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  1. #1
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Bangladesh: Secular - v- Islamist?

    Good in-depth Boston Review article on Islamism vs secularism in Bangladesh. Secularist trends driven by Bengali nationalism are strong, but as the two main political parties are increasingly discredited by corruption and now a semi-coup by the Army, the comparatively clean Islamists are slowly rising.

    Moderator's Note

    Thread title changed (march 2013) from 'Revolution: The Islamist Challenge to Secular Bangladesh to Bangladesh' to 'Bangladesh: Secular - v- Islamist?'
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-02-2013 at 05:34 PM. Reason: Add Note

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    Strategic Insights, Jun 07:

    Democracy in Bangladesh: From Fragility to Collapse?
    The events that have been unfolding since Prime Minister Khaleda Zia completed her five-year term in October 2006 have farther-reaching implications for democracy in Bangladesh than normally recognized. The rapidly changing political atmosphere during the past few months has considerably damaged various democratic institutions in the country, especially the offices of the President, Prime Minister, Election Commission, as well as Caretaker Government.

    By all accounts, the second Caretaker Government formed in January 2007 enjoys popular support for its actions against political corruption. At the same time, the Caretaker Government has exceeded the limited mandate and tenure set by the Constitution, and has usurped powers that only an elected government could carry forward. It has emerged as a benign dictatorship and is trying to consolidate democracy through actions that do not conform with democratic norms.

    As the following analysis will highlight, every major institution in Bangladesh has proved to be inadequate to keep the country on the democratic path....

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    CSIS, 27 Oct 08: Islamic Radical Ideologies and South Asian Security: The Case of Bangladesh
    Sunni Muslim radicals, a violent and vocal minority, are responsible for the largest number of violent terrorist incidents in the world today. This trend is expected to continue for at least the next decade. South Asia, which is home to 28% of the world’s Muslim population, has been particularly badly hit by the activities of these radicals with the number of violent incidents and deaths in this region ranking second only to Iraq and the Middle East. These radicals are also substantially responsible for the destablilisation of Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are now making a concerted effort to increase their influence Bangladesh, which along with the state of West Bengal in India, is home to 10% of the global Muslim population.....
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-06-2018 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Copied from a regional thread

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Justice for war crimes leads to protests

    The mass protests by young people in Dhaka have not been well reported here:
    With a huge green and red flag of Bangladesh flying over their heads, they shouted slogans from the liberation war of 1971: “Joy Bangla” (Victory to Bengal); “Tumi ke? Aami ke? Bangalee Bangalee” (Who are you? Who am I? Bengali). They even added some of their own: “Amader ek hi dabi Razakar er fashi” (Our one demand, hang the Razakars); “Jamaat-e-Islami made in Pakistan”.

    Shahbag Square is what you make of it. The world is calling it Bangladesh’s own Tahrir Square, some are claiming it is part of the Arab or Muslim Spring, Indians want to know if the Anna Hazare movement is an inspiration. In part, it is an assertion of secular values and an assault on religious fanatics; in part, it is the resurgence of nationalism among the youth.
    Link:http://tehelka.com/in-concert-for-ba....OhWLBZnt.dpuf and a very general report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21626843

    Today the BBC reports disorder linked to the Islamac party:
    Three people have been killed in Bangladesh after demonstrators protesting against the death sentence on an Islamist party leader clashed with police for a third day running.
    Link, which includes a very partial witness account:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21639831
    davidbfpo

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    Reuters says the death toll is up to 30 now.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...91R0AN20130228

    Over at Brown Pundits they say the flight to India has accelerated.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Bangladesh and the Islamic State

    Two foreigners, an Italian and Japanese were recently murdered in Bangladesh, and in both cases the Islamic State took credit. There also was the recent killings of a couple of secular bloggers. We could be witnessing the emergence of a downward trend in the world's third largest Muslim country.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/1...0RX0JJ20151003

    Islamic State claims responsibility for killing Japanese man in Bangladesh

    Islamic State claimed responsibility for shooting a Japanese man in Bangladesh on Saturday, the second foreign national it says it has killed there within a week, and threatened more such attacks.

    http://thediplomat.com/2015/09/bangl...and-democracy/

    Bangladesh on the Brink: Between Terrorism and Democracy

    The third largest Muslim country in the world, Bangladesh has a national identity stemming from a heritage of moderate Sunni Islam and a historical tradition of tolerance and pluralism. With a per capita income of just $1,080, Bangladesh is ranked among the poorest countries in the world, yet it has sustained a democratic tradition since independence (although interspersed with several military coups). Bangladesh’s blend of moderate Islam with a secular-oriented, democratic state could serve as a model for the region.

    Yet Bangladesh is also threatened by a rising tide of radical Islamist violence that has its roots in both the struggle for independence and a more recent wave of radicalized violence. For a relatively small diplomatic investment, the international community could help to deny radical Islamist groups a safe haven in South Asia and preserve a moderate Islamic democracy, by encouraging a negotiated settlement between the main political parties, working with the government of Bangladesh to root out terrorist organizations before they are able to metastasize, and providing protection for progressive media voices that are increasingly being targeted by terrorists.
    The article goes on to recommend the need to intervene with assistance before the problem is unmanageable. Do we have either the foresight or means to engage left of bang to help prevent major problems there? Problems that will almost certainly spill over their borders.

