Boyd says the botched Bangkok bombing would have proved disappointing, but argues that the Iranians had also proved they had access to C4 from either military sources or a supplier with supplies of stolen C4 and “with those type of resources an experienced member could do a lot of damage.”
He says the Delhi and Tbilisi bombs were useless in terms of hitting their objective, but had confirmed widespread views in the West that Iran is a sponsor of terrorism, justifying further actions against Iran either through further sanctions or direct military action.
That in itself is a tragedy for the vast majority of Iranians who are as educated and as erudite as any, are neither terrorists nor state-employed and opposed to their government’s policies, which have ensured their country will continue to languish near the bottom of the heap in terms of international standing.
In Thailand, and for much of Southeast Asia, terrorism is being redefined from the JI and al-Qaeda dictates of hard-line Islamic designs over sovereign interests that underpinned attacks around the world alongside separatist rebellions like those in the Southern Philippines and Indonesia.
These were complex but comprehensible – if horribly immoral – strategies.
Loveard says the low casualty count of the Valentine’s Day blasts reflected the fact that current levels of expertise were low, and as a result much of East Asia was likely experiencing a lull in terrorist activities but by no means did this signal “the end of radical Islamist terrorism in Southeast Asia.''
By accident or design, the parameters are evolving.
Of course, Israel has rarely flinched when leaping over sovereign borders to pursue its own security interests and Hezbollah may have now signaled it will follow suit. That attitude will increasingly put innocent civilians and nations, like Thailand, in the firing line.
Ultimately, analysts see more strikes aimed at civilians, not unlike the 2008 Mumbai attack that left 257 dead and another 700 wounded. However, such strikes will be increasingly based around far-flung reasons with little local relevance, such as with Iran’s nuclear program and its ties with Hezbollah.
Boyd predicts more Mumbai-style attacks in Asia, and says Sabah in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are obvious staging grounds.
“The future trend is Asia,” he says. “This is becoming the global economic power and the United States and other coalition forces are winding down in the Middle East. Asia will start to see foreign insurgents from the Middle East come in to conduct their operations.”
“Now the fight will start to creep into this part of the world.”