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Asia Watch: Rematch looms

Asia Watch: Rematch looms Categories: Asia     Author: Michael Shannon

There is a sense of déjà vu surrounding Indonesia's coming presidential election, which is now less than a year away - April 17, 2019. Incumbent President Joko Widodo will likely again face off against former army general, son-in-law of Suharto, wealthy businessman and perennial player

Asia Watch: Call and Response

Asia Watch: Call and Response Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

Some five months after Philippine troops flushed out Islamic State-aligned militants in the southern city of Marawi, recent military-militant clashes show the Islamic State's local affiliates have regrouped and spread since last year's siege, still gaining recruits and threatening once again to beco

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Asia Watch: Being There

Asia Watch: Being There Categories: Asia, Israel     Author: Michael Shannon

A small contingent of Israeli officials attended a conference in Malaysia, which has long retained a stiff anti-Israel posture. Post-visit, the Israelis spoke positively of the experience, with hopes for a thaw in relations; the Malaysians, not so much.

Asia Watch: A Leopard and his Spots

Asia Watch: A Leopard and his Spots Categories: Asia, Israel     Author: Michael Shannon

With Malaysia's next national election due to be held by August this year, voters will have their say on a government that over the past five years has been wracked with financial scandals, a crackdown on dissent, the jailing of the popular opposition leader, and religious bigotry fed by Islamic har

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Asia Watch: Laws and their limits

Asia Watch: Laws and their limits Categories: Asia     Author: Michael Shannon

Indonesian President Joko Widodo's protracted struggle with Islamist groups bent on opposing him in all things is set to continue as the 2019 presidential elections approach. Legislative and judicial changes indicate a pushback against the illiberal forces that have harassed ethnic and religious min

Asia Watch: Theory and practice

Asia Watch: Theory and practice Categories: Asia     Author: Michael Shannon

Under Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Malaysian government has long touted the merits of a cohesive and inclusive multi-religious society in the Muslim-majority nation... But a string of racial and religious incidents has brought concerns of rising Islamic conservatism to prominence, as the governm

Asia Watch: Decapitation not always fatal

Asia Watch: Decapitation not always fatal Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism     Author: Michael Shannon

The death in Marawi of the top two leaders of the Islamic State-aligned forces in Southeast Asia was a significant achievement for the Philippines military. However, few believe it will end Islamist terrorism in the southern Philippines and neighbouring regions, as the remnants of the Marawi campaig

Asia Watch: Myanmar crisis deepens

Asia Watch: Myanmar crisis deepens Categories: Asia     Author: Michael Shannon

Amidst the army crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State that has seen about 300,000 of the Muslim minority Rohingyas flee to Bangladesh, there are signs that the conflict is set to steadily deepen as nationalist identities collide with ethnic and religious loyalties.

The pendulum swings back in Jakarta

The pendulum swings back in Jakarta Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Giora Eliraz

The Government has begun taking concrete actions against the hardline elements that were alleged to be involved in orchestrating the massive show of bigotry and intolerance in the public sphere of Jakarta late last year and early this year.

Asia Watch: Staging Points

Asia Watch: Staging Points Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

The heightened activism has many regional analysts concerned that IS-affiliated militants are set to infiltrate and exploit the ongoing sectarian violence in Myanmar, as they are now referencing the conflict in IS media channels.

Asia Watch: Irregular regulation

Asia Watch: Irregular regulation Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

In signing a government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) that gave the state power to officially ban Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has made a bold and politically risky move to counter the rise of Islamist groups that spearheaded the political and legal

Amidst concern over North Korea's ICBM launch, Iranian missile shows Iran heading the same way

Amidst concern over North Korea's ICBM launch, Iranian missile shows Iran heading the same way Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran, Updates     Author: Sharyn Mittelman

The spotlight has justifiably been on North Korea for conducting another test on July 28 of an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) which could reach Australia or most of the US West Coast. However a day earlier Iran also tested a missile, which received less attention, but which is equally co

Modi in Israel

Modi in Israel Categories: Asia, Israel, Op-eds     Author: Sharyn Mittelman

Narendra Modi made history in the first week of July as the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Israel. The visit reflects the rapidly growing warm ties between the two democratic nations, as they seek greater cooperation on a range of issues including trade, defence, tourism, agriculture a

Asia Watch: A New Front Opens

Asia Watch: A New Front Opens Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

After weeks of fighting, Philippine security forces still face stiff resistance from militant fighters spread across the sprawling city, which now lies in ruins. Government troops have suffered heavy casualties due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and snipers... Although the fighting has now

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