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Asean Affairs  2 May 2011

The post Bin-Laden era in Asia

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     2 May 2011

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One story dominates today news-the killing of Osama bin Laden by United States forces in an affluent suburb north of Islamabad, Abbottabad, 100 yards from from one of Pakistan’s top military academies.

The death of bin Laden resembles the death of a longtime national leader and raises the question-“What’s next?”

During Bin Laden’s tenure the goal was to establish autonomous terrorist groups that could act independently. That goal apparently has been successful. The recent arrest of three German nationals plotting to cause mayhem in Dusseldorf, Germany, is yet another example of the decentralization of Al-Qaida.

The strongest wing of Al-Qaida is now in Yemen.

It is safe to project that the death of bin Laden may inspire others to pursue terrorist activities with renewed vengeance.

Turning to Asean, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, have all been sites for Muslim terrorist activities.

The foiling of the recent Good Friday bomb plot on a Catholic church in Indonesia is good evidence of the continuing appeal of terrorism to small groups in the world’s largest Muslim country. The Bali bombing mastermind , Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Issamuddin, was caught in Thailand in 2003. That is further evidence that Asean countries can be a location for terrorists.

Ansyaad Mbai, the head of the Indonesian government's agency BNPT tasked to curb terror acts, said bin Laden’s death reduces the worldwide terrorism threat. However, there is no guarantee of that.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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