Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? by Rommel C. Banlaoi


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Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? by Rommel C. Banlaoi

  1. 1. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-ManilaCounter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Rommel C. Banlaoi Yuchengco Center De La Salle University Manila i
  2. 2. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?© Copyright 2009by the Yuchengco CenterPrinted in the Philippines. All rights reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in aretrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, orany information storage and retrieval system, without thepermission in writing from the Center.ISBN: 978-971-94089-2-5Please address all inquiries to:Yuchengco Center2nd Floor, Don Enrique T. Yuchengco HallDe La Salle University2401 Taft Avenue, Manila 1004Philippinesemail: (632) 525-3457url:
  3. 3. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila TABLE OF CONTENTSList of Figures …………………………………………….….………………… ivList of Tables …………………………………………….…..………………… vList of Acronyms …………………………...…………….…..……………… viAcknowledgement …………………………………………....……………… xiForeword …………………………………………………….………………… xiiiAbstract ………………………………………………………………………… xixIntroduction …………………………………….……….……………………… 1Chapter I: Conceptualizing Terrorism in Southeast Asia:Definition, Evolution and Causes ………………………..……………… 5Chapter II: Terrorist Groups in Southeast Asia andModes of Operation ……………….………………….….…....………… 31Chapter III: Impact of Terrorism on Socio-EconomicDevelopment in the Region ………………...……….………………… 67Chapter IV: National Responses to Terrorism ……………...…… 73Chapter V: Regional Cooperation to Counter Terrorism…....… 89Chapter VI: Support of Major Powers toCounter Terrorism in Southeast Asia …………………..…….…..… 95Chapter VII: The Future of Terrorism inSoutheast Asia ……………………………………………………………… 109Summary and Conclusion …………………………...….…….……… 111Bibliography ……………………………………………..…...…………… 113Appendix:ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism……………….……… 135About the Author…………..………………………..…...…..………… 149 iii
  4. 4. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? List of FiguresFigure 1. Number of Published Books with“Terrorism” in Their Title ………………..……………………………… 7Figure 2. Mantiqi Structure of Jemaah Islamiyah ……………… 34Figure 3. Organizational Structure ofJemaah Islamiyah ……......……………………………………………… 35Figure 4. Two Major Factions of JemaahIslamiyah ……………………………………………………………………… 36Figure 5. Dream Map of Daulah IslamiyaNusantara ………………………………………..…….…...……………… 37Figure 6. ASG Organization Envisioned byAbdurajak Janjalani ………………………………………...….………… 50Figure 7. Strength of the ASG, 2000-2008 …………………….… 52Figure 8. ASG Current OrganizationalStructure ……………………………………………………...……………… 53Figure 9. ASG Cellular-Type OrganizationalStructure ………………………………………………..……..…………… 54Figure 10. ASG – Al-Qaeda Link ThroughTransnational Islamic Organizations ……………………...…...… 59Figure 11. Philippines’ Most WantedTerrorists ………………………………………………….......…………… 82iv
  5. 5. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila List of TablesTable 1. UN Conventions’ Response to VariousCriminal Acts of Terrorism in Southeast Asia …………..…….…… 11Table 2. Four Class Divisions of Terrorism inSoutheast Asia………………………………………………....…………… 18Table 3. JI Regional Partners and Linkages inSoutheast Asia………………………………………………………………… 21Table 4. Major ASEAN Declarations and ConventionsAgainst Terrorism After 9/11 …………………………….…..………… 26Table 5. Australia’s Counter Terrorism CapacityBuilding Initiatives in Southeast Asia………………………………… 97Table 6. Areas and Scope of ASEAN-IndiaCounter Terrorism Cooperation ………………………….….……… 98Table 7. Areas of Cooperation in ASEAN-CanadaJoint Declaration for Cooperation toCombat International Terrorism……………………………….….... 99Table 8. Japan’s Counter Terrorism Supportto Southeast Asia ………………………………..……………….…..… 103 v
  6. 6. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? List of AcronymsACCT ASEAN Convention on Counter TerrorismADB Asian Development BankADMM ASEAN Defense Minister’s MeetingAFP Armed Forces of the PhilippinesAHAI Al Harakatul Al IslamiyyahAMLO Anti-Money Laundering OfficeAMMTC ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational CrimeAPEC Asia-Pacific Economic CooperationARF ASEAN Regional ForumASEAN Association of Southeast Asian NationsASEM Asia-Europe MeetingASG Abu Sayyaf GroupATA Anti-Terrorism AssistanceATC Anti-Terrorism CouncilATTF Anti-Terrorism Task ForceBCTP Bali Counter Terrorism ProcessBI Balik IslamCATR Council for Asian Terrorism ResearchCBRN Chemical, Biological, Radiological and NuclearCGCC Center on Global Counterterrorism CooperationCIDG Criminal Investigation and Detection GroupCITOC Counter International Terrorist Operations CenterCOCIS Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal SecurityCOCIT Committee of Counter-International TerrorismCPP Communist Party of the PhilippinesCRS Congressional Research Servicevi
