TSG Report Quoted on The Economist: After Jakarta
January 21, 2016
For decades, South-East Asia has had two lucky bulwarks against militant Islam: the peaceful, tolerant form of their faith practised by most South-East Asian Muslims; and the relative incompetence of local jihadists. But South-East Asia’s tradition of syncretic Islam has been threatened by stricter forms imported from the Middle East, seen as more modern and correct. Violent jihadism seems to be following the same pattern, if the bloody violence in central Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, on January 14th, is anything to go by.
Four civilians and four terrorists died in the bombing of a Starbucks and a traffic-police post, and a long shoot-out with the police, that day. Authorities believe that an Indonesian, Bahrun Naim, planned the attack from Syria. He heads a South-East Asian unit fighting with Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. Governments in the region have long feared something like this…
Just as veterans who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan boosted regional jihadist capacity in the early 1990s, many worry that returning fighters from Syria will do the same today. The Soufan Group, a security consultancy, estimated in a December report that at least 600 South-East Asians had gone to fight with IS. It is unclear how many have returned. The report says 162 people (including women and children) have returned to Indonesia from IS territory…
Download The Soufan Group’s updated report on Foreign Fighters here.
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