Bottom Line Up Front Given its history, geography and demographics, Southeast Asia has proven to be hospitable terrain for myriad terrorist and insurgent groups. A recent attack against a church in Jolo in the southern Philippines highlights the enduring nature of the threat posed by jihadist militancy. Indonesia, the ...

Indonesia was hit by a series of deadly bombings this past May.  The attacks targeted churches and were carried out by families with young children, including a family of six in Surbaya, Indonesia’s second largest city.   Indonesian police say an attack at police headquarters the following morning was carried out ...

President Donald Trump leaves Friday for a nine-day trip to Asia, a continent that has stayed relatively free of the populism that has washed over the United States and Europe. But populist sentiment could catch fire, especially in Southeast Asia, given historic anti-democratic undertones, and trigger regional instability. Regional security ...

Conventional wisdom suggests Asia’s increasing wealthy and educated population will make it the most dynamic region of the world and that it will drive the global economy in the 21st century. However, there are many risk factors to keep an eye on. In his new book, “The End of the ...

Southeast Asia is emerging as an ISIS battlefield, and security threats in the region will accelerate and grow with the group’s global expansion – with an ISIS-centric threat landscape supplanting an al Qaeda-centric one. ISIS and al Qaeda groups, networks, and cells will threaten governments and societies in 2017, but ...

October’s attacks on the Border Guard Police bases by the insurgent group Harakah al-Yaqin (HaY) in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and their aftermath have raised concerns over whether the Rohingya crisis in that country, formerly known as Burma, might present an opportunity for expansion of international jihadism. The persecution of the ...

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has largely disappeared from the news since its military junta was replaced by a relatively reformist government after 2015 elections, and the country opened to the outside following an Obama administration push. Although no longer the pariah it was in past years, longstanding persecution of ...

The struggle of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims is a regular topic of discussion on jihadist online message boards, frequently cited as the ultimate case of persecution against Muslims. For jihadists, it meets the standard of other constant grievances they frequently refer to, such as issues concerning jihadi prisoners, drone strikes, or ...

When President Dwight Eisenhower left office, he told his successor, John F. Kennedy, that Laos was one of the United States’ most important foreign policy issues. As America tried to contain the spread of communism, Laos became the battlefield for the Operation Momentum, the CIA’s largest covert operation. The Cipher ...

Thirteen years ago, on a reporting assignment for The Boston Globe, I described “Burma” as a “deteriorating” country where “the frayed fabric of a nation [was] coming apart at the seams.” The capital, Rangoon, was “clogged with 20-year-old cars running on spare parts and spewing black exhaust.” Today, Yangon is ...

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit to China this week comes as the embattled leader’s relationship with the United States has been tested by the Department of Justice’s investigation into the scandal swirling around the 1MDB state investment fund he founded. But despite the tension and Najib’s move to align ...

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rattled decades of foreign policy on October 20 with his announcement of a military and economic “separation” from the United States. The declaration came in Beijing amid a Philippine pivot away from the long-standing relationship with the United States and toward China, with whom Duterte said ...

President Rodrigo Duterte’s first hundred days will be some of the most critical for his vision of radical change. Over that period, Duterte demonstrated strong resolve over his priorities, with a highly publicized peace and order campaign at the top of his agenda. The shift to a federal-parliamentary form of ...

“You destroy my country, I'll kill you,” Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte warned in a recent exclusive interview with Al Jazeera. His warning was directed at the drug dealers and users that he believes are tearing the Philippines apart. This is the sort of outspoken, uncompromising language we have come to ...

Since becoming President in June, Rodrigo Duterte has used his forceful personality to take Filipino policy in new directions. For Western allies like the U.S., this has led to confusing public statements that have forced them to question the strength of their partnerships. The Cipher Brief spoke with political scientist ...

After seventy years of rule, Thailand’s King Bhumibol has passed away. As a public figure with largely ceremonial power, he promoted Thailand’s rural development and provided a source of political stability. The Cipher Brief's Will Edwards spoke with Rafael Frankel, Vice President of Bower Group Asia, to learn more about ...