  7. 7. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-ManilaCSTPV Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political ViolenceCTCB Counter Terrorism Capacity BuildingCTFP Counter Terrorism Fellowship ProgramDFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and TradeDI Darul IslamDIN Daulah Islamiyah NusantaraDJACT Declaration on Joint Action to Counter TerrorismDND Department of National DefenseDOD Department of DefenseEG Executive GroupEU European UnionFDI Foreign Direct InvestmentFMF Foreign Military FinancingFMS Foreign Military SalesFRTFSI Fund for Regional Trade and Financial Security InitiativeFSDMF Fi-Sabilillah Da’wah and Media FoundationFTO Foreign Terrorist OrganizationGWOT Global War on TerrorismICC International Criminal CourtICG International Crisis GroupICRC International Committee of the Red CrossIDP Internally Displaced PersonsIEC Islamic Executive CouncilIED Improvised Explosive DeviceIIRO International Islamic Relief OrganizationILEA International Law Enforcement AcademyIMET International Military Education and TrainingISCAG Islamic Studies, Call and Guidance vii
  8. 8. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?ISD Internal Security DepartmentJCTC Joint Counter Terrorism CentreJI Jemaah IslamiyahKMM Kampulan Mujahidin MalaysiaMALSINDO Malaysia, Singapore, IndonesiaMBG Misuari Breakaway GroupMCFF Mujahideed Commando Freedom FightersMDT Mutual Defense TreatyMILF Moro Islamic Liberation FrontMMI Majelis Mujahidin IndonesiaMNLF Moro National Liberation FrontM1 First MantiqiM2 Second MantiqiM3 Third MantiqiM4 Fourth MantiqiNACTAG National Counter Terrorism Action GroupNADR Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related ActivitiesNATCG National Anti-Terrorism Coordination GroupNATO North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationNDF National Democratic FrontNICA National Intelligence Coordinating AgencyNII Negara Islam IndonesiaNISP National Internal Security PlanNPA New Peoples’ ArmyOMA Office of Muslim AffairsPAS Islamic Party of MalaysiaPIPVTR Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism ResearchPISCES Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation Systemviii
  9. 9. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-ManilaPNP Philippine National PolicePUPJI Pedoman Umum Perjuangan-Al-Jama-ah Al- Islamiya (The General Guide for the Struggle of Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyah)ReCAAP Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in AsiaRM Rabitatul MujahidinRSIM Rajah Solaiman Islamic MovementRSM Rajah Solaiman MovementSEACAT Southeast Asia Cooperation Against TerrorismSEARCCT Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counter TerrorismSEC Securities and Exchange CommissionSOMTC Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational CrimesUN United NationsUNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and CrimeUNSC United Nations Security CouncilUS United StatesWOG Whole-of-Government ix
  10. 10. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?x
  11. 11. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila ACKNOWLEDGEMENT In writing this work, I am extremely grateful toYuchengco Center, particularly Dr. Trinidad Osteria, for theresearch grant. Without the generous support of YuchengcoCenter, this work could not have been accomplished. I am alsodeeply appreciative of the friendship and encouragement of Dr.Rizal “Rollie” Buendia for opening my doors to the YuchengcoCenter. I sincerely thank my colleagues at the Council for AsianTerrorism Research (CATR), particularly RADM RichardPorterfield, Dr. Caroline Ziemke and Dr. Katy Oh Hassig, forputting me in the loop of terrorism scholars in the Asia Pacific. InCATR, I always enjoy the company of Hekmat Karzai, PraveenSwami and Ranga Kalansooriya. I also convey my sincerestrespect to Ambassador Hussin Nayan, the founding head of theSoutheast Asia Regional Center for Counter Terrorism(SEARCCT), and Major General Alexander P. Aquirre, Chairmanof the Strategic and Integrative Studies Center where I had apleasure of working as Executive Director. I acknowledge Dr.Andrew Tan, Dr. Peter Chalk, Dr. Carl Ungerer, Dr. RohanGunaratna, Dr. Kumar Ramakrishna, Dr. Kit Collier, Dr. CarlyleThayer, Prof. Peter Anderson and Prof. Clive Williams for a veryvaluable intellectual exchange on terrorist threats in SoutheastAsia. At the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence andTerrorism Research (PIPVTR), the following colleagues areextremely helpful: “Boogie” Mendoza, “Bert” Ferro, Noor Muog,Billy Rodriguez and Diane Mendoza. From the military and policesector, I thank General Arturo Lomibao, General JuanchoSabban, General Nelson Allaga, General Ben Dolorfino, Col. GregCatapang, Col. Dan Lucero, Col. Caloy Quita and Col. BenBasiao. From the media, I thank Maria Ressa and Marites Vitug.From the Philippine academe, I thank Dr. Clarita Carlos, Dr.Renato de Castro and Prof. Raymond Quilop. xi
  12. 12. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Most importantly, I owe enormous debt to my wife,Grace, who always bears with me every time I write my piece. Ideeply thank her for the patience and understanding. I alsothank my two children, Zed and Zoe, for the reality check – thatbeyond books and papers, there are two growing human beingsneeding my greater attention.xii
