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According to terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia might have put the damper down on Islamist terrorism in that region. At least for a while.
Several hundred people were killed this past year in southern Thailand in the festering insurgency between Islamic separatists and the Thai military. And Aceh, the hardest hit area in Indonesia, is the home of GAM, a separatist group that has been waging a sporadic conflict with the Jakarta government.Yes, well, we aim to please. Nothing like a massive natural disaster to bring people over to Uncle Sam's side.
It was precisely in these areas that the devastation was worst. Some of it, says Gunaratna, took a toll on the terrorist and insurgent movements, who lost both fighters and infrastructure when the waves crashed on shore.
"This is a golden opportunity for the United States," says Gunaratna.