About the Series
The generally subdued security climate in 2020 in Southeast Asia (SEA) was breached by the suicide attack in Makassar, Indonesia on 28 Mar 2021. Until then, restrictive COVID-19 measures put in place by governments had seemingly arrested the mobility and planning abilities of jihadist groups in the region. Some observers had cautioned though that this security quietude was temporary and could represent a time for jihadists to lie low, regroup and review their ideological narratives, funding streams and operational plans before they spring back into action. In light of the latest attack, what lies ahead for the SEA terrorism landscape which had been with past attacks by local affiliates of the Al Qaeda and the Islamic State? In order to understand how the terrorism threat may unfold in the foreseeable future, ICPVTR is holding a series of webinars during the year to explore different aspects of the evolving threat picture in SEA. The series examines the dynamics of the region’s terrorism landscape, with in-depth discussions on the complexities and challenges in managing the return of foreign terrorist fighters, terrorism financing, latest developments in conflict areas which attract jihadists like Marawi, and the best practices and obstacles in countering online radicalisation.
In the first webinar of the series, Sidney Jones will discuss the broad terrorism landscape in the region by laying out the sources and drivers of the threat and outline the challenges regional security forces are facing today. Focusing on Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia, she will highlight ideological trends and new realignments of extremist groups. She will examine issues thrown up by the new-old Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and its links with Al-Qaeda, and current fragmentation of pro-Islamic State (IS) groups in Southeast Asia. She will also touch on the deteriorating security in camps and prisons run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria and why this should give a new urgency to discussions on repatriation of Southeast Asian nationals. Against this backdrop, Ms Jones will offer an analysis of the priorities which security officials should focus on in countering terrorism and a picture of what the landscape might look like moving forward.
About the Speaker
Sidney Jones is Director of Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict. From 2002 to 2013, Jones worked with the International Crisis Group, first as Southeast Asia project director, then from 2007 as senior adviser to the Asia program. Before joining Crisis Group, she worked for the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and New York (1977-84); Amnesty International in London as the Indonesia-Philippines-Pacific researcher (1985-88); and Human Rights Watch in New York as the Asia director (1989-2002). She holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She received an honorary doctorate in 2006 from the New School in New York. She is an expert on security in Southeast Asia, particularly Islamist extremism, but has also published articles on labor migration, ethnic conflicts, ethno-nationalist insurgencies and land conflicts. She is a prolific writer and sought-after speaker and is seen as a top authority on Islamist radicalism in Southeast Asia.