Philippines: Battle of Marawi City has galvanized Islamic State international terror group’s Southeast Asian supporters

JAKARTA, Indonesia—A top terrorism researcher says the attack by the Islamic State group-affiliated militants in the Philippine’s Marawi City has galvanized the international terror group’s Southeast Asian supporters and spells trouble for the region.

The latest report by Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, was released Friday as the occupation of Marawi, an Islamic city in Mindanao, nears two months despite a sustained military counterattack, which also includes air strikes.

Jones said with these unfolding incidents, there now may be a higher risk of attacks in other Philippine cities, and that cooperation between militants across regional borders could expand.


READ: Duterte: Major cities in South under threat, extend martial law

She said militants in Indonesia and Malaysia could redouble efforts to attack police and may also target foreigners.

She added that photos posted by militants on social media during the initial assault “strengthened the desire of ISIS supporters in the region to join the battle.” JPV/rga

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Philippines — Graffiti on a wall in Marawi proclaims IS dominance. Ixpert say it means “we’ll be back.” Reuters Photo

The battle for the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines will have long-term repercussions across the region, according to a report released by Institute of Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC).

For two months, the Philippines military has tried to take back the city from pro-Islamic State fighters who want to establish a caliphate.

The report — titled Marawi, The East Asia Wilayah and Indonesia — suggested the conflict had already inspired violence elsewhere in the region and may lead to more attacks.

“The risks won’t end when the military declares victory,” IPAC director Sidney Jones said.

The report noted about 20 fighters from Indonesia were sent to Marawi and warned if they return they could help to train Indonesian extremists to a higher level.

More than 500 people have died in the combat, more than 400 of them militants. More than 40 are said to be civilians, and the remaining military.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has asked congress to extend martial law on the Island of Mindanao until the end of the year.

Marawi was taken by militants on May 23 by members of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute militant groups.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.

A line of packed cars drives up the road out of Marawi City.

‘If you can’t get to Syria, go to the Philippines’

The IPAC report also sited extensive new evidence on the chain of command between Syria and Marawi, with a Malaysian professor playing a crucial role.

Who are the Maute?

  • The Maute are an armed Muslim group that’s pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group
  • Hapilon was reportedly designated the leader of the alliance
  • The Maute has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, Duterte’s hometown, last September
  • Last month, troops killed dozens of Maute militants and captured their jungle camp near Lanao del Sur’s Piagapo town
  • Troops found homemade bombs, grenades, combat uniforms and passports of suspected Indonesian militants in the camp, the military said

It said Dr Mahmud Ahmad controlled recruitment and financing for foreigners wanting to join IS fighting in the Philippines.

“[The battle] has inspired young extremists from around the region to want to join,” the report said.

“In Indonesia, it has helped unite two feuding streams of the pro-ISIS movement, inspired ‘lone wolf’ attacks and caused soul-searching among would-be terrorists about why they cannot manage to do anything as spectacular.

“One possible impact of Marawi is an increased risk of violence in other countries in the region as local groups are inspired or shamed into action by the Philippine fighters.”

Ms Jones said mid-way through last year, the message from Syria changed.

“The message from Syria is that if it is getting too difficult to cross over, so if you can’t get to Syria, go to the Philippines, and if you can’t go to the Philippines, wage war at home,” she told the ABC.

Philippine Marines stand guard outside a mosque in Marawi City.

Topics: unrest-conflict-and-warterrorismphilippinesindonesiaasia.

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One Response to “Philippines: Battle of Marawi City has galvanized Islamic State international terror group’s Southeast Asian supporters”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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