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Thailand and Philippines perceived as the most exposed Asian countries in Global Terrorism Index

Luc Citrinot - 21 January 2013, 06:19

Thailand and the Philippines are fighting with local terrorism while Indonesia experiences again a wave of terrorist threats…

BANGKOK- It is a ranking that is unlikely to please neither Thailand nor the Philippines. The first published Index Global Terrorism Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) ranks 158 countries based on the number of terrorist attacks, the number of fatalities and injuries from terrorism, as well as the estimated property damage. The GTI analyses many other factors  and has found intergroup cohesion, human rights, group  grievances, corruption and governance to be associated with terrorism.

Most terrorist attacks occur in a wider conflict situation. The index shows that global terrorism only started to increase after the escalation of the Iraq war. This was subsequently followed by further increasing waves of terrorism in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan eighteen months later.

Two lessons are to be learned from the survey: first, in contrary to the public believe, low-income countries are less affected by terrorism than lower  middle-income countries, indicating that poverty is not necessarily a main cause of terrorism. Private citizens and property are the most common targets of terrorism while the military is targeted in only 4% of attacks.
The most targeted areas by terrorism were in 2011 the Middle-East, India, Pakistan and Russia. There were 7473 fatalities in 2011, which is 25% less than in 2007. Afghanistan and India are recognized as the the most exposed countries in Asia to extremism.

However, a big surprise is the presence of two countries within Southeast Asia – Thailand and the Philippines –in the top ten, indicating a high risk of terrorist activity.

Thailand, struggling to contain a shadowy insurgency in its southern border provinces, ranked 8th. Among Southeast Asian nations, it was first on the list.

"Out of the terrorist attacks which were claimed or attributed to a group, almost all entirely are related to the insurgency in the south of the country between Muslim separatists and the Thai government," the report said, while noting that the perpetrators remain unidentified in 85% of attacks.

Main targets according to the report were businesses, police and increasingly educational institutions. Schools are effectively perceived as the instrument of the “Thailandisation” of a deeply Malay-Muslim area.

In the Philippines, militant groups representing a spectrum of ideologies – from Islamist extremism to Marxism-Leninism - continue regularly to hit the country. Terrorism activities might however diminish in the near future as a peace agreement has been signed between the Government and one of the most active militant group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front."Terrorism in the Philippines is intrinsically tied with nationalist separatist claims by people living in provinces in the Southern Philippines," the report said.

Indonesia ranked in the report 29th compared to ranking 8th for Thailand and 10th for the Philippines. But a recent wave of attempts to hit the country through terrorism acts was recently unveiled. Police and Indonesian military acted swiftly arresting many leaders of terrorist groups. However many cells continue to be active in the archipelago. They are based in some areas of Central and East Java as well as in Ambon (Moluccas) and Poso in Sulawesi.

"In 2012, Indonesia has found many new faces of terrorism," Al Chaidar, a terrorism expert who focuses on Indonesia, told the news website Khabar Southeast Asia via telephone. "There are many factions among the networks; they are growing and establishing other smaller groups”, he added.

The ranking does not reflect however the real danger of the country: best example is Papua New Guinea which ranks 115 in the index… despite the fact that Port Moresby is acknowledged as one of the most dangerous cities to stay in Asia-Pacific!

(Sources: Vision of Humanity- Khabar Southeast Asia)

GTI Ranking 2011 in Asia
Countries such as Laos, Singapore, South Korea or Vietnam are not classified as they did not suffer any terrorism act in year 2011. No data for Timor Leste and Brunei.

Country

GTI ranking worldwide

GTI ranking in Asia

Pakistan

2

1

Afghanistan

3

2

India

4

3

Thailand

8

4

Philippines

10

5

Sri Lanka

16

6

Nepal

22

7

China PRC

23

8

Indonesia

29

9

Myanmar

33

10

Bangladesh

39

11

Australia

64

12

Bhutan

72

13

Malaysia

90

14

Cambodia

101

15

New Zealand

104

16

Japan

109

17

Papua New Guinea

115

18

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