No Man's Land

No Man's Land: Globalization, Territory, and Clandestine Groups in Southeast Asia

Justin V. Hastings
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctt7z70v
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  • Book Info
    No Man's Land
    Book Description:

    The increased ability of clandestine groups to operate with little regard for borders or geography is often taken to be one of the dark consequences of a brave new globalized world. Yet even for terrorists and smugglers, the world is not flat; states exert formidable control over the technologies of globalization, and difficult terrain poses many of the same problems today as it has throughout human history.

    In No Man's Land, Justin V. Hastings examines the complex relationship that illicit groups have with modern technology-and how and when geography still matters. Based on often difficult fieldwork in Southeast Asia, Hastings traces the logistics networks, command and control structures, and training programs of three distinct clandestine organizations: the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, the insurgent Free Aceh Movement, and organized criminals in the form of smugglers and maritime pirates. Hastings also compares the experiences of these groups to others outside Southeast Asia, including al-Qaeda, the Tamil Tigers, and the Somali pirates.

    Through reportage, memoirs, government archives, interrogation documents, and interviews with people on both sides of the law, he finds that despite their differences, these organizations are constrained and shaped by territory and technology in similar ways. In remote or hostile environments, where access to the infrastructure of globalization is limited, clandestine groups must set up their own costly alternatives. Even when successful, Hastings concludes, criminal, insurgent and terrorist organizations are not nearly as mobile as pessimistic views of the sinister side of globalization might suggest.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6222-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables, Figures, and Maps
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)

    Osama bin Laden and the terrorist group al-Qaeda considered themselves at war with the United States in August 1996, a full five years before the United States reciprocated. In his declaration of war, bin Laden lists fifteen countries or regions where the infidels, in various guises, have either oppressed Muslims, or where Muslims are fighting or have fought back.¹ Of those, only Palestine, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia (the Land of the Two Holy Places), and Iraq are solidly in the Middle East. The rest span Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Horn of Africa. Al-Qaeda clearly has...

  6. Part I GRAPPLING WITH TERRITORY IN A GLOBALIZING WORLD

    • 1 TERRITORY AND THE IDEAS OF CLANDESTINE TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
      (pp. 17-29)

      What do they want? This is the question often asked of terrorist groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah. Goals are often used to categorize different types of terrorist organizations, either for analytical clarity or to tailor counterterrorism strategies.¹ Barbara Walter and Andrew Kydd, for example, list five main goals of political terrorism—social control, territorial change, policy change, regime change, and maintenance of the status quo.² If we want to include other types of illicit groups, ethnic separatism (and insurgency in general) can be subsumed into the goal of territorial change, but criminal organizations are not so straightforward. Although criminals may...

    • 2 TERRITORY, POLITICS, AND THE TECHNOLOGIES OF GLOBALIZATION
      (pp. 30-42)

      No matter what their beliefs about territory, most of the clandestine transnational organizations that most concern policymakers want to blow things up, and all engage in illegal activities. Certainly Jemaah Islamiyah and two of the comparative cases (GAM and maritime pirates) stage violent attacks, while smugglers undermine the formal economies of a number of countries in Southeast Asia. Ideas about territory provide the context for CTOs’ actions, and are essential for analysts to understand, if for no other reason than to give us a rough understanding of where a group wants to be, and what it wants to accomplish there....

  7. Part II TERRITORY AND TRANSNATIONAL TERRORISM

    • 3 THE RISE OF JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH, 1985–1999
      (pp. 45-63)

      This chapter explains how Jemaah Islamiyah’s command and control, training, and smuggling activities were shaped and channeled by territory and political conditions during its time in exile, from Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s flight from Indonesia to Malaysia in 1985 until Suharto fell in 1998 and Jemaah Islamiyah spread back into Indonesia. Aside from its proscription in Indonesia, the late 1980s and early 1990s were a period of relative ease for Jemaah Islamiyah. It built training camps in the Philippines and Afghanistan, set up cells in Malaysia and Singapore, and organized itself into a formal organization, all with little...

    • 4 THE DECLINE OF JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH, 1999–2009
      (pp. 64-85)

      With the fall of Suharto in 1998 came the end of the subversion charges faced by Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, and a chance to return to Indonesia. From May 1998, when Suharto resigned in the face of widespread protests and riots, and the loss of support from the military, until November 2001, when Singapore and Malaysia began arresting their respective wakalah members, Jemaah Islamiyah spread and operated with as little hindrance as could be expected for any secret group with violent intentions. Jemaah Islamiyah’s scope and activities during this period show what a clandestine organization is capable of...

    • 5 THE PLOTS OF JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH
      (pp. 86-108)

      Jemaah Islamiyah did not develop its command and control network, establish training camps, and smuggle weapons without purpose. Once the group went operational in the mid-1990s, it set about the task of staging violent attacks. But Jemaah Islamiyah was not only, or even primarily, an organization that bombed things. For the vast majority of the members of JI, studying the Qur’an, spreading radical Islamic fundamentalism, paramilitary training, and fighting to protect Muslims under siege across Southeast Asia were the reasons they joined the organization. Nevertheless, bomb plots are ideal detailed case studies of the state of a terrorist group’s transnational...

  8. Part III EXTENSIONS:: SOUTHEAST ASIA AND BEYOND

    • 6 GERAKAN ACEH MERDEKA
      (pp. 111-145)

      Jemaah Islamiyah was the most territorially expansive terrorist group ever based in Southeast Asia, which makes the problems it had with crossing international boundaries surprising. One might be tempted to attribute JI’s woes to its status as a terrorist organization—it had no territory to call its own (as most insurgent groups do), and its explicitly political and religious goals may have led it to exclude methods and routes that more open-minded groups, such as criminal syndicates, are willing to exploit. In chapter 1, I compared the different ideas of a terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah, a separatist insurgency GAM, and...

    • 7 TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
      (pp. 146-171)

      Whereas JI and GAM are (fairly coherent) single organizations whose evolution can be tracked across time, countries, and varying political conditions, individual criminal organizations are ephemeral and often ad hoc, coming together as a coherent entity for one or two operations and then dispersing. The names of criminal syndicates and the roster of personnel are constantly changing or non-existent, making them different beasts than many terrorist and insurgent organizations. R. T. Naylor goes so far as to argue that even the well-known hierarchical, permanent organizations such as the Chinese triads, the Colombian drug cartels, and the Italian mafia are in...

    • 8 FLUIDITY AND RIGIDITY IN CLANDESTINE TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
      (pp. 172-196)

      The political environments of clandestine transnational organizations change, if for no other reasons than because formerly friendly states crack down or because hostile states fall apart or turn their attention elsewhere. In large part because of crackdowns, the groups discussed in this book have a checkered record of success: Jemaah Islamiyah’s leaders Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and Abdullah Sungkar fled into exile in Malaysia, GAM was kicked out of Aceh, pirate syndicates were rolled up, and smugglers faced increased and unwanted police attention. This chapter traces what happens to the groups next, and seeks to answer some vexing questions. How did...

  9. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 197-210)

    Blowing things up matters. Categorical statements are dangerous, although less so than actual bombs. But violence or the threat of it, and state hostility to that violence as well as to activities (e.g., smuggling) that are both illicit and physical in nature, separate clandestine transnational organizations from legitimate transnational advocacy groups and multinational corporations. Whereas advocacy groups must move only information or people around the world, usually legally, and where corporations build and maintain efficient logistical networks that are facilitated by states, illicit transnational organizations by definition face hostile states. The infrastructure that makes possible the existence of far-reaching logistics...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 211-238)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 239-248)
  12. Index
    (pp. 249-256)