12 April 2016
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS or Daesh in Arabic) has embarked on a global campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate across Asia.
To fulfil the vision of its self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, even affiliated militant groups in South-east Asia have been injected with their extremist doctrines, turning them into a unified force. The manner in which ISIS conducts itself has been translated onto South-east Asia, resulting in the “Daesh-isation” of the region.
ISIS 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 organised 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 South-east Asia, militants in the region also attempt to engage in conventional warfare, even though, in reality, their enemies are far superior. Militant forces in Mindanao – involving elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf Group, Mujahideen Indonesia Timur and Malaysians – are regrouping for that reason.
A similar militant joint operation is also taking place in Poso, where the Indonesian government states that more than 100 foreign militants are operating.
… Jasminder Singh is a senior analyst and Muhammad Haziq bin Jani is a research analyst, both with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This article first appeared in RSIS Commentaries.
ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 12/04/2016