Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fracture and Migration


Estrella Torres on how lack of ASEAN unity has strengthened China's hand in the South China Sea:
“The lack of unified position of Asean is allowing major powers to come into play,” said Heazle said in his presentation at the Second Manila Conference of the South China Sea held at Manila Hotel on Wednesday. 
Sumathy Permal, senior researcher of Center for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, Maritime Institute of Malaysia said failure of Asean to come up with a unified position will create three scenarios where China will be able to increase military presence in the disputed waters. 
One, the sea disputes will be causing more conflict of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) between China and major powers; two, China will be able to push through with building marine nuclear plants; and three, China will continue to hold military exercises over the disputed waters. 
Asean Foreign Ministers have been held in a deadlock, not coming up with a joint communiqué since 2012 due to the divided stand on South China Sea disputes, as four members — Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei are claimants to the disputed waters.

Paul Goble on how Tajikistan exemplifies the zero-sum game between China, US and Russia  in Central Asia:
Nowhere has the spread of Chinese influence been greater than in Tajikistan. Dushanbe-based commentator Arkady Barayev says that this has been the result of a longstanding calculation. Namely, China has always sought first to expand into neighboring countries that are internally weak. There, it establishes its influence by taking control of industrial enterprises and natural resources. Only after that does it push to dominate the political sphere or even “seize” territory (, July 27). Tajikistan has been ripe for Chinese picking, the commentator says, because this small, mountainous Central Asian republic suffered almost a decade of civil war in the immediate aftermath of independence, because of its lack of an industrial base and natural resources other than water, because of the continuing threats from neighboring Afghanistan, and because of Dushanbe’s failure to develop the economy even to the extent that it could. Consequently, Beijing has “begun to extend its financial influence in various spheres of the [Tajikistani] economy, to buy up industries and to take control of agricultural land.” The result, he notes, is that “we have become completely dependent on China” because the country has been “filled up by Chinese entrepreneurs.” Not wanting to call attention to the influx of Chinese workers, businessmen and money, Dushanbe has tried to play down the numbers. But even official government figures show a dramatic growth in all these categories over the last several years. According to the authorities, the growth in the number of Chinese nationals living and working in Tajikistan has increased by 30 percent since 2015; and unofficial estimates suggest that there are now 150,000 Chinese working in Tajikistan, even though the government says that the total quotas for foreign workers is only 8,000 a year.

Krystal Chia and Lin Xueling on the migration of Daesh to Southeast Asia:
ISIS itself has also made it clear that it is targeting Southeast Asia. 
Its recent videos called on followers to focus on Malaysia and the Philippines. Indonesian children were shown firing rifles and burning their passports. ISIS launched its first Malay-language newspaper - which Singapore has banned - in June, coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan. 
Security intelligence firm The Soufan Group estimates that 700 Indonesians and 100 Malaysians are fighting alongside ISIS in the Middle East. Some of these fighters formed an ISIS subunit, Katibah Nusantara, or the Malay Archipelago Combat Unit, in 2014. 
But returning fighters are far more dangerous than those travelling to join ISIS, says Mr Ahmad, who was an expert witness in Malaysia court cases involving terror group Al Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago in 2015.   
“When they return home, they will bring their ideology, expertise and experience in war, and they would want to do it (wage war) here," he said. 
At least 100 Indonesians who have fought in Iraq and Syria have returned home, sai Indonesia’s intelligence chief Sutiyoso last November.

Neil Mellen on how US policy failures in Micronesia have driven an exodus to Hawaii:
Despite eight decades of costly “capacity building,” it is virtually impossible to register property or enforce a contract in Micronesia. The World Bank reports that it is one of the hardest places on earth to open a business. Half of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. Precious few private — and virtually no nonprofit — sector jobs exist. There is no native independent press. More than half the population in some Micronesian states lack electricity. A larger share is without clean piped water.   
Many citizens of Palau, the Marshalls, and the Federated States of Micronesia struggle to communicate the complexities of their status and rights as citizens of Freely Associated States (FAS) living in the U.S. 
However, well-intended talk of civil rights for Micronesians in Hawaii obscures the wholesale tragedy of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s massive and sustained failures that drive so many Micronesians to Hawaii in the first place.

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