28 May 2015
While the self-proclaimed Islamic State has been identified as a serious security threat worldwide, the establishment of the Katibah Nusantara, a dedicated Southeast Asian military unit within IS, is a new direct challenge to Southeast Asia.
While the presence of Southeast Asian fighters in the self-proclaimed Islamic State is well-known, what is less noticed is the rising importance of IS’ strategy of waging a global jihad. While the Malay-speaking jihadists who fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s formed the backbone of the Jemaah lslamiyah in the 1990s and the first decade of 2000, IS seems to have more grandiose plans for its Malay Archipelago fighters.
This is evident from Islamic State’s establishment of the Katibah Nusantara, a Malay-based combat unit, with serious consequences for Southeast Asian security. The Katibah Nusantara is a dedicated fighting force. Its capability was most evident in early April 2015 when the unit scored its first major combat success by capturing five Kurd-held territories in Syria. This battle-field success was highlighted in the jihadi and Islamic State’s social media, especially in the Indonesian and Malay languages, partly to entice new recruits to join the cause.
… Jasminder Singh is a Research Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 18/11/2015