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Kevin23
07-24-2009, 02:53 AM
I've been thinking recently alot about future hotspots around the globe for future Islamic extremism and quite possibly terrorism. So I thought I would just share my thoughts on some.

Here we go





Xinjiang

Ron Humphrey
07-24-2009, 04:37 AM
I've been thinking recently alot about future hotspots around the globe for future Islamic extremism and quite possibly terrorism. So I thought I would just share my thoughts on some.

Here we go





Xinjiang

As to that particular hot spot what makes it seem any more or less likely than the many many others that might more commonly come to mind?

Kevin23
07-24-2009, 06:40 AM
Ok finally here we go





Xinjiang/some other western parts of the PRC

Xinjiang a traditionally Islamic and far-flung western province of the People's Republic of China has seen over the past year and a half or so. Acts of violence and unrest against both the regional government and the the central government in Beijing as well as against mostly non-Muslim Han Chinese settlers and populations in the province. Much of this unrest is the result of the the suppression/oppression of the Islamic Uighur population of Xinjiang by the government in Beijing as well as other traditionally Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang and other close by parts of China. Oppression against the Uighur's often takes the form of the authorities restricting them greatly in the practice of their faith as well as systematic discrimination in other aspects of society in the province. In addition the Uighur's are becoming displaced by ethnic Han Chinese who have come to settle in their province at the behest and support of the Chinese Government. Which resulted in the most recent unrest in the Xinjiang, due to mutual suspicion shared by both groups and due to the Uighur's being pushed further down the ladder in society due to the new settlers. Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist has also recently vowed revenge on the PRC for it's harsh treatment of the Uighur's in the midst of the riots. In terms of this though if Al-Qaeda or any other Islamic extremist ever had any justification of Muslims being oppressed they would probably find it in Xinjiang. The central and regional government of the PRC should tread carefully for if they don't they could risk driving the largely secular Uighur's to more extreme religious elements and violence and even perhaps into the realm of influence of violent Islamists.

Bosnia

Bosnia which is a nation split roughly down the middle in terms of religious observance mainly between Eastern Orthodox Serbs and Islamic Bosniks has seen some religious tension in recent decades however no where close to that of the nation's and the Balkan's much violent ethnic tensions. Even though things have claimed down in recent years the tension both ethnic and religious remains Bosnia as well as that could be said for the Balkans as a whole. Also in recent decades and years among Bosnia's Muslim population Wahhabi missionaries and preachers have gained some traction among certain elements of society both during and well after the end of the wars in the Balkans in the 1990's. This is in addition to the fact that some mostly foreign Mujahadeen fighters left over the 1990's have remained in the country and the larger region as a whole. Even though Muslims in Bosnia are mostly secular and moderate to liberal in their religious interpretations and practices. The trends mentioned above are still worrying even though they don't ave widespread appeal to most Muslims in the country or region.


Bangladesh

Bangladesh a Muslim-majority and very poor and widely regarded as failed state in South Asia has seen an uptick in some segments of society for Islamists as well as religious based based violence and action. However even though Islamist parties didn't perform well in recent elections in the nation, Bangladesh's extreme poverty, corruption, and generally lack of good governance could lead it's society down the road of Pakistan and it's society could drift towards Islamic fundamentalism.


Yemen

Although Yemen could already be considered a hotbed of extremism, Al-Qaeda and other groups both tribal and religious based are on the uptick again and are threatening the stability of the central government of Yemen perhaps even enough to cause the country's government to eventually collapse.

Thailand

The recent political unrest in Thailand has also seen an increase in the aggression of militant Islamists among the countrie's Muslim minority. If things continue to sprawl out of control in terms of Thailand's politics there is the possibility that Islamic militants could gain a level of insurgency much in the way that Abu Sayef did in the Philippines sometime ago.

Turkey

Turkey has seen a strong uptick in society in recent years for traditional Islamic conservatism and values. In addition there has been attacks by Islamic within Turkey as well as sharp turn towards Islamism. This potentially undermines modern Turkey's history of secularism and marks a break of close ties with the west and perhaps towards a society that provides much more fertile ground for radical Islamists if current trends continue.

South/Central America

Although not a majority-Muslim region by any standards Latin America has had brushes with Islamist terror in recent decades most notably the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Bueno Aries in 1992. However groups like Hezbollah have had a presence in the region in one form or another for a while now. However that presence is likely to increase since Iran which is a sponsor of extremism and terror. Has invested heavily in Latin America over the past couple of years by establishing strong relations political, military, and economic with regimes friendly to the government in Tehran like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. Iran has also established closer links with communities of diasporas from the Islamic world throughout Latin America and Hezbollah and some other extremist groups have done the same. If this influence continues unchecked certain countries and regions in Latin America could become heavens for Islamic militants wishing to possibly do the United States or other Western nations harm in my opinion.


So we are finished examining some potential hotspots what is everyone's opinions?

Btw I may add more later if I think of any?

bourbon
07-24-2009, 03:35 PM
With the North Caucasus already a bastion of Islamist insurgency, Tatarstan is a place to watch. There is the potential of an Islamic flavored nationalism or even Islamism to develop. There are two million Tatars most of whom are Sunni Muslims; and as a Turkic people could follow the increasing ranks of Turks / Turkic people becoming Jihadiís.

davidbfpo
07-24-2009, 07:30 PM
Kevin23,

I generally dislike this form of analysis and commentary. There is more to gain from reversing the question - which Muslim states are unlikely to go 'X'?

