Terrorism: Patterns of Internationalization


Edited by: Jaideep Saikia & Ekaterina Stepanova

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    Views expressed in the various chapters are those of the contributors and not necessarily that of the editors

    List of Abbreviations

    AHABAhle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh
    AMIAArgentine Jewish Community Center
    ARNOArakanese Rohingya Nationalist Organization
    ATTFAll Tripura Tiger Force
    AUCAutodefensa Unida de Colombia
    BBCBritish Broadcasting Corporation
    BNPBangladesh Nationalist Party
    CBRNChemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Materials
    CCOMPOSACo-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia
    CIACentral Intelligence Agency
    CNNCable News Network
    CPAComprehensive Peace Agreement (Nepal, 2006)
    CPI (M-L)Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
    CPICommunist Party of India
    CPN (M)Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
    CRPFCentral Reserve Police Force
    CSACovenant, Sword, and Arm of the Lord
    DDIIDewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia
    DGFIDirectorate General of Forces Intelligence
    DINAvenging Israel's Blood
    DMKDravida Munnetra Kazhagam
    ELNEjército de Liberación National
    EROSEelam Revolutionary Organization of Students
    ERPEjército Revolucionario del Pueblo
    ETAEuskadi ta Askatasuna
    EuropolEuropean Police Office
    FACFast Attack Craft
    FALFuerzas Armadas de Liberación
    FARCFuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia
    FBIFederal Bureau of Investigation
    FLNFront de Libération Nationale
    FSBFederal Security Bureau
    FTOForeign Terrorist Organization
    FUIMuslim Ummah Forum
    GAMFree Aceh Movement
    GMIPMujaheedin Movement of Pattani
    HamasHarakat al-Mukawama al-Islamiya
    HEUHighly Enriched Uranium
    HRWHuman Rights Watch
    HTIHizbut Tahrir Indonesia
    IBBLIslami Bank Bangladesh Limited
    ICGInternational Crisis Group
    ICNAIslamic Circle of North America
    ICSIslami Chatra Shibir
    IDFIsrael Defence Forces
    IDLIslamic Democratic League
    IHLInternational Humanitarian Law
    IICOInternational Islamic Charitable Organization
    IIFInternational Islamic Front
    IISSInternational Institute of Strategic Studies
    IIUInternational Islamic Universities
    IPKFIndian Peace Keeping Force
    IRAIrish Republican Army
    ISIInter Services Intelligence
    JIJemaah Islamiyah
    JIJKJamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir
    JKLFJammu Kashmir Liberation Front
    JMBJama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh
    JMJBJagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh
    KMMMalaysian Mujaheedin Group
    LoCLine of Control
    LTTELiberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
    MI 5Directorate of Military Intelligence, Section 5
    MILFMoro Islamic Liberation Front
    MIPTMemorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
    MIRMovimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria
    MMIMajlis Mujaheedin Indonesia
    MPCMinnesota Patriots Council
    MUFMuslim United Front
    MWLMuslim World League
    NATONorth Atlantic Treaty Organization
    NORAIDIrish Northern Aid Committee
    NSINational Security Intelligence
    PAPalestinian Authority
    PFLPPopular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
    PLOPalestine Liberation Organization
    PoKPakistan-occupied Kashmir
    PULOPattani United Liberation Organization
    PUPJIPedoman Umum Perjuangan Al-Jamaah
    RCMPRoyal Canadian Mounted Police
    RDDRadiological Dispersal Device
    RIHSRevival of Islamic Heritage Society
    RIMRevolutionary Internationalist Movement
    RPGRocket-propelled Grenade
    RSORohingya Solidarity Organization
    RURabitatul Mujaheedin
    SIMIStudents’ Islamic Movement of India
    SPASeven-Party Alliance
    SPINSegmented Polycentric Ideologically
    Integrated Network
    TELOTamil Eelam Liberation Organization
    TIITentera Islam Indonesia
    Triple AArgentine Anticommunist Alliance
    TROTamil Rehabilitation Organization
    TTNTamil Television Network
    TULFTamil United Liberation Front
    TWEEDTerrorism in Western Europe Events Dataset
    UKUnited Kingdom
    ULFAUnited Liberation Front of Asom
    WAMYWorld Assembly of Muslim Youth
    WPRMWorld People's Resistance Movement
    WTCCWorld Tamil Coordinating Committee
    YCLYoung Communists League


    EkaterinaStepanova and JaideepSaikia

    Terrorism must be held to be wrong in every case.

    —Mahatma Gandhi

    Greater the sensitivity of security threat that international terrorism begets, the greater is the political and public confusion and speculation it generates. Also, pressing is the need to clarify its key patterns and trends. Poor and politically speculative analysis of this complex phenomenon leads to inaccurate threat assessment, misguided policy decisions and public perception.

    In an era marked by conflicting tendencies of globalization and localization, the processes, forms, stages and degrees of internationalization, and even transnationalization, of modern terrorism, have not been addressed comprehensively and systematically. So far, only certain aspects of the problem, such as the nature and extent of state support to terrorism and the financing of transnational terrorism (Murphy 1989; Byman 2005; Napoleoni 2003), have received some attention from academic, political analysts and certain state actors.

    Terrorism is diverse in its manifestations and is spread across different political and regional dimensions and at different levels—from local to global. The notion of ‘international terrorism’ is particularly blurred and misleading. As this confusion is partly generated by a lack of clarity about the definition of terrorism and understanding of how it is different from other forms of violence, a sound way to begin the quest is to attempt to provide a definition. Unlike most sceptics, who argue that terrorism as a term is so politically contested that it is almost impossible to come up with a clear definition, the editors of the book have a different point of view.

    The editors’ understanding of terrorism is, first and foremost, that it is a tactic that involves the threat and use of violence in order to achieve a political goal. This goal may be formulated in ideological or religious terms, but it invariably retains a political element. However, while the political motivation of terrorism can by no means justify the violence it perpetrates, it does help to distinguish it from—and, in fact, makes it more dangerous than—plain crime, motivated solely or primarily by material gain. To put it simply, if there is no political motivation behind an attack or threat of force, it can be stated that there is no terrorism involved.2

    Second, terrorism is different from the classic guerrilla warfare in that it directly and explicitly targets non-combatants, or is intentionally indiscriminate in its method, causing civilian casualties. In contrast, rebel attacks against armed combatants—for instance, government forces—should be distinguished from terrorism and should be referred to as insurgency, or ‘guerrilla warfare’. However, the same militant group can both target civilians in terrorist attacks and attack government forces. One of the editors, Jaideep Saikia, had earlier questioned whether countries such as India have deliberately kept a flexible anti-terrorism policy? According to him, the dilemma that India is faced with also stems from the fact that there exists a non-articulated perception in policy-making circles that there is an inherent distinction between insurgencies, such as the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) on the one hand, and terrorist groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba on the other. Indeed, this is so despite the fact that (at times) the activities of the ULFA approximate to that of groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba. If such features of Indian officialdom are any indication, then policy planners of the country do not seem to be suffering from a crisis of definition. It is quite clear in its understanding of the meaning of terrorism. Indeed, in the opinion of Saikia, it is in fact such an understanding that has led not only to the ambivalence that characterises India's response to terrorism, but the non-articulated perception of what constitutes terrorism (Saikia 2005).

    While terrorist and guerrilla tactics may well be employed by the same armed group or movement, the use of one or the other tactic has different implications from the point of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). While the IHL explicitly warns against attacks against civilians in the course of the armed conflict—either intentionally or otherwise—it does not apply to attacks against government forces.

    Third, what distinguishes terrorists from other non-state actors—as well as states—who may use other forms of politically motivated violence against civilians, such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc., is that, for terrorists, civilians are the immediate victims, but never the ultimate targets of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to create a broader political and psychological effect that goes beyond its direct ‘affect’ and human costs among civilians. One of the facets of terrorism is also that it needs to be visible: it has to showcase itself—it is aimed at an audience. Civilians are terrorists’ cannon fodder, but not their main addressees. Terrorists’ core message is always directed at someone far more important than their innocent, unarmed victims—elements that the terrorists cannot normally effectively challenge by using conventional military tactics. It is also important that terrorism, as noted by one of the editors, Dr Ekaterina Stepanova, in her works on the subject, is an asymmetrical tactic employed by a conventionally and politically weaker party that also lack formal status—usually, an oppositional non-state actor—against a more powerful status ‘enemy’—the state or a group of states. A transnational non-state actor who seeks to advance political goals that go beyond its national context may see the entire international system—state-based order—as its ultimate enemy. To put it simply, terrorism is a specifically oriented violent tactic of the ‘weak’ that is employed against the ‘strong’ by pressurising the conventionally stronger side of a higher formal status by killing or threatening civilian population. While the state as a ‘stronger’ side may also engage in mass violence against its own civilians, these criminal actions are not defined as ‘terrorism’ in this context, as they are not used as an asymmetrical tactic of the ‘weak’. Moreover, most of such crimes committed in the course of an armed conflict are already categorized by the IHL as either ‘war crimes’ or ‘crimes against humanity’. In other words, the notion of ‘terrorism’ as defined here is politically motivated violence against civilians carried out or threatened in an asymmetrical manner, that is, in order to create a disproportionately high political effect to exercise pressure on a more powerful opponent that is usually the state.3

