22 June 2017
Singapore has been identified by supporters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group as part of its “East Asia wilayah” or state, a move that analysts say could embolden foreign fighters to carry out attacks here.
The Republic was among the countries or territories singled out on social media as part of the wilayah – a development flagged by senior analyst Jasminder Singh in a paper published by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies last week. The others are Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, southern Thailand, Myanmar and Japan.
“For foreign fighters coming into the region, this gives them an idea of what they will be in for, and what the targets are,” Mr Singh told The Straits Times yesterday.
He had noticed “chatter on social media” this month singling out specific countries as part of the wilayah, which could be the first time this has been done.
Experts had warned last year that ISIS would want to create a wilayah, or state, in South-east Asia as it loses territory in the Middle East.
Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, noted that the exact territorial boundaries of the wilayah in East Asia are unconfirmed, as ISIS has not made an official declaration.
But he added that it would probably include parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Dr Gunaratna said: “The growth of the ISIS threat in Singapore’s immediate neighbourhood presents a threat to security and stability here.”
ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 28/06/2017