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Politics

Nicholas Borroz -- Corruption, not terrorism, is the biggest threat to investors in Asia

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Soldiers patrol near the Holey Artisan restaurant after gunmen attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka on July 2.   © Reuters

The Islamic State group released a video in June showing several battalions of the Philippine Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf pledging allegiance to the organization and its goals. As the Middle East-based group increases its presence in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia, foreign investors in the region might well be asking: How much risk does terrorism pose to their investments?

In terms of recent headlines, the region certainly seems intimidating to investors. IS has urged local jihadists who cannot reach Iraq or Syria to join the fight wherever they are. It has particularly targeted secessionist groups in the Philippines and has made menacing noises about Myanmar, particularly after claiming responsibility for the shockingly brutal July 1 Dhaka café attack in neighboring Bangladesh which killed about 28 people. The group also recently launched a Malay-language publication, primarily targeting sympathizers in Indonesia and Malaysia, the region's two largest Muslim countries. Fighters from both countries have joined IS in the Middle East, and have also mounted sporadic terrorist attacks in their home countries in recent years.

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