30 April 2016
As the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) loses its grip on territories in the Middle East, the militant group is expected to look towards South-east Asia to perpetuate its claims to a caliphate.
Counter-terrorism analysts say the region’s long history of militancy and rising number of extremist groups adopting ISIS ideology make it attractive to the Sunni extremist network.
Possible targets include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, where the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Jemaah Anshar Khilafah terror networks, as well as the Abu Sayyaf, operate.
… Analysts from the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) confirmed that ISIS has started a campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate across Asia.
Mr Jasminder Singh and Mr Muhammad Haziq Jani said in a report that to fulfil the vision of a caliphate, ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi affiliated militant groups in South-east Asia with his group’s doctrines, “turning them into a unified force”.
While terrorism – whether perpetrated by ISIS or JI – will not be eradicated any time soon, Dr Joseph Liow said in a report yesterday that the threat remains “at a low level”.
“One possible factor that could prompt a change is a deliberate shift of attention of ISIS central to South-east Asia,” said the RSIS dean, who also spoke before the committee in Washington. “This, however, seems unlikely for now as ISIS is preoccupied with its immediate priority of holding ground in Iraq and Syria, and expanding its fight to Libya and Europe.”
Dr Liow said while governments in the region today are better prepared to deal with terrorism compared with 15 years ago, “capacity can… be further improved with cooperation among themselves, and with some help from the United States”.
ICPVTR / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 03/05/2016