3 November 2017

Africa: Asia Not Left Out!

analysis

Terrorists groups like Daesh or ISIS, Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf... remain dreadful even as countries device diverse strategies as well as resources to combat the ill.

It is a truism that terrorism is a common enemy wreaking havoc almost everywhere and on whomever it meets on its path. With globalisation which entails evolution of networks, trade and technology that connects people and places around the world, there are rather regrettable happenings like migration of terrorist fighters and transnational organised crime. It may have different names, modes of operation and sometimes desired goals, but the bottom line is that perpetrators seek to kill, steal and destroy. They derive pleasure when mankind is in pains.

Growing Threats Various extremist groups used violent tactics during anti-colonial periods, and in the 1990s, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. A further wave of the post-9/11 attacks killed hundreds, notably the 2002 Bali attacks. Other groups like Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have had an enduring violent presence in the region. In the face of these, Asia has not been left out in the struggle to annihilate the destroyer.

Mobilisation Asian countries are striving to federate their efforts so as to knock off the common enemy. For example, countries of Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are accelerating their integration and development into an Economic Community while at the same time working tirelessly to keep pace with the complex growing security threats from dreadful terrorist groups like Daesh or Islamic State. Reports say the group has attracted radicalised youth from every corner of the earth, including Asia wherein over 1,500 youth are estimated to have travelled from far and near to fight for the so-called "Caliphate". Scholars, policymakers and activists are increasing anti-terror efforts under an umbrella, "winning hearts and minds." Apologist of what pundits have qualified "restorative approach" hold the view that if radicalisation is central to terrorist recruitment, victory against the terror can only be achieved by disrupting narratives said to be central to the radicalisation.

Existing Terrorism-combat Resources Besides resources from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that are targeted towards reducing terrorism attacks and pre-empting fresh ones, Asian countries equally rely on the Counter Terrorism Action Plans. This provides a checklist of counter terrorism measures comprising; securing cargo, protecting people in transit, protecting ships and planes engaged in international voyages and international aviation; combating threats to security; halting the financing of terrorism and promotion of cyber security.

Surmountable Challenges Although countries are unwaveringly mobilising to combat the scourge, analysts are of the opinion that to provide a comprehensive answer posed by transnational crime and terrorism in Asia, regional security and development agendas need to be connected and better coordinated. This is more so as facts on the ground testify to the fact that it is not sustainable for countries to continue to address terrorism and transnational crime from a narrow interest perspective. Governments may consider refining and improving retributive measures that deter and punish terrorism and heavily invest in restorative approaches that have the propensity to disrupt cycles of radicalisation. Neglecting one course of action at the expense of another is risky.

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