02 June 2015
While the presence of Southeast Asian fighters in the self-proclaimed Islamic State is well known, less noticed is the rising importance of IS’s strategy of global jihad and its outreach to Southeast Asia.
This region is no stranger to jihadist incursions , the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah lslamiyah (JI), responsible for the deadly Bali bombings in 2002, declared an intention to establish an Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia.
The Islamic State, however, seems to have more grandiose plans for its Malay Archipelago fighters. This is evident in IS’s establishment of the combat unit Katibah Nusantara, with serious consequences for Southeast Asian security. The Katibah Nusantara is a dedicated fighting force drawn from the Malay archipelago. Its capability was most evident in early April this year when the unit scored its first major combat success by capturing five Kurd-held territories in Syria. This battlefield success was highlighted in jihadist social media, especially in the Indonesian and Malay languages, partly to entice new recruits to join the cause.
… Jasminder Singh is a research analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015