Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan
Chapter 1: Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia
Andrew T.H. Tan Terrorism in Southeast Asia After the seminal terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001, Southeast Asia was designated the ‘second front’ in the ‘global war on terrorism’. Yet, from a perspective that initially emphasized a narrow counter-terrorism approach, there has been a gradual appreciation that underlying terrorism within the region are fundamental grievances of a political, economic and social nature that pre-dated al-Qaeda and the events of 9/11. Indeed, Southeast Asia has experienced numerous internal conﬂicts since de-colonization after 1945, with the legitimacy of the state being questioned through armed insurgencies from those disaﬀected elements on the geographical periphery, those who belong to diﬀerent ethnic or religious groups, or those who espouse a diﬀerent political ideology. The experience of communist and separatist insurgencies that aﬀected many states in Southeast Asia after 1945 has deeply imbibed the region with the notion of comprehensive security approaches in countering such rebellions, given the recognition that the fundamental grievances that underlie these insurgencies need to be addressed if there is to be progress in counterinsurgency eﬀorts. The comparative recent emergence of ‘non-traditional security issues’ in the academic literature after the end of the Cold War was therefore not a surprise to a region that had already experienced insurgencies and terrorism on a major scale and which had a history of searching for ‘comprehensive security’ solutions to such armed challenges to the state, solutions that encompass political, economic, social, ideological and military measures.1...
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