    The clearer the definition of terrorism as a certain tactic of political violence, the less space it leaves for political deception and blackmail on the part of terrorists themselves and for political speculations on the part of any other actors, including governments that may tend to interpret terrorism too broadly, on the basis of their political or counter-insurgency priorities. To say, for instance, that ‘one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter’ is to allow oneself to be dragged into a political maze. No matter how common this aphorism is or how well it underscores the highly politicized and politically speculative nature of terrorism, the fact of the matter is that it is quite misleading. To begin with, it tries to juxtapose two aspects that do not in principle make up a dichotomy: freedom-fighting—against foreign occupation, colonial dominance, real or perceived social, political, ethnic, religious or other oppression or injustice—which is a political goal—and terrorism which is not a goal at all, but a specific violent method to achieve a political goal. A militant–political group can advance political goal(s) that can be interpreted as ‘freedom fighting’—whether just by the group itself and its supporters or even by much of the international community—as it has often been the case with anti-colonial struggle or resistance against foreign occupation. Sometimes, such political goal—for instance, the end of the occupation of the Palestinian territories—may be even recognized as legitimate by the international law and codified by resolution of the UN Security Council. Whether or not a group that pursues such a goal qualifies as a group engaged in terrorist activities depends, however, not on the nature of its political goal, but solely on whether or not it actually uses or threatens a certain violent tactic—politically motivated, intentional, asymmetrical use or threat of violence against civilians and non-combatants designed to create a broader destabilizing and intimidating effect, namely terrorism. The same ultimate political goal—for instance, the independence of India from British rule—can be shared by different groups who use different tactics: some of the more radical ones would employ terrorism, while others, as in the case of India's struggle for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi, may even opt for mass non-violent resistance. In other words, freedom fighting as a goal—whether it implies anti-colonial struggle, resistance against occupation, or the fight for greater autonomy—and terrorism as a tactic are not mutually exclusive; terrorism may and has been used to augment freedom fighting in certain cases, and in the name of freedom fighting.


    Apart from subjective political interpretations and the high level of politicization of the notion of ‘terrorism,’ the main reason for the lack of agreement on its definition is the wide diversity and multiplicity of forms and manifestations of terrorism. To achieve the broadest destabilizing political effect, terrorists seek to tailor, and time their actions as closely as possible to a certain political context, which makes the phenomenon extremely context-dependent and context-specific. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that, given the range of political contexts, terrorism can take various forms. This complicates the task of trying to fit all these different forms and manifestations of terrorism under one single, all-encompassing definition without running the risk of leaving some important aspect of terrorism aside. This also explains why the definition of terrorism is closely connected to its typology, and vice versa. In other words, while there are some general criteria that apply to all types of terrorism, as has been elucidated above, there may also be significant specifics of and variations between different types of terrorism.

    One of the most traditional and common typologies of terrorism—and the one most relevant to this study—involves a basic distinction between international and domestic, internal or homegrown, terrorism. In demarcating one from the other, international terrorism has usually been defined, both in legal and political documents, and in academic literature and datasets, in a rather simplistic, technical way—as any terrorist activity carried out on the territory of more than one state or involving citizens of more than one state. This is precisely how international terrorism, for instance, is defined in the US legislation,4 as well as in many other national anti-terrorism laws. For practical reasons of data collection and categorization, the world's largest database on terrorism since the late 1960s—Terrorism Knowledge Base operated by the US-based Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT)—sticks to this traditional mechanical demarcation. It defines international terrorist incidents as those ‘in which terrorists go abroad to strike their targets, select domestic targets associated with a foreign state, or create an international incident by attacking airline passengers, personnel or equipment’ and domestic ones as ‘incidents perpetrated by local nationals against a purely domestic target’.5

    In the past, this distinction had never been too strict in practice. Leaving more distant times aside, since modern terrorism emerged as a specific asymmetrical tactic of political violence in the second half of the 19th century, terrorist activity, especially when it was perpetrated systematically, often went beyond state borders. It was often internationalized in terms of logistics—bases, funding, arms and materials supply—or/and could be guided by some form of internationalist ideology. Well into the 20th century, when terrorism peaked again since the late 1950s and the 1960s, the newly reinforced distinction between ‘international’ and ‘domestic’ terrorism was integrated to—and partly dictated by—the broader security context of the Cold War. Even as terrorism emerged as one of the main forms of political violence in the 1960s–1980s for many western and third world countries, in a situation when external threats stood higher than internal ones on leading nations’ security agenda, ‘domestic’ terrorism took a backseat.

    The turn of a number of separatist movements to terrorist tactics in the 1980s and the 1990s, coupled with the end of the Cold War and the relative decline of ideological terrorism, stimulated greater attention to ‘domestic’ terrorism, including the first systematic efforts to collect relevant data. However, the dramatic and symbolically staged terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, unprecedented in their lethality, have had the most significant international repercussion yet, and shifted the political, public and security focus back to ‘international terrorism’.

    Yet, despite the growing post-9/11 emphasis placed by some of the world's leading states and international organizations on ‘international’ terrorism as the main terrorist threat, traditionally defined ‘international’ terrorism still comprises a smaller part of the global terrorist activity, compared to domestic terrorism. The data systematically collected by MIPT for a decade since 1998 on a global scale explicitly shows that measurable indicators such as incidents and casualties for ‘international’ terrorism—both prior to and following the 11 September attacks—were significantly outmatched in absolute terms by the same indicators for ‘domestic’ terrorism. In other words, even in the post-9/11 world, international terrorism lags behind terrorist activity carried out in domestic context in terms of incidence and direct human costs. Why are then international terrorism and the process of internationalization of terrorism considered to be such grave threats to global security? Why does international terrorism rank so high on the lists of major security concerns of most states and most international political and security organizations, from the regional to the global ones? Of all the possible responses, it would suffice to list at least three reasons here.

    First, in the modern age of ‘global village’—the advance of the global media and other modern information and communication technologies—the immediate direct damage caused by armed violence in terms of human and material costs is not necessarily of primary importance as a destabilizing factor. Depending on a political context, there is no longer the need to cause hundreds of thousands of human deaths to advance and publicize a radical political agenda and to affect political and security agenda of states and international organizations. Of greater, and growing, significance is often the potential of armed violence to cause broader destabilizing political effect and to be tailored to a certain political context in a way that could maximize the desired political effect. Of all forms of modern armed violence, terrorism is the one best suited to serve this purpose. At the global level, the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 evidently demonstrated how a series of terrorist attacks carried out against highly symbolic targets and staged in a global straitjacketed-media-way can lead to major changes in international politics despite the fact that the total death toll of 9/11 was comparably lower than that of most of the world's major armed conflicts. In contrast to quantifiable parameters of terrorist attacks, such as the number of incidents and casualties, this broader destabilizing political effect of terrorist attacks can hardly be measured. Quantitative indicators of terrorism may be useful, especially for comparative purposes, but they cannot capture the scale of the main public danger posed by terrorism. In other words, in the context of quantitative data, annual totals for domestic terrorism may well exceed the indicators for international terrorism; they are unable to accurately measure or reflect the much broader destabilizing political and security effect of international attacks, as compared to the ones limited to any specific local or national context. The more internationalized is terrorism, the greater are its broader destabilizing effect on international politics and security.

    Second, despite the fact that the overall indicators for ‘domestic’ terrorism—in the late 20th and early 21st century—have outmatched the indicators for ‘international’ terrorism, the trend towards further internationalization of terrorist activity is evident. This drift has taken many forms and has developed rather unevenly, with repeated peak periods followed by relative declines. In absolute terms, at the time of writing in March 2008, the primary peak of international terrorist incidents have taken place in the early to mid-2000s and international fatality rates peaked in the early 2000s at a level incomparably higher than the previous peak of international terrorism-related deaths in the late 1980s.

    Third, while the traditional distinction between domestic and international terrorism may still be relevant in certain cases, this distinction is increasingly becoming inaccurate. Today, the strict demarcation between narrowly defined ‘international’ and ‘domestic’ terrorism has further blurred, as even those terrorist groups whose political agenda is confined to local (or national) context, that is, localized, tend to internationalize some or most of their logistics, fund-raising, propaganda, and planning activities. They may extend these activities to regions far from their areas of operation, and may have bases of operations outside such areas. This phenomenon also reflects the broader trend that can be traced in the dynamics of global security—the slow, gradual, but steady erosion of the borderline between domestic (homeland) and international security. Furthermore, the process of internationalization of terrorism itself takes new forms. Among other factors, the post-Cold War decline in state support to terrorist activity by non-state groups contributed to a shift towards more active cooperation between autonomous, increasingly self-sufficient groups and to the formation of truly transnational networks.

