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Editorial: Nuclear Shortsightedness Categories: Asia, Australasia, International Security, Iran     Author: Colin Rubenstein

On April 22, in the context of the Australian state visit by US Vice President Mike Pence, North Korea ominously and outrageously threatened to target Australia with a nuclear strike should it follow the US lead in isolating Pyongyang. This event should draw attention to the need for Australia to c

Asia Watch: Strings Attached

Asia Watch: Strings Attached Categories: Asia, Saudi Arabia     Author: Michael Shannon

The arrival in Kuala Lumpur of Saudi King Salman and his delegation - an entourage of some 1,500 princes, ministers, officials, businessmen and security personnel, plus hundreds of tonnes of cargo to support a caravan of six jumbo jets - rendered such a spectacle that little room was left to ponder

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Iran's Korean Nuclear Backdoor

Iran's Korean Nuclear Backdoor Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran     Author: Refael Ofek & Dany Shoham

While the Vienna Nuclear Deal (VND) reached in 2015 is focused on preventing (or at least postponing) the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, its restrictions are looser with regard to related delivery systems (particularly nuclear-capable ballistic missiles) and to the transfer of nuclear techn

Ahok, Islamism and Indonesian Democracy

Ahok, Islamism and Indonesian Democracy Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Giora Eliraz

The results of Jakarta's first round of gubernatorial elections might be confusing to many casual observers of Indonesian politics - the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor, Bauska Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, came first. This happened even though Ahok has been, during recent months, in the

Asia Watch: Looking East? Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

The self-proclaimed "caliph" of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is... apparently searching for new territory and new recruits. The Far East is certainly on his radar and one incubator might be the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the Philippines, specifically Basilan and other islan

The Last Word: Under the same sun

The Last Word: Under the same sun Categories: Asia, Interfaith Dialogue, Israel     Author: Jeremy Jones

Book-ended by beautiful Jewish and Muslim religious chants and a presentation on the wisdom of the late Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), the participants had a unique opportunity for open, honest, informed and passionate exchange of wisdom, opinions and knowledge. This remarkable session was towards th

Bibi's historic Singapore swing

Bibi's historic Singapore swing Categories: Asia, Israel     Author: Glen Falkenstein

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's remarks at this week's dinner with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are emblematic of a multifaceted bilateralism that has seen once clandestine engagement between the two nations grow into a very public, and profitable relationship.

Asia Watch: True to form

Asia Watch: True to form Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Israel, United Nations     Author: Michael Shannon

Support from Malaysia and Indonesia for the United Nations Security Council's Resolution 2334 - which condemned Israeli settlement construction - came as no surprise, given both nations' longstanding sympathy for the Palestinian cause and concordant refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Isr

Asia Watch: Mixed signals on new jihadist offshoot

Asia Watch: Mixed signals on new jihadist offshoot Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

Duterte has expressed sympathy with the historic grievances of minority Muslims in Mindanao and would prefer talks to war with armed Islamist groups. But groups that have aligned with international Islamist franchises, whether al-Qaeda or Islamic State, can expect less sympathy.

The Last Word: Friendship in Java

The Last Word: Friendship in Java Categories: Antisemitism, Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Jeremy Jones

In Indonesia recently, I had reason to reflect on bigotry, particularly as it relates to problems of terrorism, extremism and threats to civilised societies. My first engagement was in Jakarta, at the 6th World Peace Forum (WPF) - hosted by the Indonesian Muslim organisation Muhammadiyah, the relat

Video: Bangkok Track II conference – "Islamist Movements and Middle East Turmoil: Implications for Southeast Asia

Video: Bangkok Track II conference – "Islamist Movements and Middle East Turmoil: Implications for Southeast Asia Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Multimedia, Terrorism, Updates    

Veteran Israel commentator Ehud Yaari delivered a very perceptive overview of the Middle East at a public session hosted by the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) in Bangkok: "Islamist Movements and Middle East Turmoil: Lessons from and Implications for Southeast Asia". It is hig

Asia Watch: Causes and Effects Categories: Asia     Author: Michael Shannon

Rapidly consolidating power over key institutions of the state, and backed by very high approval ratings, Duterte is in a position to redirect the Philippines' foreign policy like none of his predecessors... Although Manila released a statement of "regret", and Duterte insisted that his foul-mouthe

Asia Watch: Own goal

Asia Watch: Own goal Categories: Asia, Israel     Author: Michael Shannon

Malaysians avidly follow football... The ultimate dream is to host the FIFA World Cup. To make this outside possibility a little more likely, in 2013 Malaysia offered and was accepted to host the 2017 FIFA Congress that will determine the host nation of the 2026 World Cup. As so often happens, poli

Asia Watch: King-pin down

Asia Watch: King-pin down Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism     Author: Michael Shannon

Santoso and his men from the MIT have been behind numerous attacks on police since 2012, particularly the anti-terror unit Detachment 88. By the time he was shot, he was responsible for the deaths of more than a dozen police and had tried to kill many more. Having pledged allegiance to Islamic Stat

Asia Watch: Crossing a line Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism     Author: Michael Shannon

The Islamic month of Ramadan is meant to be a period of physical sacrifice (fasting) in order to achieve deeper religiosity, but all too often it highlights excess. Indonesia and Malaysia may be far from Islam's Middle Eastern heartland, but are increasingly subject to its influences.

Same old Mahathir

Same old Mahathir Categories: Antisemitism, Asia, Updates     Author: Gareth Narunsky

One could have been forgiven for thinking, during a 60 Minutes interview with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in March, that the one-time strongman of Malaysian politics had mellowed out significantly.

Asia Watch: Enter the "Strongman"

Asia Watch: Enter the "Strongman" Categories: Asia     Author: Michael Shannon

There is no shortage of opinions about the Philippines' President-elect, 71-year-old Rodrigo Duterte. A brash, foul-mouthed, misogynistic, fascistic strongman; a courageous, uncompromising, vengeful practitioner of rough "justice" that brought law and order to a city beset by criminal and political

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Israel and Singapore - out of the shadows

Israel and Singapore - out of the shadows Categories: Asia, Israel     Author: Sharyn Mittelman

While, in the past, it was always kept low-key, Israel and Singapore have a deep and enduring relationship that has lasted more than 50 years. Not only do these two small but prosperous states at opposite ends of Asia have extensive cooperation in commerce and defence trade, but they share a profoun

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