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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SCENARIOS: Key terrorism risks to economies in Southeast Asia

SCENARIOS: Key terrorism risks to economies in Southeast Asia | ABS-CBN News Online Beta
SINGAPORE - The killing of Indonesia's most-wanted militant Noordin Mohammad Top has reduced the immediate threat from terrorism in southeast Asia, but analysts say the danger is far from over. A key issue for investors is the extent to which further militant violence could undermine regional markets.

The evidence from decades of militant attacks in southeast Asia and beyond is that aside from short-term selling pressure, the damage tends to be limited. Yet terrorism can have a major impact if it fundamentally alters a country's risk profile.

Following is a round-up of key risk scenarios in which militants could significantly damage regional economies.


In the past 5 years, the long-running Muslim insurgency in Thailand has escalated. Counterterrorism expert David Kilcullen notes that in terms of the casualty toll as a proportion of local population, "the level of violence makes southern Thailand's ethnoreligious insurgency one of the most intense in the world, second only to those in Iraq and Afghanistan."

But because violence has been confined to the south, and militants have shown no inclination to strike economic targets in Bangkok or key tourist areas, the market impact has been minimal.

The risk is that this changes. If southern insurgents widen their conflict, or if al Qaeda-linked militants are able to infiltrate and internationalize the conflict, the impact on the economies of Thailand and its neighbors could be severe.

So far, the prospect of this happening appears remote.

"It is certainly reasonable to speculate that at least some outside Islamist entity has attempted to exploit the ongoing unrest in southern Thailand for its own purposes," said RAND counterterrorism Peter Chalk. "That said, there is (as yet) no concrete evidence to suggest that the region has been transformed into a new beachhead for panregional jihadism."...>>

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