02 February 2018
There is growing consensus among terrorism analysts that the Battle of Marawi in Mindanao, Philippines, which lasted from May to October 2017, constitutes a watershed moment in the evolution of the terrorist threat in the ASEAN region. Reportedly, the militant groups driving that conflict, such as the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf, had in mind to turn Mindanao into a Wilayat (or province) of ISIS. This is not a particularly novel goal in itself since the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) has long aspired to establish an Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia.
What surprised analysts most about the Marawi conflict was the evident readiness of the militants to take the fight to the Philippine military by engaging in a drawn out urban war and employing tactics – including transforming densely packed buildings in the city into improvised tunnels – that initially confounded the government troops.
… Tan See Seng is Professor of International Relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also Deputy Director and Head of Research of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), at RSIS and currently a visiting scholar at the EU Centre in Singapore.
GPO / IDSS
Last updated on 09/02/2018