    A little dated (only 2014), but still a good summary of terrorist and extremist groups in Bangladesh at the following link.

    http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/.../view/348/html

    Bangladesh: an Emerging Centre for Terrorism in Asia

    Abstract

    This Research Note examines the political developments that have occurred in Bangladesh in 2013 and explores how these have fed into the rise of religious militancy. The ongoing conflicts not only intensify the instability and schisms within the country, but also illustrate that there is a rise in religious militancy that the country can ill afford at this juncture. Furthermore, it highlights how some members of the Bangladeshi diaspora in the United States and United Kingdom have been recruited by al-Qaeda and its affiliates to plot mass casualty attacks. Significantly, it is argued that all these threads are tied together because of the murky role of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JEI), which is Bangladesh’s largest religious political party. A further deterioration of Bangladesh’s democracy and political stability could create additional space within which Islamist militants may be increasingly free to operate not just for domestic terrorist activity but for preparing internationals plots as well.
    Added by Moderator: there is an old thread, which started in 2007 and maybe useful now:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3015
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-03-2015 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Mods note

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Intervene before the problem is unmanageable

    Bill,

    I can understand your concerns, but would argue this passage is wrong:
    The article goes on to recommend the need to intervene with assistance before the problem is unmanageable. Do we have either the foresight or means to engage left of bang to help prevent major problems there? Problems that will almost certainly spill over their borders.
    We need to consider how Bangladeshi and its people would react to such an intervention assistance? Are we being asked to help by all parties or just those in power now. How will the enemies of democracy plus, labelled as "extremists" react? Another Western intervention, even more so if seen and portrayed as just being the US & Western Europe.

    I have a vague recollection that the 'Rapid Action Battalion' cited by the author as bad was externally trained for CT work. Did an earlier assistance help to create this bad / problem?

    If intervention assistance was to be given it must be requested, preferably by the two main political parties and provided by NGOs, not the "West". Perhaps there is a role for the Commonwealth?
    davidbfpo

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    David,

    Intervention is probably not a good word choice, it has connotations that are not helpful. The appropriate word is assistance, but this gets tricky due to the endemic corruption in the country. A lot of the violence is politically motivated between the two main political parties. How to do you assist in a way that targets the growing extremism without supporting one of the political parties? UK, US, China, India, and others have been providing various forms of assistance over the years. Most of it focused on economic development. Bangladesh security forces, to include the RAB which you discussed, have demonstrated some proficiency in getting after the terrorist threat. Unfortunately,they often conflate getting after terrorists and getting after political opponents as the same thing , which creates a tension that limits how much assistance the West will provide.

    All that said, standing by and potentially allowing radical Islam to grow (it has always been there), potentially exponentially, threatens our economic (regional instability) and security interests. I'm not proposing any solutions in this or the previous post, but rather pointing out the potential risk. A risk best dealt with sooner rather than later. Cheers!

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Not a good sign in Dhaka

    The low-level Jihadist campaign in Bangladesh now appears to have taken an ISIS "turn", although labelled as "militants", with an attack on a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter, taking Westerners hostage and many deaths when the military - the Rapid Action Battalion - to the fore.

    Links:https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ttack-hostages

    The BBC cites the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on an act during Ramadan:
    It was an extremely heinous act.....What kind of Muslims are these people? They don't have any religion. My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh.
    Plus:
    Over the past three years, more than 40 people have been killed in Bangladesh by suspected Islamists. But the attacks mostly targeted individuals - secular bloggers, writers, activists, academics and members of religious minorities. The attack on the cafe was on a different scale. It seems to have been well planned and well co-ordinated.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36692613

    A BBC analyst adds:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-36692741
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-02-2016 at 12:55 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    Some thoughts on the logic behind the Islamist campaign in Bangladesh

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...-issue-in.html

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    Default Bangladesh: The New Nexus for Transnational Terrorism

    Bangladesh: The New Nexus for Transnational Terrorism

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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    Default Bangladesh: Secular - v- Islamist?

    A series of "Of Interest" papers published by SSI:
    ....This paper is about the history, rise and current state of Islamic fundamentalism in South Asia, the most populated region in the world and home to the largest concentration of Muslims on earth. There are over 1.5 billion people in South Asia, which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

    If one includes China, directly north, there are 2.7 billion people in this region, nearly one-half of the world’s population. South Asia is home to nearly one half of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. Nearly 30 percent of this region is Muslim.

    From October 2006–March 2007, I traveled in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, countries I have worked in before as a journalist. I briefly visited Indian-administered Kashmir, where I had not been before. I had visited Pakistani-administered Kashmir in December 2005. Drawing on my own experiences in the past, I wanted to study the history and rise of Islamic fundamentalism and see where it is today.

    This is a report on my trip and on my conversations with academics, activists, politicians, writers, and religious leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, and Bangladesh....
    Part I: The History, Rise, and Future of Islamic Fundamentalism in South Asia

    Part II: Afghanistan and Pakistan

    Part III: Bangladesh
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-06-2018 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Copied from a regional thread

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    Default Extremism and Governance in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia

    A forthcoming event from the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at CSIS & The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University:

    Public Attitudes and Discontent: Extremism and Governance in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia

    This Thursday, January 29, 2009 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm at CSIS
    4th Floor Conference Room

    Presentation and discussion by:
    Craig Charney, Ph.D., President, Charney Research
    Lincoln Mitchell, Ph.D., Arnold A. Saltzman Assistant Professor in the Practice of International Affairs, Columbia University

    Please join us for the release of a major new study detailing survey findings on public attitudes towards extremism and governance in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The research is based on comprehensive, comparative nationwide surveys in three key Muslim states. The research explores public opinions on terrorism and extremism, the United States and its allies, and satisfaction with government performance, public services, and security forces

    Discussion Followed by Reception

    To RSVP, please contact Justine Fleischner at JFleischner@csis.org

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