Susan Sim Op-Ed in The Straits Times: Why Terrorists Go Back To Their Old Ways
January 27, 2016

Why Terrorists Go Back To Their Old Ways

The Straits Times
By: Susan Sim and Noor Huda Ismail


We may never know what motivated four men to mount the Jan 14 suicide bomb and gun attacks in Jakarta, the first major terrorist attack in Indonesia since the 2009 twin hotel bombings. A statement attributed to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group called them “Islamic State fighters” who were “targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital”.

Two of the four militants were known to Indonesian police because they had previously been convicted of and served jail time for terrorism-related offences. Was their re-engagement in violence foreseeable?

Predicting terrorist recidivism is not a science; recidivism rates are difficult to calculate when there is no national database tracking arrests, convictions and releases in a timely manner.

In 2013, the Indonesian National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) said that 25 out of 300 terrorists released from prison had “gone back to their old terror habits…


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