News / Asia

Asia Faces Diminished Terror Threat 10 Years After 9/11 Attacks

Brian Padden

The September 11, 2001 terror attacks on America initially inspired some Islamic extremist groups in Asia, but over the last decade the terrorist threat in Asia has either diminished or has been confined to remote areas away from major cities and tourist destinations. The success of the war on terror in Asia is in part due to effective law enforcement, but also because the conditions that sustain terrorist movements do not exist in much of Asia.

After seeing the U.S. military response to the 2001 attacks on America, Indonesian Islamic militant groups shifted their focus from attacking local Christians to joining the al Qaida-led jihad against the West. The change in strategy led directly to the Bali Bombing in 2002 that killed over 200 people, mostly Australian tourists. Other attacks followed. But law enforcement efforts to disrupt and dismantle terrorist groups over the last 10 years have been successful. And public trials have turned popular opinion against groups involved in the killing of innocent people.

Sidney Jones, Southeast Asia security analyst with the International Crisis Group, says the strategy to attack Western targets also proved over time not to be popular in local radical circles.

"The people who got involved in radical movements overwhelmingly got involved for local reasons, even though solidarity with Muslims persecuted overseas was a very important part of the rhetoric, but the drivers were local," Jones explains.

She says Indonesian extremist groups are now shifting back to local targets. The last major terrorist attack was the 2009 bombing of two hotels in Jakarta, but attacks against local religious minority groups and police have been on the rise.

In the Malaysia, the Philippines, China and Thailand, the issues that drive Islamic militant groups are also local.

In southern Thailand, indiscriminate bombings and attacks against civilians have been linked to a Muslim insurgent movement fighting for independence.
Srisompob Jitpiromsri is director of the insurgency monitoring group Deep South Watch. In Thailand, he says, groups who engage in violence have not been linked to international terrorist organizations.  He says the roots of their conflict are based more on discrimination against the ethnic Malays than on religious ideology.

"This kind of identity has been suppressed or subjugated by the central government for over, you know, many decades," Srisompob  says. "You might say that, you know, 100 years ago, it has developed since this area of the southern border of Thailand has been annexed into Thailand or Thai Kingdom."

He says the conflict will continue to simmer until a political settlement can be reached.

There have been incidents of violence and tension in western China's Xinjiang province between Muslim Uighurs residents and Han Chinese immigrates.  Chien-peng Chung, associate professor of political science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, says economic problems lie at the heart of this conflict and so far China has not used the threat of terror to crack down on its disgruntled Muslim minority.

"I could not say there is systemic suppression of ethnic minorities or of their grievances. Certainly not until and unless it erupts in violence. Then the Chinese government would most likely take some action,"  Chung says.

He says China is taking steps in the right direction to address the cause of the conflict by providing a number of university scholarships and government jobs to the Uighur minority.

But it was in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, where the terrorist threat after 9/11 was the greatest.
Security analyst Jones says that while dismantling militant groups and addressing real grievances are important, Indonesia's success in reducing terror attacks was due in part to the growth of democracy.

"If you look at where terrorism arises, there are usually three factors," notes Jones. "Either a place is under occupation, i.e. Palestine or Chechnya, or it faces a repressive government, or it has an alienated immigrant community. And Indonesia has none of the above."

While terrorism in Asia has so far been contained, Jones says authorities and the public must remain on guard against even a small number of extremists intent on using violence to impose their will.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid