27 September 2014
Asia’s role in the battle against ISIS is increasingly coming into question as governments in the region continue to sit on the sidelines of the fight.
Not a single South-east Asian country is part of the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group, and Asean has thus far been silent on it. China is also staying out of the fray despite concerted courting by Washington, with experts saying Beijing will not join the coalition because it sees greater advantage in being a passive bystander.
South-east Asian leaders who have spoken so far at the ongoing United Nations summit in New York – a meeting that has been dominated by the ISIS threat – have also largely steered clear of addressing the issue.
All this stands in stark contrast to how involved militants in the region have been in the ISIS saga so far. The Abu Sayyaf rebel group in the Philippines has threatened to kill two German hostages if Germany does not withdraw support for the US campaign, and the Pentagon estimates that some 1,000 ISIS foreign fighters come from the Asia Pacific.
…”He continues to be insecure about how he is portrayed by the small but vocal extremist community back home, some – though not all – who are sympathetic to ISIS,” said Dr Joseph Liow, the Lee Kuan Yew chair in South-east Asia Studies at New York-based think-tank Brookings Institution.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 29/09/2014