With some Southeast Asian Muslims raising funds and recruiting fighters for Syria, concerns are growing that these activities will eventually raise the risk of terrorism in the region. The numbers are still low, but some governments—Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in particular—are beginning to wonder what the impact will be a few years hence if some of their extremist nationals or neighbors come back with new skills.
The past decade has seen a steady decline in the extremist threat from the region, which was once seen as a possible “second front” for al-Qaida. Enhanced vigilance, good law enforcement, reasonably cooperative interstate relations, the peaceful resolution of communal conflicts in Indonesia and the closing of major terrorist training centers have combined to weaken the networks that had posed the biggest threat. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the group responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings, once had a presence in five countries. But by 2003, it had largely been reduced to Indonesia, and its leaders decided to end violent action there in 2007. They argued that it had become counterproductive, caused unnecessary Muslim deaths, had weakened the organization through arrests and was not supported by the community. JI should therefore focus on religious outreach and education until the organization could be rebuilt, the leaders believed. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Nile Deal Signals Regional Reset Among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia
- The Realist Prism: For Iran Nuclear Deal, All Scenarios Amount to Leap of Faith
- International Pressure Could Still Turn the Tide on Mekong Dams
- Like It or Not, U.S. Needs Iran to Stabilize the Middle East
- Global Insights: Spoilers Emerge as Iran Nuclear Talks Reach Delicate Endgame