    Several attempts have been made by scholars to at least partially address the eroding boundaries between ‘international’ and ‘domestic’ terrorism and come up with more satisfactory definitions. However, so far such attempts have mostly been confined to defining ‘domestic’, rather than ‘international’, terrorism. For instance, in compiling Terrorism in Western Europe Events Dataset (TWEED), Jan Engene of the University of Bergen, Norway, defines terrorism as ‘internal’ when ‘terrorists act within their own political systems’. Terrorists originating from outside western Europe, but committing acts of terrorism inside the region, are excluded from TWEED. In summation, TWEED defines ‘internal terrorism’ as terrorism that originates and takes place within the political systems of particular states, in this case, within the western European countries (Engene 2007). Following this logic and extending it to ‘international terrorism,’ one may end up with two interpretations—one limited and another broader one. The limited interpretation builds upon a more traditional definition of ‘international terrorism’ and defines it as terrorism that takes place outside the political/national system within which it originated. The broader interpretation would be a more ambitious one: if ‘internal terrorism’ is the one that originates, takes place in and targets domestic political systems at a local or national level, then the most developed and advanced form of ‘international terrorism’ is the one that takes place within—and is directed against—the international system as a whole.

    A possible way to make sense out of the growing confusion between domestic and international terrorism and the multiplicity of forms that the internationalization process can take is to go beyond the pure ‘domestic–international’ dichotomy. As would be clear from the above, a strict demarcation between domestic, or internal, and international terrorism in their traditional interpretation (based on terrorist activity crossing the borders of one state or involving and/or targeting citizens of more than one state) is no longer adequate. However, distinctions between terrorism employed by groups confining their goals primarily to national politics and terrorist activity by organizations with a much broader internationalized agenda not only remain valid, but become more evident. That is why, instead of rejecting this typology altogether, one should rather upgrade, reinforce and update it by adding other typological criteria. The book is an attempt to offer such a solution and test it against a wide range of empirical cases culled from different political contexts and regions, and by experts from five continents.

    The first step to address the problem of inadequacy of one typology of terrorism is to combine it with criteria employed by other traditional typologies of terrorism, such as the other most common categorization of types of terrorism—typology by motivation. By their main motivation and ultimate goals, terrorist groups are usually categorized under three broad categories: socio-political (secular-ideological); nationalist; and religious. Apparently, the level of internationalization may significantly vary from one motivational type of terrorism to another. For much of the 19th–20th century, it was the secular socio-political (ideological), especially left-wing terrorism that showed the greatest propensity for internationalization, in both practical/logistical and ideological terms. In terms of incidents, international activity by left-wing terrorists reached its peak at the end of the Cold War—in the 1980s and the early 1990s. However, left-wing terrorism has shown lower international fatalities than nationalist and especially religious terrorism since then.

    Nationalist terrorists—ranging from radical anti-colonial and other national liberation groups to armed separatists—also often tended to internationalize their activities, both for the purpose of gaining broader international attention to their cause (as in the case of the Algerian anti-colonial struggle or the Palestinian resistance) and to raise logistical and especially financial and technical support from abroad.6 However, internationalization of terrorism driven and dominated by a nationalist agenda is limited by definition and is confined to the technical, rather than the ideological level. Needless to say that nationalist terrorists, with their central focus on—and, in fact, obsession with—the nation-state, in principle cannot advance a transnational agenda aimed at challenging and changing the international system and the world order as a whole.

    This limitation does not apply to religious terrorism that has been on the rise in the recent decades in terms of all indicators, but especially in terms of fatalities. In fact, at the transnational level, the relative post-Cold War decline of secular, left-wing internationalist ideology in general and as an ideology of radical militant groups employing terrorist means in particular, has created a vacuum that started to be quickly filled by religious extremism.7 While religious extremism also made serious gains as an ideology of terrorism at the national level where it is usually combined with some form of radical nationalism, it is at the transnational, even global level that it had its largest and the most destabilizing effect in the post-Cold War period. This is demonstrated both by the 9/11 events and by the post-9/11 emergence of a broader transnational Islamist movement inspired by the al-Qaeda, pursuing the same ideology, but far more flexible, elusive and fragmented in organizational terms. Of all ‘motivational’ types of terrorism, religious terrorism is best tailored—especially in ideological terms—to generate the most advanced patterns of internationalization, up to the level of achieving fully transnational goals, agenda, activities and organizational forms.

    A simple merger of the two traditional typologies of terrorism may provide a somewhat more accurate picture of the prevailing forms of international terrorism. However, what it does not reflect is the qualitatively different forms and stages of internationalization of modern terrorism. A new typology may be needed to adequately meet this task. Of the non-traditional typologies of terrorism, the functional typology developed by one of the editors, Ekaterina Stepanova is perhaps the only one that integrates the level of a group's ultimate goals, interests and agenda.8 According to this typology, of critical importance is not so much—and no longer—the demarcation between purely ‘internal’ and ‘international’ terrorism—terrorist activity may be internationalized to some extent even at the local level—but the distinction in overall level of a group's goals and agenda—transnational (global) or more localized. This distinction is seen as one of the main criteria for the functional typology of terrorism (along with the relation of terrorism to a broader armed conflict as a second criterion), and provides the basis for identification of the three main types of modern terrorism. The first two types are: (a) classic terrorism of the peacetime, and (b) terrorism employed as a tactic in ongoing local and regional armed conflicts—that may be internationalized to a varying degree, in terms of both logistics and ideology, but are used by groups whose goals are limited by local and regional context and whose agenda do not challenge the international system as such. The third, more recent type of terrorism is the so-called super terrorism (macro-terrorism, mega-terrorism or global/transnational terrorism), which is used in the name of unlimited goals by radical groups with transnational, global agenda, playing the role of the world's ‘anti-system’ actors.

    In summation, today it is more relevant to distinguish between local/regional terrorism employed to pursue an agenda confined to a particular armed conflict, national borders or regional context and internationalized to some extent—and the truly transnational terrorism employed by networks pursuing unlimited goals in a transregional or even global context. While these are two ends of the spectrum, as shown by several case studies in this book, a range of groups and movements involved in terrorist activities may fall somewhere in between internationalized terrorism at the local level and transnational super terrorism with a global outreach.

    Still, the editors’ basic preliminary assumption is that all parallels and links between the 9/11-type, the al-Qaeda inspired transnational terrorism with a global outreach and more traditional forms of terrorism that may be internationalized to some degree, do not make the latter fully dependent or conditional on the former. As with other forms and levels of terrorism, transnational terrorism with a global outreach and agenda retains a significant degree of autonomy and has its own logic and dynamics. Therefore, rather than confronting an integrated, universal terrorist network that is spreading from local to global levels, the international community and individual nations face a far more difficult challenge: coping with terrorism that serves different functions, operates and cerebrates at different levels and displays different degrees of internal and transnationalization manifestations, and with complex, elusive, and increasingly disturbing relationship between the two.

    Finally, while the book's primary focus is on the patterns of internationalization of terrorism, it does not ignore the new, post-9/11 phenomenon of international ‘war on terrorism’; the way it relates to armed conflicts and its role as a factor of internationalization of some of these conflicts. Against the more general trend of the growing internationalization of local armed conflicts, the ‘war on terrorism’ in some local and regional contexts had an effect—deliberate or unintentional—of contributing to the large-scale internationalization of the more localized tensions and of terrorism tactics employed by local non-state actors tying them closely to the international security agenda. This problem may, for instance, be illustrated by the fact that all four internationalized major armed conflicts in 2006–07 were linked to the US-led ‘war on terrorism’ in one way or another.9

    But even as the manuscript of the book that attempted to knit together case studies, description and analyses of the new terrorism reached the publishers in June 2008, and the book was bring readied for publication, the subject that made up the book's core—that of the internationalization of terrorism—began manifesting itself in India in a series of well-coordinated terrorist strikes. On 26 July 2008, Ahmedabad felt it. Delhi witnessed it on 13 September 2008, and the North East Indian states of Tripura (Agartala) and Manipur (Imphal) faced the scourge on 1 October 2008 and 21 October 2008 respectively, as did four different places in Assam, including its capital city Guwahati, on 30 October 2008. Although investigations into the various attacks are still continuing, the needle of suspicion in almost all the above terrorist strikes pointed to agendas in India's near abroad. India was experiencing the heavy hand of urban terrorism. But, India was subjected to one of the unkindest cuts when a group of heavily armed and rabidly motivated terror actors sneaked into the country's financial capital, Mumbai, and held a ‘billion’ people to ransom. The group had only one objective: draw global attention to the systematic massacre that it was perpetrating in the doorway of India and showcase India's vulnerability to the world, which was beginning to respect the nation's strength. They were able to achieve this—for 62 hours—inside a warren of carpeted corridors, opulent suites and blood stained five-star hotel boardrooms, until India's professional and apolitical counter terrorist apparatus (bulk of which were culled from the Indian army) brought the macabre drama to a close. It was clear that the fidayeen (suicide squad) attack was ‘aimed at the people watching’ and in somewhat of a departure from other earlier targets of attack, the victims were from the affluent class, a tribe whose anger can cause tectonic shifts in political circles. It is this reality—at least in India—that proved that terrorism is a tool of politics, and not religion. Indeed, with the internationalization of terrorism, the internationalization of politics aided by terrorism was manifested.

    The Mumbai incident, the editors felt, necessitated an account. This is primarily so not only because of the internationalization of terrorism that it exhibited, but also because of the unique military-militant nexus that it showcased. A brief analytical narrative by Subir Bhaumik and Jaideep Saikia has been placed in the appendix.


