12 April 2016
Militant Muslim groups in Southeast Asia have adopted the ideology of ISIL/ Daesh in preparing for a jihadi war in Southern Philippines and Eastern Indonesia. They have internationalised their operations across boundaries, rejecting existing state identities and allegiances and duplicating ISIL’s persecution of out-groups like the Shias.
ISIS, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) or Daesh (in Arabic), has embarked on a global campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate across Asia. To fulfill the vision of its self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, even affiliated militant groups in Southeast Asia have been injected with their jihadi doctrines, turning them into a unified force. The manner in which ISIL conducts itself has been translated onto Southeast Asia, resulting in the “Daesh-isation” of the region.
ISIL is not merely a terrorist outfit fighting an asymmetrical war as is often claimed. Instead it behaves like a conventional army – albeit devoid of morality. Instead of small cells, it has tens of thousands of fighters organized in battalions and brigades, equipped with weapons and doctrinal manuals, and have been conducting war by conquering and occupying territory. With the Daesh-isation of Southeast Asia, jihadis in the region also attempt to engage in conventional warfare, even though, in reality, their enemies are far more superior. Jihadi forces in Mindanao – involving elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group, Mujahideen Indonesia Timur (MIT), and Malaysians – are regrouping for that reason. A similar jihadi joint operation is also taking place in Poso where the Indonesian government states that more than 100 foreign jihadists are operating.
… Jasminder Singh is a Senior Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani is a Research Analyst at ICPVTR, RSIS.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 12/04/2016