia raids in the town of Shatatya and its surrounding villages, which resulted in the massacre of 81 civilians. Sources also reported that the militias abducted 32 adolescent girls from Mugjar, a town on the Sudanese side of the Sudan-Chad border (CPG Press Release). Additionally, CPG has received numerous confirmed reports of Arab militia raids and aerial bombings in Darfur, specifically targeting civilians. The violence in Darfur has caused hundred of thousands of people to flee their homes. Restricted access to the region has impeded the delivery of international aid to these refugees and internally displaced people, causing international humanitarian groups to warn of an imminent humanitarian disaster."

Meanwhile, the possibly final round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the main rebel group the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) are taking place in Kenya.

Swaziland has declared a national disaster resulting from drought, hailstorms and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked and burned down a displaced persons camp, leaving at least 170 dead. The Ugandan army says earlier in the week it killed 30 LRA and rescued 22 abducted children.

Zimbabwe's inflation rate is expected to increase to 700 percent. President Mugabe says he may retire in five years, but also reports chest pains.

3. Americas

Colombian rebel leader Pedro Marin (Manuel Marulanda) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reportedly has terminal prostate cancer and will die soon, leaving open the question of which of the surviving guerillas will succeed him.

Haiti's embattled President Aristide has agreed to a peace plan in which he would stay in power until 2006 but with reduced powers and that a new Prime Minister would be selected by the government, opposition and international community. The opposition has not yet agreed to the internationally brokered plan but they have been given until Monday to consider it. In the meantime, the rebel advance continues.

In Mexico, the arrest of Miguel Nazar Haro, former chief of Mexican intelligence and head of the paramilitary White Brigade has demonstrated that those responsible for government abuses during the "dirty war" of the 1960s and 70s may be held accountable after all. For background on these issues see the National Security Archive research guide online at

Mexican and US authorities have agreed on new border security initiatives:
"* Sign the 2004 U.S.-Mexico Action Plan for Cooperation and Border Safety
* Sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Safe, Orderly, Dignified and Human Repatriation of Mexican Nationals
* Ensure the expansion of Secure Electronic Network for Traveler's Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) lanes at six additional land ports of entry this year
* Ensure the expansion of Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at five additional land ports of entry on the southern border this year"

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information Program (PCII) that "enables the private sector to voluntarily submit infrastructure information to the federal government to assist the Nation in reducing its vulnerability to terrorist attacks".

In a 2-part series, "Ghost Wars: The CIA and Osama bin Laden, 1997-1999" Steve Coll writes in the Washington Post of "A Secret Hunt Unravels in Afghanistan: Mission to Capture or Kill al Qaeda Leader Frustrated by Near Misses, Political Disputes"

4. Asia Pacific

Australian aborigines in Sydney rioted over the death of a young black cyclist, injuring 40 officers in a 9-hour battle. Three separate investigations have been launched into the worst violence seen in many years and considered a setback for race relations.

Taiwan's president Chen Shui-Bian has promised that if he is reelected he will not declare independence from China but he will go ahead with the planned referendum on security.

Japan has increased security to the highest level since last year's invasion of Iraq. Increased measures at airports, government offices, nuclear plants and so on are believed connected to sending troops to Iraq. There were two small explosions near the defense ministry, but there were no casualties or serious damage.

Japan and Iran have signed an oil development agreement.

Malaysia has begun a new program of national service that includes three months of training in physical education, nation-building, character-development and community service. It is intended to encourage national unity and overcome cultural and racial divisions.

Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is meeting with local officials in the south to discuss ways to end the continuing violence. In the latest attacks two civilians and a policeman were killed and threats of attacks have lead to the closure of most school. Shinawatra has proposed a possible fence t the Malaysian border to help counter Muslim militant violence in these Muslin-minority regions.

Vietnam has reached agreement with Russia to build its first nuclear power plant.

5. Europe

Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat was the target of a bomb explosion at his home. A neighbor was injured in the attack that is thought could be the work of extremists opposed to reunification of the island. For details of this long-running conflict, see this week's Feature Article, below.

In Italy a parcel bomb at a Perugia police station injured three policemen. It had been send to a woman who noticed protruding wires. A suspect connected with organized crime has been detained and he has no terrorist connections. Other weaker parcel bombs in a series of attacks have been attributed to anarchist groups.

