06 August 2017
The United States’ decision to charge Hambali in connection with the 2002 Bali bombings, following its blacklisting of an Indonesian group linked to Al-Qaeda, signals a new security focus of the Trump administration in South-east Asia.
This comes as the U.S. prepares for a different terrorist landscape in the region, which will be shaped by the eventual collapse of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East, say analysts.
Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, is a former Al- Qaeda operative and a leader of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI). The 53-year- old Indonesian, nabbed in Bangkok in 2003 for masterminding the JI-led Bali blasts that killed 202, has been detained in Guantanamo Bay since 2006 without charge.
It was reported in June that a U.S. war court has charged him in connection with the Bali bombings as well as the 2003 bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta. Just days earlier on June 12, the U.S. State Department declared the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI) “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”.
Even though the MMI had tried to rebrand itself as a peaceful organisation, in reality, it is one of Indonesia’s most active Islamic groups to challenge the existing secular political order with the aim of establishing an Islamic state, according to Professor Bilveer Singh, an adjunct senior fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security, a research unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
CENS / Online / Print
Last updated on 17/08/2017