    The book's main focus is on the stages, levels and forms of internationalization and transnationalization of modern terrorism. One of the main research tasks that drive the editors and the contributors is to study a variety of such stages and to explore whether they may—or may not—constitute a continuum. The task required an examination of selected case studies that exemplify different stages of internationalization and transnationalization of terrorist groups, as well as the main cross-cutting functional issues, such as the structures, ideologies, and means employed by such groups.

    It has been deemed useful to start with the more traditional cases of internationalization of some activities of homegrown armed opposition groups that may use terrorist means, but whose goals do not go beyond local or national context. At this level, internationalization may, for instance, take the form of attacks against foreign targets, efforts to build up financial, logistics and propaganda networks abroad or support from foreign states to non-state groups involved in terrorist activities. A group may also be guided by an internationalist ideology, but limit its agenda and activities to a certain country or area and have minimal external logistical links. The variety of patterns of internationalization displayed by groups primarily active at the local or national level in different political contexts while pursuing political goals that do not quite go beyond national level are analyzed in Chapters 16 of the book.

    Chapter 1, by Rogelio Alonso and Florencio Domínguez Iribarren, analyzes external connections of the more traditional type—those of the two best-known ethno-nationalist terrorist groups in Europe—the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, or ETA). While the nationalist goals of both groups have never acquired a broad international dimension, and in the new century the IRA had entered into a peace process and the ETA is in decline, for more than three decades both the IRA and the ETA had been very active in their search for external political, financial and other support and were involved in both violent and non-violent activities outside the United Kingdom (UK) and Spain respectively, and had established links with a number of other terrorist groups, including links between themselves. Overall, these groups present classic cases of limited internationalization of homegrown nationalist terrorism as some of their activities were planned and perpetrated beyond the territory in which the terrorist groups emerged and both groups’ goals had serious cross-border implications in the UK—Irish and Spanish-French context. Putting these classic cases in the modern, post-9/11 context, the contributors argue that the very rise of a new type of terrorism in the early 21st century—the more lethal Islamist terrorism, with its more destabilizing and far-reaching political effects—and the rigid counter terrorist measures taken in response to this phenomenon became a major factor of deterrence for the use of terrorist tactics by the older, more localized nationalist groups, such as the ETA or the various post-IRA splinter groups.

    In Chapter 2, Khatchik DerGhougassian applies the same approach to localized terrorist groups of socio-political, left-wing type in South America. He points out that these groups, especially in Colombia and Peru, failed to secure large-scale support from foreign states or diasporas at the time of the Cold War and were only involved in limited logistics and training cooperation with terrorist groups beyond their region. Rather, they have managed to develop external links mainly at the cross-border or, at most, regional level, while any broader dimension and more advanced level of internationalization of their terrorist activity have been primarily related to their participation in the illicit drug business. Noting that, due to the almost total absence of terrorism of Islamist bent, with a few rare exceptions, the region has not become a hot spot in the US-led ‘war on terrorism’, the contributor manages to showcase how this anti-terrorism campaign has nevertheless affected the perceptions of internationalization of terrorism in Latin America.

    Ramani Hariharan's exposition of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Chapter 3 provides a systematic and detailed transnational, country-wise connection of the Tamil terrorist organization in Sri Lanka. The LTTE reportedly carries out action and has a modus operandi in as many as 52 countries. Hariharan's examination is extensive and exposes the international character of the LTTE, its widespread political, military, criminal, financial, and transport linkages—the anchorages that has enabled it to operate in Sri Lanka with impunity. It is quite clear from the contributor's analysis and description that the support and financial contribution of the Tamil diaspora are important factors that sustain the Tigers. Despite sanctions by ‘frontline states’, especially after the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement with Colombo in 2002, the LTTE's transnational human resources and propaganda machinery has remained by and large intact. Indeed, proscription of the organization in 32 countries has not witnessed a visible waning of the diaspora support. One reason for this is the interpretation of laws relating to proscribed organizations in different countries—an aspect that concerns the book. However, the latent sympathy for the Tamil struggle for autonomy among sections of the diaspora is considered—as aforesaid—to be one of the most important reasons for the LTTE's survival. The organization has skilfully used the historical grievances of the Tamils and their feeling of alienation from mainstream Sri Lanka, and has been able to create a unique status for itself as the ‘saviour’ of Tamils from Sinhala chauvinism. The transformation of the LTTE from a local militant group into a full-blown insurgency and terrorist movement with tentacles throughout the world is intimately connected with the exodus of Tamil population from Sri Lanka in order to escape the repressive measures of the Sri Lankan state. The continuing quest for their rights among Tamils, both at home and abroad, constitutes the basis of the LTTE's international support network.

    Hariharan also analyzes the losses that the LTTE has incurred, most of which is due to the expulsion of the Tamil group by the Sri Lankan armed forces from the Jaffna peninsula in 1995; the restraining effects on its activities generated by the global tide of hostility towards terrorism following the al-Qaeda attack on the United States of 9/11; and the revolt inside the LTTE led by Karuna in March 2004. The impression conveyed by the experiences in each of these episodes, however, is that the LTTE possesses the inner resilience and the external support required for recovery, and to carry on the war against the government forces.

    An interesting aspect that Hariharan states is about the withdrawal of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) from Sri Lanka. The contributor is of the view that LTTE's political links in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu resulted in the pull out of Indian troops from Sri Lanka. This may indeed be the case, but the fact of the matter is that the then Sri Lankan president, Ranasinghe Premadasa had quite categorically sought the withdrawal of the IPKF from the island nation. In a letter (30 June 1989) to then Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, Premadasa had written:

    The Indian Peace Keeping Force came to Sri Lanka at the request of the President of Sri Lanka. Due to the circumstances that arose thereafter the IPKF was requested by the President to afford military assistance to ensure the cessation of hostilities. The only condition that should be satisfied for the withdrawal of the Indian armed forces is a decision by the President of Sri Lanka that they should be withdrawn. The request made by me to withdraw the Indian armed forces has satisfied this condition. It is therefore incumbent on the Government of India to withdraw its forces from Sri Lanka. (Dixit 1998)

    Premadasa also wrote ‘far from being of any assistance in the complete resolution of the ethnic problem, the presence of the Indian forces are now a serious impediment’ (Dixit 1998). It is wondered whether the tide of the war would have changed were the IPKF been allowed to complete its unfinished task.

    In Chapter 4, the classic case of internationalization of terrorism amid domestic tussle between religion and culture, receives vivid description. Tracing the growth of Islamist terrorism in Bangladesh and its internationalization, Subir Bhaumik begins by informing the reader about the imperatives that closely link military dictatorships in South Asia to Islam, and the manner in which the ‘barrack politics’ of Dhaka—betraying the secular and nationalist sentiments that liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan—began to not only systematically rehabilitate pro-Pakistan forces and enshrined Islam as the state religion, but also paved the way for the current Islamist upheaval.

    Bangladesh's geo-location is an important factor in the furtherance of the global Salafi movement. It is a key mid-point between the troubled spots of South East Asia and West Asia: its socio-cultural mosaic is an ideal safe haven and a regrouping zone for armed Islamist activity in Asia Therefore, even as Islamist groups such as the Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Toiba has engineered close links with homegrown groups such as the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI)—much of it as compatriots during the Afghan war against Soviet occupation—the erstwhile East Pakistan has emerged as the ‘cocoon of terror,’ recruiting, training and launching terrorist attacks in the region, including cities in India. The HUJI has also emerged as the crucial link between the national and the global pan-Islamist terror project, and the Jemaah Islamiyah and HUJI trade fighters and utilize each other's bases, training facilities and safe houses to evade western intelligence. Indeed, Bangladesh has become the critical post-operation pullout area for Islamist groups in South East Asia, India, Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The financial links that it has engineered with the al-Qaeda and Saudi and Kuwait-based financial fronts sustains not only the home-grown terrorist groups, but Islamist groups in southern Myanmar and India's northeast. The financial reach and range of the HUJI and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) can be gauged from an isolated, but interesting instance. According to Bhaumik, in the year 2004, sleuths belonging to Russia's Federal Security Bureau assassinated Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev, the former vice president of Chechnya, in a car bomb attack in Doha, Qatar. The Russians believe that Yanderbiyev was meeting with wealthy Middle Eastern personalities to collect funds for a jihad. Yanderbiyev was reportedly a recipient of Jamaat funds to wage war on Russia.

    Another important aspect that Bhaumik reveals in the chapter is the role of the JeI and the manner in which it has combined legitimate political activity with covert support for violent Islamist groups that it nurtures. The contributor is of the opinion that the JeI works through the democratic system, but does not believe in it. Its constitution makes it clear that it wants to establish the ‘Islamic way of life for the well being of mankind’ through Dawa and Islamic finance. Indeed, it was during the five years between 2001 and 2006, when the JeI was in government, that Bangladesh witnessed the most violent phase of Islamist terror, the height of which was the more than 450 serial explosions during the course of a single day throughout Bangladesh on 17 August 2005.