Serbia will be able to form a new government following the December elections. Former Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has gained enough support but it relies on votes of the Socialist party that is still officially led by Slobodan Milosevic who remains in custody at the International Tribunal in The Hague. In the trial of those associated with the assassination of former Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, judges divided the case into two, with 13 men accused of the assassination and another 23 suspected of a series of murders and kidnappings.

Spanish separatist group ETA declared a truce for Catalonia. The region was singled out because the nonviolent Catalan separatist movement shares power with Socialists and former Communists. This move is in advance of parliamentary elections next month and it may be a prelude to ETA attacks to put pressure on the government.

UK security service will expand by 50 percent in response to terrorism threats. In other proposals, the Home Secretary David Blunkett will ask for additional anti-terrorism powers including use of intercepted communications and new systems for terrorism trials. Details of the proposals will be released on Wednesday.

In Northern Ireland, a dissident republican, possibly with the Real IRA, was seriously injured and taken to hospital following a major security incident in which his kidnapping was attempted. Four men, possibly with the IRA, were arrested at the scene.

6. Middle East

In two incidents in the Gaza Strip, three Palestinians believed to be security threats were shot dead by Israeli Defense Forces.
In Iran, early results from the general election indicate a conservative victory. This result was almost ensured when the Guardian Council disqualified more than 2,000 reformist candidates from standing. The voting turnout appears to be much lower than four years ago when a reformist majority was elected. The opposition claims that had they been allowed to participate in free and fair elections they would have won a large majority.

Elections in Iraq will take at least a year to prepare. The UN points to the lack of electoral law; election lists; electoral districts and an electoral commission as some of the major obstacles. The scheduled handover of authority from the US to Iraq remains June 30. Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise.
The Project on Defense Alternatives examined the Iraq and Afghan wars and points to "Disappearing the Dead" as a way to distort casualties and shape public debate with the false concept of "precision warfare"

A suicide bomber killed himself and seven people riding on a bus in Jerusalem. 66 people were injured. The Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade claimed responsibility. The attack occurred the day before the International Court of Justice opens hearings on the construction of the West Bank barricade and after Israel had announced withdrawal from Gaza and a plan to relocate sections of the barricade. Israeli's parliament has approved more than $20 million new funds for additional settlements on the West Bank.

Qatari authorities have arrested two unnamed suspects in connection with the assassination of former Chechen president and guerilla leader Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev last week.

In the West Bank a firefight between rival Palestinian militant groups killed a 12-year-old boy.

Yemen's President Saleh is meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah to resolve a dispute over Saudi Arabia's construction of a security barrier that Yemen says violates a 2000 border treaty.

7. South Asia

Afghanistan welcomed the registration of its one-millionth voter. The UN plans a massive voter registration campaign for May but there are worries that security concerns may yet delay the elections scheduled for June. More warnings over increasing levels of opium production lend credence to these concerns.

The Project on Defense Alternatives examined the Afghan and Iraq wars and points to "Disappearing the Dead" as a way to distort casualties and shape public debate with the false concept of "precision warfare"

India and Pakistan have met and established a 6-month schedule, or "roadmap", for their discussions on wide-ranging issues including the long-running conflict over Kashmir.

Nepal's Maoist rebels clashed with government troops, killing three soldiers and injuring about 12. Rebel casualties are unknown. Ganesh Chilwal, head of the Maoist Victims' Association and opposed to the rebel movement, was shot dead in his office by two men.

In northern Pakistan, nine schools were burned down in five days. Eight of them were girls' schools and the attacks have been blamed on conservative Islamists opposed to educating females.

8. Cyberterrorism and Information Warfare

The Anti-Phishing Working Group released the latest attack statistics, showing rapid increases in the rate of attacks with a 50 percent increase from December to January, including an average of just under six new attacks every day.

In the UK, the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS) has cracked down on a "missed call marketing" scam. In this fraud, firms use computer-generated calls to ring a number once and hang up, creating a missed call message. If the recipient calls back it is directed to a premium number at significant cost. ICSTIS says this practice is illegal and has shut down two companies that did this.

