Live

Watch CBSN Live

Terror's Scorecard

The State Department is to release later today its annual report on terrorism in the world. This year's volume is expected to be one of the most extensive ever - recapping a year that included the Sept. 11 attacks as well as the launch of Washington's global "war on terror."

CBS News State Department Reporter Charles Wolfson says this year's report on The Patterns of Global Terrorism features the twin towers of the World Trade Center on the cover - and is twice as long as reports in recent years.

While Sept. 11's carnage pushed the total number of deaths from terrorism in 2001 to over 3,500 - almost five times more than any other year - the number of individual terrorist incidents declined, from 426 two years ago to 346 last year.

The State Department report is not expected to throw much new light on the events of Sept. 11 or on the status of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization, blamed by Washington for the attacks which killed more than 3,000 people.

Traditionally conservative, the U.S. State Department is unlikely to make any changes in the standard blacklist of seven countries designated as "state sponsors of terrorism" - Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

Three of those countries - Iran, Iraq and North Korea - were singled out by President Bush early this year in his State of the Union speech, as being part of what he called an "axis of evil."

This month, Undersecretary of State John Bolton made similar accusations against Cuba, Libya and Syria in a speech entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil."

Analysts will read the wording on Sudan carefully to see how seriously the United States is taking the Khartoum government's promises of cooperation against extremists.

U.S. officials say that Sudan, where Osama bin Laden lived in the early 1990s, has provided information about extremist groups and made some arrests among their ranks.

The report, covering the calendar year 2001 and omitting the events of the months since the start of 2002, does not usually add new groups to the separate list of 33 "foreign terrorist organizations" (FTOs) but sometimes drops groups which have become irrelevant through inactivity.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, in the name of its war on terrorism, the Bush administration has already added several Middle East groups to the list, including the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the Palestinian territories, Osbat al-Ansar in south Lebanon and an Algerian fundamentalist organization known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.

Two Pakistani-based Kashmiri groups accused of links with al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, joined the list in December as the United States tried to persuade the Pakistani government to crack down on their activities.

On the eve of the attacks, the administration had put the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) on the list, reflecting a gradual shift towards more robust support for the Colombian government against all armed groups.

In the meantime, adding to the confusion over the status of a multitude of groups, many of which have several aliases, the Bush administration has created two new lists - one for people and entities subject to financial restrictions and one for those subject to immigration controls.

Whatever changes do appear in the report are likely to be on a fourth informal list of so-called other terrorist groups. That list implies no legal sanctions but acts as a "watch list" for possible FTOs.

This is where the U.S. State Department, out of deference to the Northern Ireland peace process, puts most of the Irish republican and Ulster loyalist groups which have practiced violence against each other over the years.

View CBS News In