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IHT: Attack Against U.S. Widens Fears in Southeast Asia
By Michael Richardson
14/9/2001 7:56 pm Fri
[Ancaman KMM dirantau ini yang sengaja digembar-gemburkan oleh kerajaan
itu akan merugikan Malaysia juga akhirnya. Pelabur tidak akan berminat
untuk datang ke rantau ini. Siapakah yang akan rugi jika tidak kita sendiri?.
Tohmahan kerajaan itu akan menyebabkan Amerika menyasarkan negara ini.
Sekarang sudah banyak berita dunia menyebut Malaysia adalah sebahagian
daripada rangkaian Osama B Laden.
Pemerhati pro-Barat sengaja memperbesarkan serangan oleh beberapa individu
dan menyalahkan Islam tetapi tidak pula mempertikaikan pembunuhan beramai-ramai
yang lebih dahsyat terhadap orang Islam oleh pihak tertentu (yang jelas bukan
bersifat individu). Seluruh dunia membisu bila beribu-ribu umat Islam di Aceh
dan Ambon disembelih hidup-hidup (termasuk di dalam masjid). Mengapa tidak
disebut 'ekstrim' pula mereka yang melakukan pembunuhan ngeri itu?
International Herald Tribune
Attack Against U.S. Widens Fears in Southeast Asia
Western and Southeast Asian officials say they have evidence of
increasing connections among Muslim extremist groups in Indonesia,
Malaysia and the Philippines, and between them and international
Officials and analysts note that growing economic hardship and
unemployment in the region, political instability and chronic sectarian
and separatist conflict are fueling Islamic extremism in Indonesia,
Malaysia and the Philippines.
As a result, Southeast Asia has become "a potentially fertile recruiting
ground" for radical Muslim organizations, said Daljit Singh, a senior
research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.
"They are taking advantage of instability to spread the Islamic cause
and try to push out America," he said. "The single most important issue
that fuels religious extremism in the region is the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and the feeling that the international community, especially the
U.S., should do more to resolve it."
Although Indonesia is a secular state, it has the world's largest Muslim
population, some of whom oppose the country's close ties to the United
States and demand Islamic rule for their country.
Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda of Indonesia said Wednesday that
Indonesian authorities had thwarted two planned attacks on the U.S.
Embassy in Jakarta, but did not give other details.
Security was recently tightened after Washington received what it said
was a credible threat against U.S. interests and citizens in Indonesia.
U.S. officials say that those who carried out the attacks in the United
States on Tuesday may have had links to the Saudi militant Osama bin
Laden or his Qaida group. Rohan Gunaratna, a fellow at the Center for
the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St. Andrew's University
in Scotland, said that Qaida had provided money and training to a few
Islamic groups in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and planned
to "widen and deepen" its influence in the region.
He said that Qaida was extending its influence in Southeast Asia by
using the Internet, infiltrating Muslim nongovernmental organizations,
sending extremist religious leaders to the region, and taking activists for
training in Afghanistan, where Mr. bin Laden is based.
"The chances are very high that in the next three years, we will fight
terrorism, specifically international terrorism, that enters Indonesia," the
deputy chief of the Indonesian Army, Lieutenant General Kiki
Syahnakri, said in a recent interview with The Australian newspaper.
He said that Indonesia wanted to strengthen cooperation with U.S.
government agencies to upgrade its anti-terrorist capabilities.
President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia and Prime Minister
Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia agreed at a recent meeting in
Kuala Lumpur that their security agencies should cooperate closely to
counter Muslim extremist groups in the region.
Shortly after they met, Muslim separatist rebels in the Indonesian
province of Aceh threatened to disrupt traffic in one of the world's
busiest sea lanes, the Malacca Straits, unless ships sought permission
Shortly after they met, Muslim separatist rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh threatened to disrupt traffic in one of the world's busiest sea lanes, the Malacca Straits, unless ships sought permission to pass.
The Indonesian police say that a small group of Malaysian Muslim
militants were behind a number of bombings in Jakarta, including at two
Christian churches in July, that wounded an estimated 70 people.
Last month, the police in Malaysia arrested 10 men who they said were
members of an Afghan-trained militant group, Kumpulan Mujahidin
Malaysia, that hopes to turn the country, which has a majority of
Muslims among its population, into a "pure" Islamic society. Like
Indonesia, Malaysia is a secular state, although Islam is the official
Bin Laden said to be operating in more than 34 countries
Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden and his network, prime suspects in the
terror attacks on the United States, are believed to be operating in at
least 34 countries, according to a report on terrorism released on
The report by terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman of the Library of
Congress' Congressional Research Service was completed just before
three hijacked airplanes crashed into New York's World Trade Center and
the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth hijacked airline plunged into a field
Its conclusions, some of which underscore or confirm previously reported
information, are all the more chilling because of Tuesday's devastating
assaults in which thousands may have died.
"Signs continue to point to a decline in state sponsorship of terrorism as
well as a rise in the scope of threat posed by the independent network of
exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden," Katzman wrote.
Bin laden and his followers pose "an increasingly significant threat to U.S.
interests in the Near East and perhaps elsewhere," he said.
U.S. allegations of past plotting by the bin Laden network "suggest that
the network wants to strike within the United States itself," the report
Katzman said it is "highly likely" that bin Laden and his followers have
acquired some of the shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that the
United States provided Muslim militants who fought the Soviet Union in
Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Bin laden, a wealthy Islamic fundamentalist now living in Afghanistan, has
emerged as a prime suspect in the attacks.
He already has a $5 million reward on his head and is accused of numerous
crimes against the United States, including masterminding the bombing of
two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 that killed more than 200
Katzman said bin Laden is estimated to have about $300 million in
personal financial assets with which he funds his network and as many as
3,000 Islamic militant operatives.
Cells of bin Laden's Al-Quaida (the base) network have been identified or
suspected in countries throughout the Middle East and Africa, in Asian
nations like Malaysia and the Philippines, in Ecuador, Bosnia, Albania,
Britain, Canada and "allegedly inside the United States itself," the report