More viruses are worming their way through the internet. The first exploit related to the leak of Microsoft Windows source code uses a buffer overflow related to bitmap processing in Explorer. Another new exploit is related to the Abstract Syntax Notation flaw. As for worms, Bagle.B harvests addresses from Outlook and installs a trojan horse in infected machines. Netsky-b or Moodown-b is another email worm that comes in infected attachments and spoofs email addresses to make them look familiar.

9. Finance

A joint operation of the US Internal Revenue Service-CI, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) searched the Oregon headquarters of the al Haramain Islamic Foundation in connection with " possible violations of the Internal Revenue Code, the Money Laundering Control Act and the Bank Secrecy Act". Pending results of the investigation, the accounts of the Al Haramain Foundation have been blocked.

Angola has established the Corpo de Seguranca de Diamantes (CSD), a new security agency to monitor the diamond mining sector.

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added the names of 40 Colombians reportedly connected with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, "FARC") and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, "AUC"). There are 19 individuals associated with FARC including Pedro Antonio Marin and Jorge Briceno Suarez. In the AUC 18 individuals, including Carlos Castano Gil and Salvatore Mancuso Gomez, were designated as well as three front companies. They have been added to the "Tier II" list under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

The EU has renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe, including a freeze on President Mugabe and his associate's financial assets and an arms embargo.

10. Human Rights

The European Union held a conference on anti-Semitism, addressing concerns that it may be increasing and promising concrete actin to combat such activities, including making anti-Semitism a European-wide offense.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies published "Human Rights and Counter-terrorism in America's Asia Policy", examining the impact of US policy in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. They find that " the credibility of America's externally directed human rights message has been damaged by US curtailment of the rights of its own citizens and non-citizens."

Canadian judge Louise Arbour has been named the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, replacing Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad last August.

11. Law and Legal Issues

Muhiddin Abdullahi, head of the Almundata Al-Islam Foundation in Kano, Nigeria, has been arrested on suspicion of diverting funds to the militant Al Sunna wal Jamma sect that wants to establish a strict Islamic state in Nigeria.

Jonathan Adair, son of convicted loyalist leader Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair of Belfast, pleaded guilty to drug charges in Manchester, England court.

Mohammed Afzal has been granted a stay of execution by India's Supreme Court. He had been convicted in connection with the 2001 attack on parliament.

Ryan Anderson, a US National Guardsman and recent convert to Islam, has been charged with attempting to supply intelligence to al Qaeda. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death, but his offense is apparently related to attempting to contact al Qaeda through internet chat rooms.

Alessio Casimirri, convicted in Italy in absentia for the kidnap and murder of former Prime Minister Also Moro in 1991, has been living in Nicaragua since 1983 when the Sadinista Front governed. Casimirri says he is a Red Brigades member but not involved in the murder. His wife and another colleague were arrested in Egypt last month. Italy has filed an extradition order with Nicaragua.

Richard Convertino, a terrorism prosecutor in Detroit, has filed a lawsuit against US Attorney General John Ashcroft and other Justice Department officials claiming they compromised an informant, mismanaged cases, exaggerated their performance and interfered with a major investigation.

Charges against Katherine Gun for breaching the British Official Secrets Act by leaking information about spying operations before the invasion of Iraq, will be dropped.

Miguel Nazar Haro, former chief of Mexican intelligence and head of the paramilitary White Brigade, was arrested in connection with government abuses during the "dirty war" of the 1960s and 70s.

Bernardo Arrieta Hernandez and Jose Luis Esteban Navarette-Audelo were arrested in Virginia, US, on charges of running a document fraud ring selling counterfeit Social Security and green cards and work permits.

"Sandor K", a suspected Hungarian secret agent on Germany's most-wanted list for ten years, has been arrested in Germany for his actions during the cold war.

Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba ("Papa Wemba"), famed Congolese singer, has been charged in Belgium with human trafficking under cover of his band. He is freed on bail.

Mullah Kreker, head of Ansar al Islam, has been released from Oslo prison where he had been held pending investigations into an alleged conspiracy to murder rivals in Iraq.

Neil Latimer has launched a fourth appeal to overturn his 1983 conviction of murdering a Catholic man.

Jacob D Miller of Hadley, Massachusetts US, has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for making bombs in his home.

Jose Padilla's indefinite detention as an "enemy combatant" will be reviewed by the US Supreme Court.

