border review | 6 August 2011

William Ide: What Is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement?

William Ide, for Voice of America, reviews the diverging opinions about ETIM among experts.

Reed and Raschke:

In their book on the group, The ETIM: China’s Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat*, terrorism analysts J. Todd Reed and Diana Raschke wrote that, although some claims of responsibility by ETIM were dubious, it is likely they were responsible for at least some of the violence that occurred in the run up to the Beijing Olympics.

Gunaratna:

Rohan Gunaratna of Singapore’s International Center for Violence and Terrorism Research says ETIM was a very well structured organization when it was in Afghanistan and before Makhsum was killed. […] “Since then, ETIM’s membership is below 2,000 members and they have mostly been working with al-Qaida and the Islamic Jihad Union because they don’t want to operate by themselves as an organization,” he said.

Gladney:

Dru Gladney, a professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, who studies Xinjiang and the Uighurs, says,“There is no reliable independently verified information on this organization, there’s widespread suspicion among experts that this so called ETIM is an umbrella term for several small groups or individuals acting alone and that there is actually no bona fide active ETIM organization that is coordinating attacks in China or elsewhere for that matter.”

Good read.