  13. 13. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila FOREWORD Examining the effectiveness of counter terrorismmeasures in Southeast Asia is indeed a daunting task on twogrounds. First, the definition of the term “terrorism” is in itselfcontroversial and contested because it is used by states todelegitimize political or foreign opponents and potentiallylegitimize the states own use of terror against them. JohnWhitbeck, writing in the International Herald Tribune in 2004,1says that virtually every recognized state confronting aninsurgency or separatist movement has eagerly jumped on the“war on terrorism” bandwagon, branding its domestic opponents– if it had not already done so – “terrorists.” On the other hand,“terrorism” can also be seen as the only means available to thepoor and repressed of the world to defend themselves againstthe overwhelming strength of their oppressors. The ambiguity inthe term makes it hard to delineate the line that separates aterrorist act from an act that advances lawful dissent within thepurview of defending democratic socio-economic, political andcultural rights and freedoms. The conceptual and syntactical difficulty of the term ledto the development of alternative concepts with more positiveconnotation, such as national liberation movements, resistancemovements, freedom fighters, and others to describe andcharacterize the activities of terrorist organizations. By resortingto such tendentious nomenclatures such as “peoples’movements,” some terrorist organizations and their supportersgloss over the realities of terrorism, establishing their activitieson more positive and legitimate foundations. Moreover, termsnot opposed to the basic values of liberal democracies, like“peoples’ revolutionary violence,” “national liberation,” etc., carryvery few negative connotations than “terrorism.”1 John V. Whitbeck, “A world ensnared by a word,” International Herald Tribune, 18February, 2004. xiii
  14. 14. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Second, Southeast Asia is one of the mostheterogeneous regions in the world. Although it is generallyreferred to as a region, the principal basis for this designation isthe geographic propinquity of its component states and the factthat collectively, they occupy the territory between China andthe Indian subcontinent. The fundamental strata of thetraditional cultures of nearly all the peoples of Southeast Asia setthem apart from those of India and China. The range ofcontemporary political systems in Southeast Asia is strikinglyvaried encompassing a spectrum as broad as the differingcultures and divergent historical conditionings that haveprofoundly influenced their character. Given the complexity of terms and concepts and theintricacy of Southeast Asia, voluminous studies and researcheshave been undertaken to unravel the complexity of the issues aswell as provide answers to the continuing questions hauntingacademic circles and policymakers concerned with security andconflict studies. Hence, an attempt to study the effectivity ofcounter terrorism measures in the region, as this research hasdone, is a challenging undertaking. Professor Rommel Banlaoi’s efforts to examine terrorismas a concept, analyze terrorist groups in the region, assess theresponses to terrorism of states (at least by the five foundingmembers of ASEAN), gauge the regional cooperation to counterterrorism, investigate the support of major powers againstterrorism in the region, and explore the future of terrorism inSoutheast Asia is an audacious task to intelligently comprehendthe intricacies of terrorism in the region and variations of policiesagainst terrorism of countries which are heavily influenced bytheir own domestic politics. The study does not only serve thescholarly interests of the academic sector but also the pragmaticconcerns of the policymakers of states both in the region andthe world. Definitely, this volume is a significant contribution to theliterature on a range of research areas apart from terrorism andSoutheast Asia. This includes the themes of regionalcooperation, non-traditional security, conflict management andpeace building, comparative politics, international relations, andpolicy research, to mention a few.xiv
  15. 15. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Finally, the study reflects and advances the YuchengcoCenter’s foremost objective of contributing to public knowledgeand awareness of a topic that is extremely important andrelevant to states of the region, and to academics and policyscientists. The Yuchengco Center as a regional think tank hasenhanced its leadership in policy research and advocacy throughthis excellent piece of scholarly work of Professor Banlaoi.Rizal G. Buendia, Ph.D.London, United KingdomJuly, 2009 xv
  16. 16. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?xvi
  17. 17. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-ManilaThe ink of the scholar is worth more than the blood of a martyr. -the Prophet Muhammad The pen is mightier than the sword. -Jose Rizal xvii
  18. 18. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?xviii
  19. 19. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila ABSTRACT When the United States declared the global war againstterrorism in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks,Southeast Asia was named the “second front,” next toAfghanistan. The presence of Al-Qaeda linked and inspiredterrorist groups in the region, notably the Jemaah Islamiyyah(JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), considered Southeast Asiaas one of the world’s epicenters of terrorism studies and counterterrorism operations. Since 9/11, the region has seen theimplementation of various counter terrorism measures at thenational, bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Thesemeasures resulted in the arrest, neutralization and even killingsof key terrorist personalities in Southeast Asia. Some wereconvinced to disengage from the use of political violence andleave terrorism behind. Yet, terrorist threats continue to loomlarge in the security agenda of Southeast Asian states assurviving elements of JI and AS are still planning to andwreaking terrorist havocs. While many leaders have been killedin battle, executed, imprisoned or convinced to leave terrorismbehind, there are still younger members willing to take the placeof their predecessors. This is attributed to the fact that theideology of Al-Qaedaism that informs the actions of terroristgroups in Southeast Asia remains alive. Moreover, terrorism inSoutheast Asia has long standing underlying ideological originsthat require comprehensive and more nuanced counter terrorismmeasures. xix
