Thursday, January 20, 2011

Four-Class Division of Terrorism in Southeast Asia

By Rommel C. Banlaoi

Terrorism in Southeast Asia has various manifestations because of its historical complexities and current political realities.  Andrew T. H. Tan has formulated a four-class division of terrorism and insurgency in Southeast Asia to highlight the complexities of terrorist threats in the region.[1]  

The Table below provides the four-class division of terrorism in Southeast Asia.

FOUR-CLASS DIVISION OF TERRORISM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Category
Groups
Country
1.       Separatist Insurgencies
Fretilin, Organisasi Papua Merdeka, Gerakan Aceh Merdeka

Hmong rebels

Karen National Union, Kachin Independence Organization, China National Front, Shan State Army, Rohingya Solidarity Organization

Moro Islamic  Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group, Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement

Pattani United Liberation Organization, Barisan Revolusi Nasional

Indonesia


Laos

Myanmar



Philippines



Thailand
2.      Armed Anti-Government Political Opposition Groups
Burma Student Democratic Front, National Council Union of Burma

Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front

Communist Party of Thailand
Myanmar


Philippines



Thailand
3.       Radical Islamist Groups
Jemaah Islamiyah

Kampulan Majahideen Malaysia

Rohingya Solidarity Organization

Moro Islamic  Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group, Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement

Gerakan Majahideen Islam Pattani
Indonesia

Malaysia

Myanmar

Philippines



Thailand
4.       Overt Radical Organizations
Majelis Muhajideen Indonesia (Laskar Jundullah, Laska Jihad, Front Permbella Islam, and Komite Solidaritas Islam)

Islamic Studies, Call and Guidance (ISCAG), Darul Hijra Foundation, Fi-Sabilillah Da’wah and Media Foundation (FSDMF)
Indonesia



Philippines

Sources:  Andrew T.H. Tan, “Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia” in Andrew T.H. Tan (ed), A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia (Great Britain and Massachusetts:  Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc., 2007), pp. 11-13; Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Transnational Islam in the Philippines” in Peter Mandaville, Farish Noor, Alexander Horstmann, Dietrich Reetz, Ali Riaz, Animesh Roul, Noorhadi Hasan, Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Rommel C. Banlaoi and Joseph C. Liow, Transnational Islam in South and Southeast Asia:  Movements, Networks and Conflict Dynamics (Seatlle, Washington:  National Bureau of Asian Research, 2009), pp. 182-184.


            The first division consists of separatist insurgencies that utilize terrorism as part of their tactics. These separatist groups are marginalized and regarded as victims of political exclusion.  They carry the features of long-running civil conflicts that pose great challenge to the legitimacy of existing regimes in the region. 

The second division pertains to armed anti-government political opposition groups created to address some deeply-rooted political, economic and social grievances.  These groups have “special operation units” that use terrorism to attract political attention.   

The third division refers to radical Islamist groups aiming to establish a Islamic State through the violent overthrow of the existing governments in the region.  These groups justify the use of terrorism through its violent extremist ideology. Groups belonging to the third category are linked to Al-Qaeda  and/or part of what Andrew Tan calls the Afghan mujahedeen network.       

Finally, the fourth division is largely based in Indonesia.  It pertains to overt and legitimate radical organizations that are sympathetic to radical Islamist groups.  Though these groups assert their right to participate in the democratic political process, Tan argues that these groups have the potential to use violence because of their ideological and personal associations with groups involved in terrorist acts.


[This piece is taken from Rommel C. Banlaoi, Counter-Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia:  How Effective Are They? (Manila: Yuchengco Center, 2009)].

[1] Andrew T.H. Tan, “Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia” in Andrew T.H. Tan (ed), A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia (Great Britain and Massachusetts:  Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc., 2007), p. 11.

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