    The military leadership that is purportedly guiding Bangladesh's interim government has taken some cosmetic action against certain homegrown terrorist groups, but the real culprits that constitute the ‘fountainhead of terrorism in South Asia,’ namely the JeI and the HUJI, have not yet come under any pressure. This aspect underscores the sort of clout both these groups wield in Dhaka, with JeI's external linkages being billeted as crucial for the establishment of Nizam-e-Mustafa in the country. Subir Bhaumik's position as the BBC's East India bureau chief provides him a unique ringside view of Bangladesh, incidentally the country from where his ancestors entered India. It is not a matter of surprise, therefore, that he has been able to penetrate a group such as the HUJI. Much of what he describes about the organization comes, therefore, from first-hand source. When he states that 30 per cent of HUJI activists play a ‘sleeper role’ in Bangladesh, India and elsewhere in South and South East Asia and they are only activated for special operations, it can be certain that his arithmetic is correct. So, would it be when his source inside the HUJI states that another 20 per cent of the trained activists have left Bangladesh for other battlegrounds of the world as far as Chechnya and the Philippines.

    In Chapter 5, Bishnu Raj Upreti shows that even in the case of Nepal, where the Maoist movement seems more ‘domestically’ oriented compared to other insurgencies covered in the book, some degree of internationalization has taken place. While terrorism has not been the Maoist insurgency's main tactic, and the movement has been primarily confined to the national context, it did establish some cross-border links and some aspects of its activity, such as logistical support and arms channels, have been internationalized, albeit to a limited extent. The contributor shows that even in cases when the militant movement's external logistical links or support from diaspora are quite limited, it may develop an international profile and interact with like-minded groups abroad through its internationalist—in this case, Maoist—ideology. The chapter also addresses broader international dimensions of the Maoists insurgency in Nepal, including the policies of interested states and international organizations, as well as the moral and political support to insurgency by some human rights groups. Finally, Upreti draws—for what could be of particular interest to readers in India and South Asia—a brief comparison between the Maoist insurgency in Nepal and the left-wing movement in India. He notes some parallels in the respective movements’ motivation to turn to armed struggle, examines their social roots and military strategies and tactics as have been influenced by Maoism, and such movements’ attempts to build quasi-governance structures, as well as the terrorist means they sometimes resort to. After all, most Maoist action in both Nepal and India have been against government forces, and in the case of India, the movement has a clear proletariat bearing, with a unambiguous ideology at its core, that of struggle against social and economic injustice. At the same time, even as the two respective Maoist movements in Nepal and India are guided by the same type of ideology, Upreti estimates that the actual inter-organizational links and cooperation between the two are limited and emphasizes they are primarily homegrown in nature.

    Jennifer Lynn Oetken's examination of the insurrection in Kashmir in Chapter 6 provides a unique progression of a homegrown movement's transformation to a full-bodied international one. However, the peculiarities in this case are startling. The movement is guided by an internationalist ideology; its agenda and activities are confined to a particular area, but the external links that engender the movement is maximum. In other words, it is a classic case of a movement that has been internationalized by the ingress of international or outside actors into a localized region (namely India-administered Kashmir), which is quite different from certain other cases that are being studied in the book.

    Among the reasons that Oetken cites for the above, the effect that collapse of regimes elsewhere and the proliferation of Islamist militant groups in reaction to the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 had on the Kashmir scenario are novel. Furthermore, the contributor is quite categorical about the involvement of Pakistan in Kashmir, and the ‘failed state’ debris spill over into the valley, especially after the partial ‘detalibanization’ of Afghanistan and the shift of focus of theatre of the ‘war on terror’ to Pakistan. The instability in Pakistan, characterized at the time of writing in March 2008 by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Islamization of the armed forces in the country, the growing violence and belligerence of the Islamists inside Pakistan (despite a decidedly fair election) and the role of the United States are also called in for questioning. Commenting on the growing ‘guest militant’-led agenda in Kashmir, Oetken wonders whether Pakistan is actually committed to permanently stopping its support for terrorist groups that are willing to fight its proxy war with India? She also states that the ideological orientation of terrorism in the Valley received a fillip and began to get internationalized as Pakistan began to actively sponsor a plethora of Islamist organizations with international links. The transformation was complete when such groups began to adopt a pan-Islamist agenda—the liberation of all Muslims for the creation of a single, united Islamic state—as opposed to their earlier sole agenda of support to Pakistan's cause for Kashmiri accession. However, Oetken also apportions blame to India. She states, ‘(Indian) counterinsurgency policies that are too coercive or too moderate may provoke terrorist organizations to internationalize their activities, recruitment, funding and operations.’ She evokes the Indian Kashmir watcher and noted journalist, Praveen Swami to reiterate the aspect, when she quotes that: ‘the failure of successive Indian governments to vigorously defend its secular culture had tragically contributed to the nightmare it now confronts.’

    The next, more advanced stage implies upgraded forms of internationalization and even some elements of transnationalization of a terrorist network's agenda and activities at a broader regional or cross-regional level. The latter may range from steady patterns of cross-border and region-wide violence, including terrorist activity, to cooperation between distinct groups in different countries and parts of the world or even more or less stable inter-organizational associations. These patterns of internationalization of terrorism at the regional level are explored in Chapters 79.

    In the examination of the ‘Proxy Wars in North East India’ in Chapter 7, Jaideep Saikia opines that it is a phenomenon that characterizes the post-colonial policy of South Asia and constitutes the grey area between war and peace. Nations in the region have either fought only ‘limited’ or short-scale wars, choosing instead to settle scores by embarking on a war of attrition. Such a methodology, the contributor states, permits the warring nations of South Asia to engage in low-cost offensive postures.

    A description of North East India reveals that it is a perfect playfield for South Asia's ‘proxy war’. Determined to a considerable extent by the ‘strategic encirclement’ that the region is heir to, as well as the emotional distance from New Delhi, anti-India forces have not allowed an opportunity of subterfuge to go by—awaiting dissonance in the region that erupt with almost predictable regularity. But, North East India constitutes a special case and while it is the case that the various insurgencies in the region have sought and received support from countries like China, Bangladesh and Pakistan, almost all such movements have remained loyal to their founding principles. Therefore, if there has been internationalization of the movements in North East India, it has only been by way of insurgent groups looking for aid in their war against India. Whereas, in certain cases, the methodologies of war have been adopted—for instance when the ULFA began to be pressurized by the ISI to target non-combatants—ideologies of the inimical forces have not attracted them. But, the situation is changing, with Islamist organizations from Bangladesh, the ISI and the Bangladesh intelligence outfit, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and the illegal Bangladeshi migrant population in North East India creating a volatile mix. A concerted effort is also underway to carve out a ‘Greater Bangladesh’ from the region. But the battle for lebensraum in the northeast (which both Pakistani and Bangladeshi ideologues have been advocating for decades) is being fought by engineering a demographic invasion, and not by the conventional methods that the Islamists and their sponsors are perpetrating in the rest of South Asia. Indeed, North East India is not being operationally activated only because it serves as a gateway for the entry and exit of groups such as HUJI into the Indian heartland from Bangladesh, as also because the growing illegal Bangladeshi migrant population in the region provides such groups an ideal safe haven. The contributor is also of the opinion that agencies such as the ISI are ‘creating prairie fires’ in the northeast primarily to pin down the Indian army in the area and from their primary duties in Kashmir. Whereas the People's Republic of China has stopped its policy of aid to the northeast insurgents, Pakistan—in close concert with its surrogate, Bangladesh—has begun to (at the time of writing in March 2008) activate the area, and reports state that there are as many as 16 trained Islamist groups in the region that are being directly supported by the ISI–DGFI. Such groups have travelled to places such as Batrasi in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for training alongside other Islamist groups, as have certain ethnic insurgent organizations such as the ULFA. However, as aforesaid, apart from a few instances when the ethnic insurgent groups have fallen prey to the nefarious designs of their alien masters, most outfits have continued to remain steadfast to their ideals and local considerations. This aspect is, however, true for only the ethnic insurgent groups, and not the ones that are beginning to surface on religious lines, and with both clear origin and loyalty to Bangladesh.

    In Chapter 9, Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman argues that the Afghan war played a significant role in the transformation of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) from a group with local aspirations to one that aligned itself with a larger Islamist discourse of forming a supra-national Islamic state or Caliphate. Although the JI's genesis can be traced to the Dar-ul-Islam movement that came into existence to fight against Dutch colonialism, at a more ideological level, the ‘handbooks’ used by the JI is similar to that of groups such as the al-Qaeda, Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. This, Osman analyzes, is the result of the cross-fertilization of ideas and practices that occurred during the Afghan war. The JI grew from Indonesia and spread to rest of South East Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, with organized chapters in each country, heralding a truly international organizational concept. Its footprints have been found in Bangladesh as well, which Subir Bhaumik examines in Chapter 4. This, as Jaideep Saikia stated above, is because of Bangladesh's unique geographical location: it stands as an important pullout area for both the JI and Islamist groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, after say the respective groups violent actions in Bali and Mumbai. An interesting point of difference in methodology between the JI and the al-Qaeda that has been noted is the JI's intense attack on some 38 churches across five provinces, an Islamist methodology that seems to be peculiar to South and South East Asia. Although the contributor to the chapter is of the opinion that the present status of the JI has weakened, with its international linkages becoming more or less defunct, it is opined that these are yet early days to make such a prognosis. Linkages once engendered can be easily revived, and Islamist action has only just begun in South Asia. As Saikia had stated in one of his books, the Islamists in parts of South Asia ‘are silent, not by the absence of activity; but by the presence of non-activity’ (Saikia 2004). The commonality of agenda that groups such as the JI had found with Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani Islamist groups during the Afghan War could well see commonality of future action as well, if not in the areas of their origin in South East Asia, in other parts of the world where Islam is perceived to be experiencing ‘Dar-ul-Harb’.