Caliph Basha Ibn Abdur-Raheem, alleged to be the member of a Virginia jihadist group, has been freed by US federal court after prosecutors failed to provide any evidence he had been involved in conspiracy to train for foreign combat. Three other men on trial still face several charges.

Loai Salama of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) has been deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. He had been arrested during a raid and detained by Israeli Defense Forces for two years without trial.

12. Transportation

The British Airlines Plots Association has continued their "Keep Britain Flying" campaign by meeting with the US pilot's association to discuss a range of issues related to security, unnecessary cancellations, the quality of US intelligence, and deployment of sky marshals.

Tony Seideman writes of "Freight Forwarding Heads Into A World of Change: New Regulatory environment and IT advancements figure prominently for shippers" in the March issue of World Trade.,3483,118609,00.html

13. Weapons of Mass Destruction

UN inspectors have found sophisticated uranium enrichment equipment in Iran, casting further doubt on the accuracy and completeness of its initial declaration.

Russia has completed two days of high profile large military exercises and say they have successfully tested a new strategic missile system that could evade defense systems.

Researchers at the UK Ministry of Defense Porton Down laboratory have successfully tested a vaccine against bubonic plague that will allow large-scale human trials to proceed.

The US National Academy of Sciences issued reports on climate change and human toxicity research. The first finds that "The federal government should implement its revised strategic plan for climate change research as soon as possible..... the plan is 'much improved,' broader in scope and more ambitious than a previously reviewed draft, but commitments to fund many of the newly proposed activities are lacking". The second report found that "When regulating chemicals to protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should consider information from studies that involve intentionally dosing humans with toxic chemicals only if such experiments meet stringent scientific and ethical standards".

The Union of Concerned Scientists weighed in with another important policy report, detailing accusations that " On a wide range of issues the Bush administration is suppressing and distorting scientific analysis from federal agencies and taking actions that have undermined the quality scientific advisory panels. This misuse of science has serious consequences for our health, safety, and environment."

14. Recently Published

Carlos Eire "Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy" Free Press/Scribner

Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy "The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold" Brookings Institution

Panos Karnezis, "The Maze" (novel, Turkish war of independence), Farrar Straus and Giroux/ Jonathan Cape Reviews:,6121,1142446,00.html

Yasmina Khadra, "The Swallows of Kabul", Doubleday

Benny Morris, " The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited" Cambridge University Press

Kevin Phillips "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush" Viking

Words Without Borders


Visitors to Cyprus can take a romantic trip to the Baths of Aphrodite, a natural grotto surrounded by fig trees and ferns, where the Greek goddess of love is said to have bathed. But the recent history of this beautiful Mediterranean island has been dominated by ethnic conflict that only in the last few weeks shows signs of resolution.

Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, was first occupied by hunter-gatherers in about 8500 BC but by 1700 BC had developed a cultured and literate city. They were ruled by the Hittites, Egyptians, and Persians and in the mid-300s BC were under Hellenistic rule, in which the Greek gods and culture dominated. The Roman Empire provided 350 years of peace and prosperity but as a part of the Byzantine Empire religious conflict against the Islamic empires emerged. In 1914 Britain annexed Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire because of its support for Germany.

Greek Cypriots began a guerilla war for independence from Britain (some favoring unification with Greece) in 1955, led by the National Organization of Cypriot Combatants (Ethnike Organosis Kypriakou Agonoseoka, EOKA) and its leader, Archbishop Makarios, who later became the island's first elected president. The British considered EOKA a terrorist group, citing their four-year bombing campaign, including destruction of British aircraft and shooting attacks.

The Zurich Agreement was signed on February 11, 1959. It laid out the basic structure of the Republic of Cyprus. It was a presidential system with universal suffrage and equal rights for the languages and cultures of both communities. Each community had a Communal Chamber with elected representatives to exercise local communal authority. Federal institutions such as the civil service, judiciary and military were defined with specific percentages of communal participation. Britain, Greece and Turkey were guaranteed the right to intervene to protect the agreement and Britain retained two military bases. With this framework, Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960.

This framework permitted neither unification nor separation and to some extent institutionalized communalism. Greek Cypriots felt that the Turks were given disproportionate influence and disliked the separate Chambers. They also opposed integrating Turks into Greek military units. In 1963 President Makarios proposed constitutional changes to resolve these and similar issues, attempting to act quickly and preempt outside intervention.

