Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rumored ISIS In Ph Now a Reality by Erick San Juan

Rumored ISIS In Ph Now a Reality by Erick San Juan

The recent attack at the Resorts World casino-hotel has created another atmosphere of fear now in the metro and we can’t blame the public to speculate on the possibility that the ISIS terror group is now in Metro Manila. The timing is suspect because the ongoing war on terror against the ISIS-linked Maute group et al in Marawi could somehow created the fear that it will reach Metro Manila. So every time that a so-called attack for whatever reason and nature could be linked to the terror group.

Thanks to the NCRPO headed by PNP Gen. Oscar Albayalde, despite the rumored conspiracy theory including ISIS claiming the Resort World tragedy Albayalde's team closed the case by confirming that the mischief was done by a known gambler named Jesse Carlos.

In the February 2016 article of Joseph Chinyong Liow - ISIS reaches Indonesia: The terrorist group’s prospects in Southeast Asia he writes – “On January 14, militants killed four civilians and wounded at least 20 in a terrorist attack in Jakarta, in the first successful operation that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has launched in Southeast Asia. For several months, security officials from several Southeast Asian governments had been warning that ISIS supporters might mount an attack in the region. The signs were ominous: increased chatter on Malay and Indonesian language sites expressing support for ISIS, a steady stream of Southeast Asians departing for conflict zones in Syria and Iraq, and the arrest of ISIS sympathizers in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Indonesian counter-terrorism authorities had already received intelligence that militants were planning to mount attacks over the holiday period a couple of weeks earlier, which prompted the arrest of several militants and foiled a potential earlier attack.

The fact that Southeast Asia is not yet on the radar of the core ISIS leadership, however, or that the number of Southeast Asians fighting under the ISIS standard pales in comparison with the number of Europeans or Australians, should not be grounds for complacency. ISIS will always struggle to gain considerable popularity in Southeast Asia. The social, political, economic, and cultural conditions in Indonesia and Malaysia are such that the appeal of the ISIS brand of extremism will always remain limited. Even in Thailand and the Philippines, where Muslim minorities suffer more persecution, the conditions they face are nowhere near those confronted by alienated Muslims in Europe.

Even if extremists do eventually create an ISIS in Southeast Asia, its origins will lie not in Raqqa but in the fringes of Indonesian society, in the climate of extremism that reemerged amid the political activism that followed the fall of Suharto, Indonesia’s long-ruling dictator, in 1998. In that sense, the threat remains at heart a local phenomenon, even as it may find some form of transnational expression. So although ISIS’ ideology will always receive an airing, it will have to compete with radical and extremist groups of various ideological, political, and operational stripes.

Some analysts have warned that competition among presumptive leaders of ISIS in Indonesia will trigger more violence, and there is every likelihood of that happening. Others worry that ISIS may offer opportunities for existing groups to make common cause. This has not happened yet. The fallout between Jemaah Islamiyah and Indonesian ISIS supporters is well documented. But it would be foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of alliances for tactical, if not doctrinal, reasons. There are indications that the rivalry between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, which Jemaah Islamiyah supports, has started to taper off. There is also evidence that the Indonesian jihadist ideologue, Aman Abdurrahman, has tried to unite disparate pro-ISIS groups. Counter-terrorism establishments in the region should tune in closely to any chatter among Indonesian groups that points in this direction.

The world is transfixed on the possibility, however unlikely it may be, that a transnational, violent network might someday span Europe, the Middle East, and all the way to Southeast Asia. Such concerns are not new: recall the Comintern during the Cold War, and al Qaeda just a few years ago. But the real danger is not that the black banner of ISIS will be raised the world over but that the appearance of ISIS would trigger dynamics among existing jihadist groups and personal networks within Indonesia, possibly joined by groups from the Philippines and Malaysia, that may well escalate into further violence.”

And it did happen... the ISIS in Southeast Asia, and now in the Philippines as what Indonesian defense minister told at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security forum last Sunday.

Speaking in Singapore amid a bloody standoff between Philippine troops and militants fighting under the IS flag in Marawi city, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called the militants "killing machines" and urged full-scale regional cooperation against them.

"I was advised last night, 1,200 ISIS in the Philippines, around 40 from Indonesia," Ryacudu told the Shangri-La Dialogue, using another name for the IS group.

The threat of heightened terrorism, including the impending return of hundreds of Southeast Asian fighters who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq, has been a hot-button issue at the three-day Singapore summit also attended by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through Marawi, a largely Muslim city of 200,000 in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon.

Up to 50 gunmen are still controlling the city center nearly two weeks  after the start of fighting that has killed 177 people including 120 militants.

"How can we tackle these foreign fighters? We have to be comprehensive," said Ryacudu, a retired general.
"We have to find... complete ways but we must exercise caution, they are killing machines. Their aim is to kill other people so that's why it's our responsibility that we have common understanding, consensus and common proceedings on how to fight these foreign fighters."

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, speaking at the same forum, said the 1,200 figure for total IS fighters in the Philippines mentioned by Indonesia was new to him.

"I really don't know, my figure is about 250-400, a lot less," he told reporters.

But David said there were 40 foreign IS fighters among those who seized parts of Marawi, eight of whom have been killed by government forces.

Earlier, Philippine officials said the slain foreign fighters were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.

"Our intelligence estimates that there are about 40 foreigners that fought in the Marawi incident," David said.
The Philippine official added that the foreign fighters used "back channels" in the Sulu and Celebes Seas near the borders of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia to enter the southern island of Mindanao and link up with local terror groups.

"That's why they were able to muster the operations in the area of Marawi," David said. (Source:Agence France-Presse)

But for whatever its worth, when the Intel Center, an organization of international security analysts leaked to the press that the Philippines is now the 7th failed state, it alarmed me. What a coincidence that another international security group PROTECT had a security forum at MOA and Rohan Gunaratna, a terror expert lecturer confirmed that the ISIS is now in our country. i immediately alerted the president and his key people to activate immediately his SITUATION ROOM as contingency to avert any terror attack while he's in Cambodia,Hong Kong and China. Good thing that he made DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre as caretaker head. Aguirre has good contact with the intelligence community that averted any mischief while Pres. Duterte was abroad. The rest is an ongoing pocket wars that could escalate like what's happening in Syria and other parts of the world. What happened in Marawi can now be considered another Aleppo.

 We all have to be vigilant and help the Duterte administration to stop this stupidity and put an end to terrorism and violence. If not we could be part of the so called collateral damage.

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