    Clearly, even as Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman, Jennifer Lynn Oetken and Subir Bhaumik—who are examining Islamist militancies in South and South East Asia in the book and have unravelled unambiguous international links with global terror groups like the al-Qaeda—Amos Neuser Guiora, has, at the very outset, in Chapter 8, stated that, in his not-so-short career as a prosecutor and legal adviser in Israel, he has not come across any al-Qaeda trace in the Palestine uprising. Indeed, this makes the case of the Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), that Guiora is examining in the book, rather different from some of the other case studies included in the book, and indeed, intriguing as well, given that the al-Qaeda is waging a full-fledged war in Iraq, a country that abuts Israel and the Palestine Authority so closely. Instead Guiora describes the PLO as a secular terrorist organization with focused local goals. The contributor does, however, state that the PLO openly sought assistance and support within a global context from the USSR and other international secular terrorist organizations. But that, Guiora states, is quite different from the internationalization pattern that engenders the JI, the HUJI or the JeM. In some sense, despite the awkwardness of the comparison, the case study that Guiora brings to the book is similar to the insurgency situation in North East India that Jaideep Saikia examines in Chapter 7. Hamas is a locally focused terrorist organization, with even suicide as methodology—driven at times even by religious fanaticism. But Guiora is quite emphatic about the fact that the essence of Palestinian terrorism is the creation of a Palestinian state and it has no connection with international Islamist terrorism. The contributor invokes the Hamas’ rejection of offer of support from the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman-al-Zawahiri as proof. As a matter of fact, Guiora also queries whether international Islamist terrorism actually exists, or whether it a product of the media or states anxious about threat of attacks. He also questions whether Samuel Huntington's thesis about clash of civilizations has any basis. Guiora does propose, however, that the west is confronted by a determined foe whose actions are driven by a particular interpretation of the Koran. In this context it might be of some pertinence to inform that the celebrated South Asia watcher, Stephen Philip Cohen, had told Jaideep Saikia during a television conversation that Huntington's ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis is a ‘profoundly wrong statement’, as Cohen perceives clashes even within civilizations.10

    At this stage, it is also crucial to make a distinction between Islam and terrorism. One of the editors, Jaideep Saikia, had earlier written:

    …the US-led War on Terror has not been an objective one, and either by devise or ignorance, the conflict is being given the colour of a civilizational clash…Islam is submission, a faith whose sacred duty is to construct a just society where everyone, including the weakest and the most vulnerable, is treated with absolute respect. However, recent years—particularly after 9/11—have witnessed an understanding of Islam, and consequently Islamist terrorism, that has been marred with confusion. In large measure, the misunderstanding has been in part also due to ‘the western media often (giving) the impression that the embattled and occasionally violent form of religiosity known as fundamentalism is a purely Islamic phenomenon’. (Saikia 2006)

    While, the term jihad has been grossly misunderstood,11 the fact of the matter is that fundamentalism is a phenomenon that has characterized almost all religions of the world, and Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and even Confucianism have exhibited shades of this experience. As an Islamic scholar states, fundamentalism appeared for the first time in the United States, ‘the showcase of modernity,’ and among the ‘three monotheistic religions, Islam was in fact the last to develop a fundamentalist strain’ (Armstrong 2002). In fact, if a strict interpretation of the term ‘fundamentalism’ is made, then it would be noted that the word is ‘ill-fitted for the Islamic context because in Arabic the word becomes usuli, which means ‘one who relies on the fundamentals or basics.’12 In this context, it must also be noted that the Koran enjoins Muslims to be a moderate people. Indeed, the traditions of Prophet Mohammed state that when two extremes are confronted, the prophet would invariably choose the middle path. Moreover, the prophet is always described as a moderate man who shunned extremes (Saikia 2006b). It is, therefore, appropriate that Islamist scholars congregated in Deoband (the seat of Darul Uloom, some 475 km from the famous Indian city of Lucknow) on 25 February 2008 to ‘denounce all acts of terror as unislamic, severing (thereby) its umbilical cord with the jihadi brand of Islam’ (The Telegraph 2008).

    Finally, the most recent phenomenon of the globalization of terrorism in the form of loose, but fully transnationalized networks is addressed in Chapters 10 and 11. While these networks comprises semi or fully autonomous cells, they view themselves as parts of the same movement and employ terrorist means for the same ultimate goal. Special attention should be paid to the most advanced transnational network of our times with a truly global agenda, that is, to the cells of the transnational violent Islamist movement inspired by the al-Qaeda, with an emphasis on its ideological and organizational forms.

    This broad post-al-Qaeda transnational movement that displays the most advanced stage of transnationalization of terrorism is the subject of Chapter 10 by Ekaterina Stepanova. The chapter analyzes the role played by the extremist ideology of the al-Qaeda and the al-Qaeda inspired cells and networks in shaping their unlimited, global goals—centred on establishing Islamic rule worldwide—its transnational agenda, activities and organizational forms. Stepanova argues that this ideology gives a radical, quasi-religious response to the challenges of the modern, globalizing world. She examines the characteristics that help distinguish cells of transnational violent Islamist networks with global goals and agenda not limited to any specific national context or armed conflict from the more localized militant groups who combine Islamism with radical nationalism and for whom Islamism is only part of their identity, ideology, socio-political goals and programmes. Stepanova also analyzes how the al-Qaeda-style quasi-religious ideology of transnational violent Islamism with a global agenda is different from radical, secular left-wing revolutionary ideologies that dominated international terrorist activity in the past. Finally, the chapter challenges the conventional view of the al-Qaeda inspired transnational violent Islamist movement organizational form as a standard horizontal network. It suggests that its organizational forms are closer to a more complex, hybrid multi-level network. Furthermore, this movement, comprised fully or semi-autonomous cells, displays a combination of effective coordination through generally formulated strategic guidelines (untypical for the main known organizational forms and increasingly transmitted through modern means of communication) with close social bonds and cohesion at the micro-level of individual cells. This type of organization, combined with the movement's global goals and agenda, allows autonomous cells emerging in different political and regional contexts to see themselves and operate as parts of one movement.

    Whether the unlimited goals of the al-Qaeda and the broader transnational violent Islamist movement require or are matched by unlimited means to advance these goals, such as the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons and materials, is the main subject of the final chapter by Adam Dolnik. Noting that in the modern world even small radical groups of individuals are increasingly gaining the capacity to inflict considerable damage, Dolnik critically explores the prospects of mass-casualty CBRN terrorism at the technological, motivational and organizational levels. Providing a brief overview of the past cases of CBRN terrorism, the chapter looks at its motivational aspects, with special attention to the impact of the level of transnationalization of the respective perpetrators on their interest in CBRN. This is followed by a thorough analysis of technological problems and difficulties involved in the use of CBRN materials and of the possible scenarios of ‘super terrorist’ unconventional attacks. While Dolnik acknowledges the long-term possibility of the rise of the threat of smaller-scale operations with the use of some CBRN agents that are unlikely to cause large-scale death and destruction, but could have destabilizing political and psychological impact, he also argues that at present super terrorism's unlimited goals do not necessarily require unlimited (CBRN) means. In his opinion, in the long term, transnationalization of terrorism, and the associated rise of global decentralized networks of small cells, operating independently of any central command, may well reduce motivational constraints for the individual cells to resort to unconventional means. However, not only terrorists’ technological capacities to launch mass-casualty unconventional attacks are generally quite limited at present, but also the upcoming trend of terrorist operations by Islamist cells around the world is likely to be one of decreasing, rather than increasing in technological sophistication.


    As is clear from the broad range of patterns and forms of internationalization of terrorism that is being examined in the book, one of the main objectives of the project is to enhance the general understanding of the processes, degrees and stages of internationalization and transnationalization of modern terrorism from the local to the global level. This would hopefully promote more active international cooperation on anti-terrorism. The editors and the contributors also seek to introduce policy-makers, the media and the wider public to the lessons from—as well as inadequacies of—various national and international approaches to preventing and combating terrorism with regard to various degrees of its internationalization and transnationalization. The book is, therefore, addressing both the policy-making community, international affairs, anti-terrorism and other security professionals, journalists, the students of international affairs, security and political science, and the wider public that may have an interest in the highly debated and politically and socially relevant issue of internationalization and transnationalization of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Finally, the book's composition and the list of contributors also stand in contrast to the standard work on terrorism-related issues, still dominated by authors representing mainly western-centric geographical, cultural and civilizational perspective and discourse. The book hopes to introduce the reader to a selection of broader, more culturally and geographically balanced, perspectives on patterns of internationalization of terrorism. Indeed, the book's analytical, policy and public contribution would lie not only in its quest to anvil an acceptable definition of terrorism and the distinction between its different manifestations, but also in the hope that it would lead practitioners and theoreticians, studying the phenomenon, to comprehend the menace in a holistic manner so that combat procedures receive more precision-guided application, and are enforced more comprehensively and without prejudice.


