A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia
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A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia

Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan

This timely and significant book seeks to explain the deep-seated complexities of terrorism and insurgency in Southeast Asia. In the aftermath of 9/11, this region has been designated by the United States to be the ‘second front’ in the war on terrorism. Yet despite the emergence of this ‘new’ global terrorism, the authors argue that armed rebellion in Southeast Asia is a phenomenon that predates Al Qaeda and the global Jihadist movement and that much can be learned from the motivations behind it.
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Chapter 3: Old Terrorism in Southeast Asia: A Survey

Andrew T.H. Tan


Andrew T.H. Tan The four-class division in categorizing contemporary terrorism and insurgency in Southeast Asia was discussed in the first chapter. Such a division is necessary due to the need to identify better the diverse nature of terrorism and insurgency within the region. The first class are separatist insurgencies. The second consists of armed anti-government political opposition groups. The third comprises radical Islamist groups which aim to overthrow the central government by force and impose a Muslim state run strictly according to the sharia or Muslim laws. The final group is an amorphous mix of mostly overt and currently legitimate radical organizations that have known sympathies for radical Islamist ideology, but which are seen by governments and some analysts to possess the potential for violence. This chapter complements Chapter 2 (which discusses the rise of the new terrorism in Southeast Asia), by examining the continued salience of the old ethno-nationalist and political terrorism that pre-dates the new postmodern terrorism. A brief survey of selected examples, from the long list of such terrorist and insurgent movements in the region will demonstrate the salience of fundamental causes of political repression, poverty, economic disparities and environmental degradation that underlie each of these rebellions. It will also be obvious that terrorism and insurgency within the region is not confined exclusively to Muslim separatism or Islamist terrorist groups. Indeed, the following brief survey will include non-Muslim examples such as the Christian Karen in Myanmar, the Hmong in Laos and the Communist Party of the...

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