We are pleased to release this month’s issue on ‘Southeast Asia Focus’.
Recent attacks in Jakarta (in January) and Basilan (in April) which were inspired by the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) underscore the persistence of Southeast Asian terrorism. Against this backdrop, ISIS has exploited the opportunity to expand its reach and appeal among jihadi elements and some segments of the Muslim community in the region. Southeast Asian governments have stepped up counter-terrorism efforts, as is evidenced by the heightened counter-terror operations and arrests of radicalised individuals planning to make their way to Syria and Iraq.
In this issue, we cast a spotlight on whether ISIS can sustain itself in light of the increased military campaigns by the international coalitions and ground initiatives in Syria and Iraq. Ahmad Saiful Rijal Bin Hassan shares his thoughts on ISIS’ likely eventual defeat, its implications for global security, and the importance of counter-ideological efforts to neutralise the spread of ISIS’ ideology.
With female jihadi activists coming to greater prominence in Southeast Asia, V. Arianti and Nur Azlin Yasin explore the ways Southeast Asian (Indonesian and Malaysian) female jihadi activists are effectively mobilising new media technologies to promote terrorism. The authors conclude that a better understanding of the modus operandi and motivations of the female jihadi activists will enable governments to more effectively counter the spread of female cyber-jihad activism.
We focus also on the threat of transnational terrorism and political violence in the context of Southeast Asian regional security. Here, Laura Steckman offers an assessment of the causes for the growth of extremism in East Malaysia, the security risks from the ISIS-affiliated, Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Malaysia, and the necessary response to this development.
Last but not least, Rohan Gunaratna explains the extent of threat arising from ISIS’ influence in the Philippines, in the light of two trends: the pledges of allegiance from a growing number of militant groups in Mindanao, and the appointment of ASG’s leader, Isnilon Hapilon, as the overall leader of the so-called Islamic State in the Philippines by ISIS’ self-appointed caliph. Gunaratna notes that there is now an increased likelihood that the group will declare an ISIS Wilayat in southern Philippines
Commentaries / Conflict and Stability / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Terrorism Studies
Last updated on 24/05/2016