    1. A co-edited book invariably involves a division of labour. The editors accordingly divided the selection and commissioning of the contributors, and the editing of the chapters. Therefore, even as Jaideep Saikia brought together the five contributors who examine the situation in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kashmir, the Middle East and South East Asia. Ekaterina Stepanova was responsible for the experts who have written on Ireland-Spain, South America, Nepal and the one pertaining to the means of transnational terrorism. The chapters by the editors for the book have been researched and written by the editors themselves.

    2. For more detailed discussion on the definitional issues and on terrorism as an asymmetrical tactic of non-state actors, see also Stepanova 2008.

    3. One of the acceptable terms to denote mass repressive actions by states themselves against civilian population is the term ‘terror’ (for instance, Nazi terror, Stalin terror, Pol Pot terror, Jacobin terror) which should be distinguished from ‘terrorism’ by non-state actors.

    4. That is, ‘terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country’. US Code, Title 22, Section 2656f (d).

    5. For more detail, see MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base, <http://www.tkb.org>.

    6. International terrorist incidents by nationalist groups peaked in the 1980s, while fatalities first peaked in the early 1980s and reached an even higher peak in the first half of the 2000s (based on data from the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge database—see endnote 5).

    7. International incidents by religious groups showed first a moderate increase in the mid-1990s and then a major and sharp rise since 1999 until the mid-2000s. While the first significant peak of international fatalities by religious groups dates back to the early 1980s, the second and far more significant peak can be observed in the first half of the 2000s (based on data from the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge database—see endnote 5).

    8. For more detail on the ‘functional’ typology of terrorism and on how it is different from traditional typologies, see Stepanova 2008: 5–11; also Stepanova 2003: 3–5.

    9. Of the 14 major armed conflicts identified by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute/Uppsala University Conflict Data Programme as active in 2007; four conflicts were categorized as internationalized (i.e. they included troops from a state that was external to the conflict itself fighting on behalf of one of the parties). All the internationalized major armed conflicts in 2007 (as in the previous year) were linked to the US-led ‘war on terrorism’: the conflict between the US government and the al-Qaeda; the conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban; the conflict between the Iraqi government/US-led Multinational Force and the various insurgency groups in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, the conflict between the government and the Supreme Islamic Council in Somalia (where the US air strikes against the al-Qaeda, allegedly hiding among the Somali Islamists, were carried out in the context of the ongoing armed conflict). See L. Harbom and P. Wallensteen 2008.

    10. In response to a direct question by Jaideep Saikia during a television discussion recorded on 30 October 2003 for and later aired over Doordarshan.

    11. The word jihad is a derivative of juhd, which means, ‘to make substantial effort.’ It has also been defined as ‘to strive to attain something loved or to save one from something disliked.’ Islamic scholars have argued that were the word jihad meant to have merely signified ‘holy war’, then there are plenty of other words in Arabic which convey it unambiguously. Harb (war), sira's (combat), Ma'araka (battle) and qutal (killing) are some of the words, which the Holy Koran could have used were war to be the principal manner in which a Muslim engages in the effort (jihad). The Holy Koran chooses a vaguer, richer word with a wide range of connotations. The tendency to translate jihad as ‘holy war’ could also be due to the influence of the Christian usage of the term ‘holy war’ which refers to the Crusades of a thousand years ago. The jihad is not the central prop of Islam, but it is a duty for Muslims to commit themselves to a struggle on all fronts—moral, spiritual and political—to create a just and decent society, where the poor and vulnerable are not exploited, in the way that God had intended man to live. See Noorani 2002: 39.

    12. See Khaled Abou El Fadl 2006: 18.

  • Appendix: The Attack on Mumbai

    SubirBhaumik and JaideepSaikia

    Ten well-trained Islamist terrorists struck India's financial capital, Mumbai, from the Arabian Sea. The terrorists got off their ‘Boat Assault Pneumatic Type’ dinghies and rushed into the city, indiscriminately killing everyone who came within the range of their Kalashnikovs. Continuing to rain fire, two groups among the 10 commandeered two luxury hotels and a Jewish hostel, while the third group carried out assault in a railway station. It was the night of 26 November 2008.

    Caught unawares, Mumbai's security establishment reacted, but the planned Islamist operation not only took the lives of several police officers who had sought to launch a quick counter offensive, but the ferocity with which the attackers went about their task occasioned the induction of India's elite anti-terrorism force, the ‘51 Special Action Group’. In the 62-hour gun battle that ensued, the terrorists were killed, even as one of them was captured alive. Mohammad Ajmal Amin Iman alias Kasab, the apprehended terrorist, revealed that the daring operation, which took the lives of 188 persons, was planned and launched from Pakistan. India reacted in anger and in the melee of accusations and denials, the attack on Mumbai brought India and Pakistan on the brink of war for the second time since 2001. In 2001, the two countries mobilized troops for nearly a year after an Islamist outfit—once again launched from Pakistan—attacked the Indian Parliament.

    A leading Pakistani author, Ahmed Rashid, has blamed the al-Qaeda for the Mumbai attack. In a BBC column posted on its website on 4 December 2008 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7764475.stm), Rashid argues:

    When the Pakistan army finally stopped allowing Pakistan-based militant groups from infiltrating into Indian-administered Kashmir in 2004, groups like the LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen splintered and fragmented. Some militants went home, others got jobs or stayed in camps in the mountains. However, the youngest and the most radicalised fighters joined up with the al-Qaeda and the Pakistani and the Afghan Taliban in the mountains of Pakistan's tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan. They embraced the global jihad to fight the US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and later attacked the Pakistan government and the army as the Pakistan Taliban developed their own political agenda to seize power. The group that attacked Mumbai may well include some Pakistanis, or most of them may also be Pakistanis, but it is more likely that it is an international terrorist force put together by the al-Qaeda and the Pakistan Taliban, who are besieged by the Pakistan army on one side and a rain of missile being launched by US forces in Afghanistan against their hideouts on the other. The al-Qaeda is looking for some relief and a diversion. What better way to do so than by provoking two old enemies—India and Pakistan—with a terrorist attack that diverts attention away from the tribal areas? Such a move would force Pakistani troops back to the Indian border while simultaneously pre-occupying the US and the NATO countries in hectic diplomacy to prevent the region exploding into war.

    There is more than a grain of truth in Rashid's analysis that an al-Qaeda diversion would preserve the extremist group's sanctuaries along the Pakistan–Afghanistan border and would provide the terrorists with some respite, especially as the US President-elect Barack Obama is planning to send an additional 20,000 US troops to Afghanistan. But it is analyzed that there is more to the Mumbai attack than what Ahmed Rashid has stated. It is about the Pakistan army and the manner it is seeking to use the militant card to play spoiler in the India–Pakistan peace moves. Indications are there that one of the masterminds of the Mumbai attack is Zaki-ur-Rehman, a ‘forward desk’ officer of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The terrorist apprehended in Mumbai, Kasab also revealed that the module that attacked Mumbai was trained in urban warfare in Durbari Mitho in Pakistan and in amphibious assault in Pakistan army facilities like the Mangla Dam reservoir. According to the contributors, the scale in which the Mumbai operation was mounted is not possible without military support.

    Every time a democratically elected government in Pakistan has extended the olive branch to India, the army in the country has played spoiler. Pervez Musharraf—as the Pakistani army chief—initiated the Kargil intrusion in 1999 to disrupt the Lahore peace process. The Pakistan army is currently desperate to pull out from the Afghanistan border and leave the fighting to the US–NATO forces: one of the ways that this could be achieved is by sponsoring Mumbai style attacks through one of ISI's ‘forward desk’ that works in close concert with outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the group to which the 26 November 2008 attack has been attributed to. The attack on Mumbai would derail the India–Pakistan peace process. It would also provide the Pakistan army an excuse to move troops from the west and deploy them in the border with India, creating thereby an atmosphere that would allow dominance of the Pakistan army in the country's politics by projecting India as a major threat.

    The Pakistan army chief, General Ashfaque Qayani is concerned about low troop morale and rising desertions due to its involvement in fighting the militants it once created. He is willing to even countenance a truce with Behtullah Mehsud, the man responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. It is small wonder, therefore, that the Taliban is offering Qayani (not President Asif Ali Zardari) full support against India. When Zardari—after his election as Pakistan's President—said that India was never a threat for Pakistan, he nearly took away the very reason for existence of the Pakistan army. The statement has led to disappointment in an influential section of the Pakistan army and the ISI. The renewed military–militant nexus could be a devise to counter such a move.

