Countering Transnational Terrorism in Southeast Asia with Respect to Terrorism in Indonesia and the Philippines   [open pdf - 546KB]

Southeast Asia is experiencing tremendous changes both politically and economically. Religious and ethnic issues have increased significantly. The move away from traditional to modern systems creates a degree of instability, eroding the existing system's socioeconomic and politico-psychological tenets, giving rise to counter-elites and opposition groups, and paving the way for a resurgence of racial terrorism and ethnic animosities. Although unfamiliar with insurgencies, Southeast Asia, long considered the "Islamic periphery" owing to its moderate Islamic stance, pluralism and nationalism, is facing a more complex challenge. The root causes of terrorism, both domestic and international, are varied and complex. Some factors are essentially ideological and include religious and ethnonationalistic extremism. An adequate response requires counter-terrorist policies to interact with broader foreign policy. To be effective, counter-terrorism demands understanding the terrorist's psychology, motivation and goals. Multilateral diplomatic efforts such as the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) or the ASEAN Regional Forum (AFR) assist in forging substantive agreements that will enhance the sharing of information, tighten border agreements, and reinforce law enforcement cooperation. For example, the United States-ASEAN joint declaration on counter-terrorism, among other goals, pledges to share intelligence, block terrorist funds, tighten borders, and crack down on forged travel documents.

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