Communal violence broke out. Starting with the death of a Turkish-Cypriot couple, it soon engulfed the whole island and there was a risk of war between Greece and Turkey. British troops and subsequently UN forces arrived to help secure peace on the island. The Green Line was established, dividing the Greeks from the Turkish. UN Security Council Resolution 186 implied that the Greek Cypriot government was the legitimate government of Cyprus but did not condone partition. The Turkish community was consolidated and isolated in the north.

For the next few years the situation was stable but in 1967 a military junta seized power in Greece with a vision of uniting Cyprus with Greece. In 1974 the Greek junta backed a coup against Makarios, who escaped and returned after the coup collapsed. (He remained in office until his death in 1977.) Turkish troops landed in the north to protect the Turkish community.

Turkey and Greece were on the verge of war, narrowly averted with help from the US and the guarantor countries of Greece, Turkey and Britain. They agreed to a new ceasefire line and suggested two autonomous communities. Whether this was a separatist or a federalist solution was not defined, but the island was divided in two.

In 1975 the Turkish Cypriots in the north established an independent administration. Rauf Denktash became president and declared independence in 1983. Only Turkey recognized the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Denktash has held the post ever since. Since Makarios death in 1977, the Greek Cypriots have had four Presidents. Currently Glafcos Clerides holds that position.

Peace talks have been attempted repeatedly ever since, interrupted by periods of crisis and tension, but making little progress. At times, terrorism has been used as a political weapon, including violent intimidation and assassinations on both sides. There have also been links to Kurdish separatists of the former PKK.

The UN mission, begun in March 1964, monitors the Green Line buffer zone. At this time it is commanded by Major-General Herbert Joaquin Figoli Almandos of Uruguay who commands a force of more than 1200 troops aided by civilian police and other personnel. They come from Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Paraguay, Peru, Slovakia, UK, and Uruguay, with a budget of $45.77 million. In addition, more than 30,000 Turkish troops are still stationed on the island.

After more than 40 years it is, finally, an economic opportunity that appears to have opened the door to a peaceful solution. In December 2002, the EU invited Cyprus to join in May 2004 provided that the two communities agree to a UN plan by spring 2003. Without reunification, only the Greek Cypriot government (the only one internationally recognized) will be a member, thus further isolating the Turkish Cypriots. Turkey is also keen to join the EU, and its success in that endeavor is tied, among other things, to successful negotiation of this reunification.

The spring 2003 deadline was missed and the UN plan was acknowledged a failure. Greek and Turkish Cypriots took matters into their own hands. On April 23 Denktash announced amended travel restrictions, allowing people to cross the Green Line for the first time in a generation. In the first three days 17,000 people crossed and celebrated the historic event. In December, elections in the Turkish north equally backed pro- and anti-unification forces and agreement supporter Mehmet Ali Talat formed a coalition government.

This month the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders agreed to work with the UN in a last-minute effort to reach agreement before the May EU deadline. They agreed that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would resolve any disputes they cannot settle.

The 200-page "Annan Plan" proposes a federal government with two equal constituent states, similar to that of Swiss cantons. The balancing act in this arrangement needs to cover issues of power sharing, territory, compensation, demilitarization, settlements, citizenship, protection of minority and majority interests, federal institutions including the judiciary, and participation in the international community.

Once the negotiations are completed in March, simultaneous referendums will be held on April 21.

In addition to stabilizing relations between Greece and Turkey, the economic situation in the north of the country would be significantly improved. Successful reunification of Cyprus would address transnational issues such as its location as a maritime transit point for drug and arms trafficking and to improve its efforts to combat anti-money laundering, including that associated with Kurdish separatists of the former PKK. Reunification would also have a significant effect on the tourist trade, the largest source of income on the island, including potential negative changes in cruise shipping stopovers related to EU tax laws.

Further Reading:

* BBC "Cyprus Divided Island", "Flashback to 1974"
* Chronological History of Cyprus
* Cyprus Tourism Organization
* The Cyprus Weekly
* European Commission Enlargement
* Government (Greek)
* Independent Media
* Kypros Net
* Northern Cyprus (Turkish republic)
* United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
* The Annan Plan

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We look forward to hearing from you.
Editorial Team
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