From the UK perspective we have two major concerns for the future; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Invariably the coup by a religiously inspired "radical" military. Note, the UK has seen this happen twice before with a different type of coup: Libya with the King ousted by the military (that quickly led to Gadafy coming to the fore, a "radical") and the "we'd like it" coup in Oman. Gadafy could easily have been militarily removed by the UK.

Secondly, mindful of reading David Kilcullen on Southern Thailand and a recent RUSI Journal article your description of the Muslim provinces (below) is far from the mark:


Thailand.....The recent political unrest in Thailand has also seen an increase in the aggression of militant Islamists among the countrie's Muslim minority. If things continue to sprawl out of control in terms of Thailand's politics there is the possibility that Islamic militants could gain a level of insurgency much in the way that Abu Sayef did in the Philippines sometime ago.

Enjoy your computer-free holiday.

davidbfpo

George L. Singleton
07-24-2009, 08:40 PM
David: I tend to agree with you. But, I will tackle some of the areas our friend here "thinks" are "hot:"

Yemen, to my delight, recently kicked out Al Jazeera saying they were formeting unrest and religious animosity there and flatly not telling the truth as known to the Government of Yemen.

Anybody for any reason who puts down al Jazeera is OK by me!

Thailand, no, a largely Buddish nation. Good military and police forces, despite some civil government unrest, the King is still on his throne last time I looked.

Latin America. No. Tiny bunch of overseas Lebanese Muslins down in the corner of Argentina/Uruguay/Chile. Nothing to fret over, very isolated spot.

China, no, you are overreacting to a flash in the pan. As a class I disagree that the Islamic Chinese are anymore under persecution than the Christian Chinese. No religion is welcome by the Communist Chinese leadership, but all religions are making headway anyhow.

Bosnia, no, they are doing a good job on the Muslim side of Bosnia of trying to get back to a more European style of Islam, more moderate...remember the Bosnia Muslims look like you and me, Europeans, not Arabs.

Iran has it's own internal scism with both sides being equally Islamic, but side I would like to see "win" would do away with Republican Guard as a stand alone entity and merge them into the regular military, sharing one larger prayer rug!

Turkey wants in the worst way to join the European Union, and I think against current odds will be allowed to do so sooner vs. later.

In summary, looking over my should, I remember a JCS program site at Langley, VA in the late 1980s set up to "keep an eye on Islamic extremism." Thinly manned, nothing visibily seemed to ever come of it.

So, I agree more with David. Nothing wrong, however, with thinking outloud about areas to focus on for Islamic extremism/terrorist activity.

If you must worry about a place practically to have a flare up watch Kashmir, both sides of the border, Pak and India. Recent arrest of the most peaceful of all free Kashmir leaders was a huge mistake on the part of the Indians, he lives in the Indian part of Kashmir. Indians may already have released him, they better, as helps keep the nut cases at bay by his educated, constructive passivisim akin to the Gandhi style.

Bob's World
07-25-2009, 11:30 AM
Two major considerations that apply when looking at such potential flash points:

1. Are there any significant US interest as risk in this location/populace/state that are so important as to merit US action to intervene, and if yes, at what level/ type of intervention would be appropriate to guard those intersts at lowest possible cost/risk in a manner that does not create too much of a perception of US legitimacy over the government in question.

Rationale: No such interests and we really just don't need to be there. We're a Nation, not a charity.

2. If an insurgency is brewing, does the US have such perceptions of legitimacy over the government in question that the insurgent is likely (as in the GWOT) to believe that he must first break the support of the US to (or legitimacy of the US over) his own government prior to being able to be successful in his nationalist endeavor.

Rationale: This is the number one factor we need to keep in mind in all engagement. Perceptions of US legitimacy over friend or foe is dangerous for both of us and must be avoided. It is such perceptions that adds us to the target list of otherwise nationalist movements more than any other factor. Something also to keep in mind as we seek to exit Iraq and enhance operations in Afghanistan. Have we made minimizing perceptions of US Legitimacy over both of those governments our main planning criteria??? Not so much, I fear...

This is why insurgent populaces in places like China or Iran are of little consequence to the US in terms of risk of them targeting us. Those populaces know that the poor governance they are experiencing is not our fault. Many of the populaces of our "allies" (mostly countries whose govenrments we influenced, shaped, changed or protected in power during the Cold War and beyond) feel otherwise. Look to those states first for danger to the US.

Valin
07-25-2009, 12:21 PM
Two major considerations that apply when looking at such potential flash points:

1. Are there any significant US interest as risk in this location/populace/state that are so important as to merit US action to intervene, and if yes, at what level/ type of intervention would be appropriate to guard those intersts at lowest possible cost/risk in a manner that does not create too much of a perception of US legitimacy over the government in question.

See Zimbabwe as an example of what you're talking about. Robert Mugabe is a really really bad guy and world will be a much better place when he's dead, but for better or worse we (America) have no real national interests in seeing he goes away.

Valin
07-25-2009, 12:29 PM
David: I tend to agree with you. But, I will tackle some of the areas our friend here "thinks" are "hot:"


Latin America. No. Tiny bunch of overseas Lebanese Muslims down in the corner of Argentina/Uruguay/Chile. Nothing to fret over, very isolated spot.


Question: How long does it take to get on an airliner and fly to (say) Miami Fla.? Remember al Qaeda was in Afghanistan before 9-11, a place that while not the edge of the world...you can see it from there.

Point is it's a small world and becoming more so every day.