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    About the Editors and Contributors


    Jaideep Saikia (India) is a security and terrorism analyst based in Assam. He has authored and/or edited seven books, including, Terror Sans Frontiers: Islamist Militancy in North East India (2004) and Bangladesh: Treading the Taliban Trail (ed., 2006), Frontier in Flames: North East India in Turmoil (ed. 2007). He had his education at the Royal Indian Military College, Dehra Dun, St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, and as a Ford Fellow at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, USA. He has travelled widely in the USA, Europe, China, and in South and South East Asia on academic assignments, and is the recipient of many fellowships including the National Foundation for India, when he studied the security situation in Kashmir, Regional Centre for Strategic Studies fellowship for research in Sri Lanka. He also visited the US as an International Visitor on the invitation of the Department of State in its programme on ‘International Crime Issues and Global Cooperation’. Later he also worked on the United Nations University project on challenges for peace building. Saikia has served the governments of India and Assam in security advisory capacities, including the National Security Council Secretariat of India as an expert on North East India. Saikia was a member of the Indian delegation for ‘Track II’ dialogue with Bangladesh in 2007 and is a referee for the journal, Strategic Analysis.

    Ekaterina Stepanova (Russia) leads an Armed Conflicts and Conflict Management Project at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). She has been a Senior Research Associate on non-traditional security threats at Center for International Security, Moscow Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) since 2001. She serves on the editorial board of the journals Terrorism and Political Violence (St Andrews University), and SecurityIndex (CREP, Geneva). Previously, she has worked as a researcher on armed conflict and terrorism at SIPRI (2003), and a researcher at the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1994–2000). She has held several Russian research fellowships, was twice adjudged McArthur Research Fellow (2000 and 2003), and a McArthur NGO Fellow at King's College, University of London (1998). She is the author of several monographs, including Terrorism in Asymmetrical Conflict: Ideological and Structural Aspects (2008), Anti-Terrorism and Peace-Building During and After Conflict (2003), and Civil–Military Relations In Operations Other Than War (2001). Her book, The Role of Illicit Drug Business in the Political Economy of Conflicts and Terrorism (2005), won the gold medal from the Russian Academy of Sciences.


    Rogelio Alonso (Spain) is a Lecturer in Politics and Terrorism at Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, and he coordinates the ‘Unit for Documentation and Analysis on Terrorism’ in the university, as well as its PhD programme on ‘Analysis and Prevention of Terrorism’. From 1994 to 2004, he was a Lecturer at the School of Economics and Politics in The University of Ulster in Belfast. He was also a Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, and at the Institute of Irish Studies, both at the Queen's University of Belfast. He holds a PhD in International Relations and a Master in Irish Studies. In 1995 Queen's University and the Irish Association awarded him with the Montgomery Medal for his research on British policy towards Northern Ireland. In 2005, his article ‘Pathways out of terrorism in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country’ in Terrorism and Political Violence (winter 2004) won the award of the Spanish Association of Political Science for the best article published in an academic journal. Dr Alonso's most recent book, The IRA and Armed Struggle (2007) is based on the widest sample of personal interviews with former IRA members ever carried out. He is the author of three other books on terrorism and has written numerous chapters in collective books as well as articles in academic journals such as Terrorism and Political Violence as well as Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. He acts as book review editor for the journal Democracy and Security, and is a member of the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

    Subir Bhaumik (India) is BBC's correspondent for eastern India and author of the book, Insurgent Crossfire: North-East India, which he completed as the Queen Elizabeth House fellow in the University of Oxford in 1989–1990. During his quarter-of-a-century-long career in journalism, Bhaumik has filed important news reports from the North East, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Myanmar. Bhaumik has also presented over 30 papers in national and international seminars and contributed to over 20 edited anthologies. His forthcoming work, Troubled Periphery: Crisis of India's Northeast, is expected to be a pioneering work on security in the region.

    Khatchik DerGhougassian (Argentina) defended his Doctoral thesis in International Relations in 2004 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. He received his MA in International Relations from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1994. He is a professor of International Relations and a researcher at the Universidad de San Andrés (Buenos Aires, Argentina). With an extensive academic experience, he has held positions as a Visiting Research Associate on the Collaborative Peace Project at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa (1997); served as an advisor for gun control issues to the Ministry of Justice and Security for the Province of Buenos Aires (1998–1999), and as a researcher at the Partnership for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the Jackson Memorial Hospital, University of Miami (Miami, Florida, 2001–2002). He is the recipient of the Dante B. Fascell North–South Center Doctoral Fellowship (2000–2003); the Faculty Research Program on Canadian Studies 1999/2000 Award for research on Canada's gun control policy (1999); and the Ford Foundation Grant for The Southern Cone Program of Training for Civilians in Defense Policies (1998).

    Adam Dolnik (Australia/Czech Republic) is the Director of Research Programmes and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Previously, he has served as Chief Trainer at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore, and has held research positions at the WMD Terrorism Project, Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, as well as at the United Nations Terrorism Prevention Branch in Vienna. He has published in a number of edited books and in various international journals, including Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, International Negotiation: Journal of Theory and Practice, Perspectives: Central European Review of International Affairs, and Yaderny Kontrol. Dolnik is also the author of Understanding Terrorist Innovation: Technology, Tactics, and Global Trends (2007) and Negotiating Hostage Crises with the New Terrorists (2007).

    Amos N. Guiora (Israel/USA) is Professor of Law S.J. at the Quinney College of Law in the University of Utah. He has served for 19 years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and held senior command positions in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, including that of Legal Advisor to the Gaza Strip, Judge Advocate for the Navy and Home Front Commands, and Commander IDF School of Military Law. The contributor would like to thank former research fellow for the Institute for Global Security Law and Policy, Rebecca Slazinski for her invaluable contribution in researching and editing the chapter.

    Ramani Hariharan (India) is a retired colonel of the Indian army's Intelligence Corps, and has served in the army for nearly three decades. During his career he was a Military Intelligence specialist on Bangladesh, Burma, and Sri Lanka, with special focus on insurgency and terrorism. He participated in the Indo–Pak war in Kutch (1965) and in the Liberation of Bangladesh (1971). Col. Hariharan has taken part in counter insurgency operations in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, and Tripura. He served as the Head of Intelligence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka (1987–1990). He was awarded the Vishisht Sewa Medal by the President of India for distinguished service in Sri Lanka. He is a member of the Delhi-based intelligence think tank, South Asia Analysis Group, and has contributed chapters to Conflict Resolution and Peace Building in Sri Lanka (2005), Sri Lanka: Peace Without Process (2006) and Peace Process in Sri Lanka: Challenges and Opportunities (2007). Col. Hariharan was awarded the Konrad Adenauer Medal for the leadership he provided to the joint project of Madras Management Association where he served as an Executive Director upon retirement from the army.

    Florencio Domínguez Iribarren (Spain) is currently chief editor of the Press Agency Vasco Press based in Bilbao. He holds a PhD in Communications, and has authored many key titles on the Basque terrorist organization ETA. Some of them are: ‘Josu Ternera: una vida en ETA’ (Josu Ternera: a life in ETA), a non authorised biography of the terrorist leader at the front of the terrorist group for many years; ‘Las raíces del miedo’ (The roots of fear), a thorough analysis of the political and social effects of ETA's terrorism; ‘Dentro de ETA’ (Inside ETA), an examination of the underground lives of ETA's activists based on unprecedented access to primary sources elaborated by the terrorists themselves; and ‘De la negociación a la tregua: ¿el final de ETA?’ (From negotiations to the truce: the end of ETA?), a highly acclaimed study of ETA's strategy and evolution. He is a regular contributor to the Basque and Spanish media on issues related to terrorism.

    Jennifer Lynn Oetken (USA) is a PhD candidate in the political science department in Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. Her academic research focuses on radical politics and violence in India and South Asia. She is currently studying Bengali at the American Institute for Indian Studies in Kolkata and is conducting her dissertation research in West Bengal, India. Oetken's co-authored article, ‘Secularism, Democracy and Hindu Nationalism’ was published in Asian Security.

    Mohamed Nawab Bin Mohamed Osman (Malaysia) is an Associate Research Fellow with the Contemporary Islam Program, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in History and Political Science from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and a Master of Arts (History), NUS. He taught several modules on Asian history between 2004 and 2006. His research interest includes the history and politics of Southeast Asia and South Asia, Islamic political groups in Southeast Asia namely, the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS Indonesia), Hizbut Tahrir in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and India, the Gulen Movement in Southeast Asia and the international politics of Southeast Asia. He is currently working on a book on the history of Islam in South East Asia. Mohamed Nawab holds the position of secretary-general, Young Association of Muslim Professional and is also working with members of the Liberal Islam Network in Indonesia and the Middle Eastern Graduate Association in Malaysia to establish a South East Asia Liberal Islam Forum aimed at countering extremist ideologies in the region.

    Bishnu Raj Upreti (Nepal) holds a PhD in conflict management from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He is actively engaged in conflict transformation and peace related research in South Asia. During the 26 years of his professional career, he was engaged in teaching and research at University of London, University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, and Kathmandu University. Upreti has also briefly been in government service. He has authored 10 books on conflict management, including Armed Conflict and Peace Process in Nepal (2006), and numerous articles in national and international journals, magazines and edited books. Currently, he is the Regional Coordinator, South Asia Coordination Office of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research North-South, based in Kathmandu.

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