BIISS JOURNAL, VOL. 37, NO. 4, October 2016

Nazmul Arifeen
A. S. M. Tarek Hassan Semul

DRUMMING OF NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON: LOOMING NUCLEAR STANDOFF ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA.

 

After Pyongyang’s test of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States (US), the possibility of an Armageddon or the ‘end of the world’ seems more realistic than ever. In particular, North Korea’s threat to take out the US military base in Guam has altered the strategic equations. Given the recent escalation of tension between North Korea and global powers, this paper provides an insight into the triggers and the credibility of North Korean nuclear threats with a view to analysing way out for de-escalation. By exploring the triggering factors behind the standoff and their ramifications, it contends that policy dichotomy of great powers, unrestrained rhetoric from the key players and ill-suited bargaining tactics may lead to miscalculations by adversaries, potentially aggravating the crisis. Based on these arguments, the paper ends with an exposition of possible options to de-escalate the situation.


Nazmul Arifeen and A. S. M. Tarek Hassan Semul are Research Officers at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). The authors’ e-mail addresses are: arifeen@biiss.org and tarek@ biiss.org respectively.

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2016.


Moonis Ahmar

UNDERSTANDING VIOLENT EXTREMISM: PAKISTAN AND THE PREDICAMENT OF YOUTH

Abstract

In South Asia, contemporary Pakistan is one of the most affected countries as far as terrorism and violent extremism are concerned. Although, the phenomenon is not new in Pakistan, the country, however, witnessed a gradual resurgence of violence and extremism during the last three decades. This paper examines the phenomenon of violent extremism by linking it with the radicalisation of youths in Pakistan. It dwells at length the permeation of extremism in various segments of Pakistani society in the post-1971 Pakistan; the role of state in not reversing the tide of religious extremism which got an impetus because of the Afghan War and the events occurring in post- 9/11 period. Why the culture of tolerance witnessed erosion in the last four decades and how ethics and values declined particularly among the new generation of Pakistan are also be examined in the paper. More so, the transformation of extremism from moderate to radical and violent are also examined while focusing on the erosion of the culture of tolerance and the permeation of violence at societal level. A road map dealing with the predicament of youths in Pakistan by eradicating extremism is also discussed and plausible solutions of growing radicalisation of youths of this country are delineated in this paper. It is argued that meaningful steps need to be undertaken by the people at the helm of affairs to ensure positive transformation in the approach, attitude and behaviour of youths to prevent them from falling into the trap of intolerance, extremism and violence. And such steps include not only social, economic and governance reforms but also must include extensive reforms of the education sector as well.


Moonis Ahmar, PhD is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and currently Meritorious Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi. He is also Director, Program on Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi. His e-mail address is: amoonis@hotmail.com

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2016.


Sajid Karim
Mohammad Jasim Uddin

FOREIGN POLICY OF BANGLADESH: EMERGING CHALLENGES

Abstract

Being placed in between low-income and lower-middle-income country status, Bangladesh aspires to be a developed one by 2041. But there are several emerging foreign policy challenges for the country. This paper limits its scope to some specific challenges i.e., soft power diplomacy and image building, trade in goods and services, attracting foreign direct investment, suiting development assistance with development priorities, ensuring energy security, developing transport connectivity, addressing transnational issues like water security and maritime security, addressing climate change issues and balancing between/ among parties, interests and initiatives. Examining existing literature and interview transcripts and undertaking interpretative approach, the paper tries to develop its main argument - economic issues and economic diplomacy encompassing resource mobilisation will remain crucial to formulate and implement foreign policy agenda of Bangladesh. In mobilising resources, actors concerned with foreign policy of Bangladesh need to work at multiple-levels with proper understanding of internal and external dynamics, policy priorities of vital countries as well as the organisations and instruments to make the policy a success.


Sajid Karim is Research Officer at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). His e-mail address is sajidkarim87@gmail.com. Mohammad Jasim Uddin, PhD is Senior Research Fellow at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). His e-mail address is jasim_biiss@yahoo. com. The paper was earlier presented in the seminar titled, "Foreign Policy of Bangladesh: Roadmap for Realisation of Vision 2041", jointly organised by National Defence College (NDC), Bangladesh, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), and Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) on 13 October 2016. An abridged version of the paper appeared in the proceedings of the seminar published by NDC.

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2016.


Md. Ziaul Haque Sheikh

AKBAR 'S INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE, POST-SECULARISM AND GLOBAL INTELLECTUAL HISTORY

Abstract

Samuel Moyn and Andrew Sartori depict a conceptual map of a range of possible approaches and ways in which Global Intellectual History (GIH) can be formulated as an academic discipline. Various scholars from different fields propose to widen its scope and boundaries - from trans-local and westerncentric to intra-regional, trans-continental, trans-national and even beyond the geographical designation. In this writing, an attempt has been made to bring the idea of “Suhl-i-kul”, a state sponsored ‘interreligious-dialogue’ initiated by Akbar (1556-1605), a mediaeval Mughal emperor of India, as a content of GIH. This study assumes that the concept of “Suhl-i-kul” can be matched with the idea of ‘post-secularism’ which demands that such concept can create a trans-religious global formation and contribute to establish a peaceful society in a religiously pluralist world, especially from the perspective of multi-religious South Asia.


Md. Ziaul Haque Sheikh is Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic History and Culture, Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Currently, he is a PhD Research Fellow at the Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi, India. His e-mail address is: ziaduds@gmail.com

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2016.


Khawaja Masnoon Zayeem

RADICALISATION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA: A SALIENT FEATURE OF MODERN TERRORISM

Abstract

The world is witnessing an era of globalisation, the influence of which cannot be ignored by anybody. Effects of globalisation have also influenced the evolution of modern terrorism. With the advent of modern technologies in various fields, the violent extremist groups have been using them to their own advantage and expanding their activities at a rapid pace. One of the major contributions of the modern communication technology is the development of Social Media Sites. The global militant groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have been using the social media platforms to further strengthen their operations, especially in their propaganda mechanisms and radicalisation process to recruit new members. With this changing scenario, radicalisation through social media emerges as a big challenge for the counterterrorism forces around the world to face the growing threat of modern terrorism. The situation requires the counterterrorism strategies to be re-evaluated and amended in a way that is adaptable to the changing tactics used by the militant groups. The paper tries to critically analyse the use of social media in the radicalisation and propaganda efforts by the violent extremist groups as well as the changes brought into the contemporary terrorism through this phenomenon. The paper also tries to relate the strengths and weaknesses of the global counterterrorism strategies with these changes to formulate some pragmatic policy recommendations.


Khawaja Masnoon Zayeem is an independent researcher and currently pursuing a Masters Degree in International Relations at the University of Dhaka. His e-mail address is: msn.zym@gmail.com

© Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), 2016.