Monday, June 3, 2019

Laugh at Mat Sabu's English, but listen carefully to what he had to say: Lessons for NZ in addressing passive support for jihadis, and a warning to China

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

This may sound funny, but bear in mind that it is a speech at a  forum for the exchange of ideas, not English elocution: 

While the Malaysian politician Wee Ka Siong thinks these statements amusing, they reflect long held Malaysian thinking on these matters:

On the matter of terrorism:

Without mincing his words, Dr Wee questioned Mohamad’s logic in saying that in order to prevent further terrorist attacks, the authorities should identify the parents of these perpetrators.
“Terrorism isn’t inherited. Why should their parents be identified to combat terrorism activities?”
In fact, Malaysia was one of the earliest venues for the British policy of containment as a means of defeating terrorism. Sir Gerard Templer's new village scheme worked on the assumption that effective control of communist terrorist required control of entire families and the communities that they formed into. 
That Sabu has raised familial links as a factor in jihadism reflects the Malaysian experience during e the Emergency (and after, between 1960 and 1985), and in the present time where familial links have proven vital to jihadis in and from Malaysia.

On the matter of China and the South China Sea

Listen again and take note of Sabu's reference to the likely response from the United States to any Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. 
Sabu's statements are consistent with Malaysia''s  long held policy of non-alignment,which has allowed successive governments to work with the United States,, as well as Russia and China in all fields including defense.


The Problem Of Passive Supporters Of Jihadi Terrorists And The Putin Solution

by Ganesh Sahathevan
While I have previously taken a top-down approach to describing the networks that support  jihadists (see , the profileartion of Al-Qaeda franchises and off-shoots, such as those at work in Syriai requires that a bottom-up , or grassroots, approach be adopted.

While the top down approach looked at the support states provided jihadists, the bottom-up approach is concerned with how individuals at the grassroots can comprise networks that jihadists might rely on for their activities. Civil rights activists might be alarmed by such language, afraid that large sections of a given population could be branded jihadists, but there is in fact a theoratical framework and empirical  evidence to support this hypothesis.

Juan José Miralles Canals ii describes these types of networks using a mathematical and computer modeling approach:
Passive supporters of the jihadist cause are normal people who do not need to express their position explicitly. They just do not oppose a jihadist act in case they could. They are sharing independently an identical opinion of identifying with the jihadist cause. They do not need to communicate between then. This is an individual dormant attitude associated to a personal opinion. It does not need to be explicitly so. They are unnoticeable, and most of them reject the violent aspect of the jihadist action.
Social permeability to the jihad describes the physical pathways that nodes of the jihadist networks can establish and use to move freely and safely along, thanks to the passive supporters of the jihadist cause.
Social permeability to the jihad  describes the physical pathways that nodes of the jihadist networks can establish and use to move freely and safely along, thanks to the passive supporters of the jihadist cause.

Cannals provides a mathematical analysis which concludes that disruption at the nodes is required to disrupt jihadists activities. Given what was seen in Iraq, and now Syria ,and well before these, Gaza, of apparently innocent non-combatants supporting the jihadists' cause, it does appear that Cannals theoretical perspective has and is being borne out in the real world.

I have previously written about the relevance to this day of the British Malaya administration's policy of new villagesiii, used to defeat the Communist Party Of Malaya, which while being financed by the Peoples' Republic Of China, relied heavily on the support of local Chinese to facilitate their activities on the ground.
That solution may today seem inhumane, but critics conveniently forget that lives were saved by that solution. Be that as it may, Russian President Vladimir Putin might have provided an alternative , a middle path:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the controversial bill ….amending the Criminal Code to expand the number of offenses classified as terrorism and require the relatives of people deemed to have committed acts of terrorism to pay financial compensation for the material damage they causediv.
Not unexpectedly Putin's law has already come under criticism. However it is suggested that critics should rather see this law as the basis for other similair policy instruments that might be used to curb acts of terrorism. Either that, or a return to the new villages.


ii Fourth-generation warfare: Jihadist networks and percolation

iv Russia To Hold Relatives Of 'Terrorists' Financially Responsible For Material Damage

Posted by  on February 25, 2014 at 18:10 | Permalink

Ending support for terrorism in Iraq: Lessons from the Coalition forces past

The following are notes from 3 journal articles which  outline the history of the new villages scheme, devised and implemented by the British, with assistance from the Australians and Americans, which led to the relatively speedy end of the guerrilla war waged by the Malayan Communist Party in Malaysia (then Malaya) between 1948 and 1960:
On its origins
Britain’s inability to crush the guerrillas caused great frustration in London. In March 1950, Defence Minister Emanuel Shinwell informed the prime minister that he was “very disturbed” by the “grave” situation in Malaya….Anxiety became intense after the insurgents ambushed and assassinated the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, in October 1951. That same month saw the highest number of casualties among the security forces since 1949. An internal report prepared in 1957 acknowledged,“There is no doubt that in the first two years of its activities the CTO [Communist Terrorist Organization] was a very real threat to the security and economic recovery of Malaya after the war…..In  1950 the British secretary of state for war, John Strachey, declared: “I do not believe that the Army alone, as such, can finish them off. In order to finish…them off we have got to have a large military effort . . . and an equally large police and administrative and political effort…..The counterinsurgency employed a range of strategies and fought on a number of fronts…..Britain launched a major “population control” effort involving the relocation of more than 50,000 Chinese “squatters,” the creation of nearly 450 “New Villages,” and the mass deportations of detainees.
On its impact
Today the initial phase  of this resettlement program is an accomplished fact. Squatters have been relocated in protected areas bounded by authority and order. Resettlement is the primary reason why Malaya today can carry the battle to the Communists. Though it does not mean the end of Malaya's drive against Communism, it has proved to be an effective weapon against the terrorist attacks by the guerrillas. After the completion of the resettlement program, terrorist attacks fell off almost 75 percent, Communist guerrillas surrendered  and deserted in increasing numbers, and security force and civilian casualties dropped appreciably. Resettlement of the Chinese squatters has helped to disrupt the Communist organization in Malaya and has severed important underground links and disorganized Communist cells.
On its role in nation building
Begun in June 1948, the scheme was completed in 1954 without causing widespread unemployment--an achievement unparalleled in all of Southeast Asia--and was especially noteworthy because it coincided with a period when the Federation of Malaya was preparing itself for self-government and eventual independence….although it was conceived as a military necessity, the establishment of Rasah New Village improved the living conditions of some 2,000 peasants.
Naturally, if such a scheme is to be implemented in Iraq, it would need to be modified to suit local conditions.

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