Terrorism, Security and the Power of Informal Networks

Terrorism, Security and the Power of Informal Networks

Edited by David Martin Jones, Ann Lane and Paul Schulte

This innovative work examines the concept of the informal network and its practical utility within the context of counterterrorism. Drawing together a range of practitioner and academic expertise it explores the character and evolution of informal networks, addressing the complex relationship between kinship groups, transnational linkages and the role that globalization and new technologies play in their formation and sustainability.

Chapter 7: Informal Networks in Southeast Asia: The Case of Jemaah Islamiah and its Affiliates

David Martin Jones

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, terrorism and security


David Martin Jones The Bali nightclub bombings of October 2002, which killed 202 people, graphically demonstrated the existence of an Islamist terror network in Southeast Asia. To be sure, in the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington,1 both the Singapore and Malaysian governments had detained a number of suspects in late 2001. Nevertheless, official and academic opinion had, until Bali, either neglected or discountenanced the extent to which a global transnational terror network, to use Marc Sageman and Scott Atran’s term, had established itself across the region.2 This neglect was the more surprising given the often intrusive intelligence structures in many Southeast Asian countries that failed to predict the threat it posed to regional order. The oversight reflected the fact that these intelligence services imbibed the official regional view, purveyed by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), that asserted regional harmony and stability among its membership. Consequently, the state intelligence agencies within the ASEAN grouping, preoccupied with internal security, paid minimal attention to transnational risks.3 This, in turn, influenced academic and media commentary upon the region, that neglected sources of instability. Regional intelligence cooperation prior to the 9/11 attacks was poor, and there was little awareness of the character and evolution of crime and terror networks. In particular, there existed a collective nescience concerning the growing ideological links between the most militant jihadist group in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiah (JI), and the globalizing transnational network pretensions of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.4 The object of...

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