The United States could be looking at several countries as the next staging areas in the war on terrorism. Some nations are possible targets because their governments have engaged in state-sponsored terrorism for decades; others have turned a blind eye to terrorist cells in their midst or are unable to get rid of them. Here's a look at possible options for U.S. intervention:
• Iran: Experts have expressed hope over the moderate movement emerging in this Muslim republic, but it continues to harbor such anti-Israel terrorist organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestine Islamic Jihad.
• Iraq: Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has reportedly increased his arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons while failing to comply fully with U.N. weapons inspections. Investigators say they have also established loose ties connecting him to 9/11.
• Philippines/Indonesia: Governments of both nations are willing to work with the United States to root out the Muslim organizations terrorizing countries.
• Somalia: Recent U.S. intelligence has found that an Al Qaeda cell is hiding in this Islamic fundamentalist-dominated nation.
• Sudan: Despite a recent pledge to work with the United States, Sudan still acts as a safe haven for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Palestine Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
• Syria: The headquarters for Hamas is based in this Mideast nation, which also acts as a safe haven for Hezbollah and other anti-Zionist terrorist organizations.
• Yemen: Known as a safe haven for several Muslim terrorist organizations, its Aden port city was the site of the U.S.S. Cole bombing in 2000.