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Report: US May Shift Terror Policies

The US administration has launched a high-level internal review of its efforts to battle international terrorism, and the review might move a policy stressing efforts to capture and kill al Qaida leaders toward a broader "strategy against violent extremism," The Washington Post reported Sunday.

The shift is meant to recognize the transformation of al Qaida over the past three years into a far more amorphous, diffuse and difficult-to-target organization than the group that struck the United States in 2001, the report said.

President George W. Bush's top adviser on terrorism, Frances Fragos Townsend, told the newspaper that the review is needed to take into account the "ripple effect" from years of operations targeting al Qaida leaders.

The review marks the first ambitious effort since the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks to take stock of what the administration has called the "global war on terrorism" but is now considering changing to recognize the evolution of its fight.

In many ways, the report said, the review is the culmination of a heated debate that has been taking place inside and outside the government about how to target not only the remnants of al Qaida but also broader support in the Muslim world for radical Islam, and another key aspect is likely to be the addition of public diplomacy efforts aimed at winning over Arab public sentiment.

The policy review was initiated this spring and is being led by Townsend, and may lead to a new national security presidential directive, superseding the October 2001 document signed by Bush that pledged the "elimination of terrorism as a threat to our way of life," the report cited several administration officials as saying.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2005)

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