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The war on terror has centered almost entirely on Afghanistan and the Middle East. But, as the war in Iraq leads to an ever-increasing number of threats from Al Qaeda, Southeast Asia could become the next front in this global war.
The post-9/11/01 rise of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Southeast Asia warns that the region could become a prominent terrorist staging ground. Its island nations, situated in vast oceans, have significant Muslim populations, nascent insurgent movements, and weak governments, all rendering it an attractive hiding place. The United States may well have to launch military campaigns in this region to root out terrorist cells. But even if the situation does not become acute, it will need the cooperation of both Northeast and Southeast Asian nations to keep the area from becoming a terrorism hotbed.