  20. 20. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?xx
  21. 21. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Rommel C. BanlaoiINTRODUCTION When the United States decisively launched the GlobalWar on Terrorism (GWOT) following the gruesome September11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on American soil, SoutheastAsia quickly received the controversial label of being the GWOT’s“second front.”1 The presence of Indonesian-founded JemaahIslamiyah (JI) in the archipelagic Southeast Asia with theavowed mission to build a region-wide Islamic Caliphate and thereported existence of Al-Qaeda linked and Al-Qaeda inspiredterrorist groups in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore andThailand have convinced the security officials in Washington thatthe battleground against international terrorism next toAfghanistan is inevitably Southeast Asia. Counter terrorismmeasures in the region, therefore, were subsumed under this“second front” military doctrine making Southeast Asia one ofthe epicenters of terrorism studies and counter terrorismoperations in the world. However, the idea of Southeast Asia as the “secondfront” in the fight against terrorism has been strongly contestedby some scholars and analysts studying terrorist threats in theregion beyond the hawkish and alarmist prism of 9/11.2 Whilethe “second front” discourse triggered the significant flow ofinternational counter terrorism assistance to Southeast Asia, italso led to some counter terrorism measures that werechallenged globally, regionally and domestically. This presentstudy is an attempt to take stock of almost a decade of counterterrorism measures in Southeast Asia after 9/11 and to critically1 The idea of Southeast Asia as a “second front” in the global campaign against terrorismwas first articulated in John Gershman, “Is Southeast Asia the Second Front?” ForeignAffairs (July/August, 2002).2 For a more scholarly analysis, see Andrew T.H. Tan, “Southeast Asia as the SecondFront in the War Against Terrorism: Evaluating the Threat and Responses,” Terrorismand Political Violence, vol. 15, no. 2 (Summer, 2003), pp. 112-138. For a more recentanalysis of the issue, see Amitav Acharya and Arabinda Acharya, “The Myth of theSecond Front: Localizing the War on Terror in Southeast Asia,” The WashingtonQuarterly, vol. 30, no. 4 (Autumn, 2007), pp. 75-90.
  22. 22. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?examine how effective these measures are in overcoming thevirulent terrorist threats that have been confronting the region. This study is divided into seven chapters. Chapter I isconceptual and theoretical as it discusses some definitionalissues surrounding terrorism discourse in Southeast Asia andelsewhere in the world. It describes the evolution of terrorism inthe region and maps some known terrorist cells operating in thearea. This chapter also briefly examines the variousmanifestations of terrorism in Southeast Asia and describes howthey have changed overtime with the intention of analyzing themultidimensional causes of terrorism in the region. Chapter II identifies some terrorist groups and theirmodes of operation in Southeast Asia. It features some countrycase studies of selected groups accused of terrorism inIndonesia, the Philippines and Singapore focusing on theirevolution, organizational structure, political and ideologicaladherence, links with foreign terrorist organizations, their mainactivities and targets of operations. This chapter only discussesterrorist organizations associated with Islamic extremism.Terrorist organizations like communist parties and non-Islamicinsurgent groups are beyond the scope of this study. Chapter III examines the impact of terrorism on socio-economic development of the region. It focuses on the impactsof terrorism on tourism, foreign investment and human securitysuch as health, education, social welfare and displacements ofpersons. This chapter also describes the military costs associatedwith the fight against terrorism. Chapter IV is more country-specific as it discusses thenational response against terrorist threats in Southeast Asia.Three countries are selected for this part of the study:Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. Chapter V moves from country study to regional analysisby examining regional cooperation to counter terrorism inSoutheast Asia. It assesses the state of regional cooperationagainst terrorism, the level of coordination to address theinternational menace and the quantity and quality ofinternational assistance and support, particularly in the area ofintelligence sharing and cross border collaboration.2
  23. 23. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Chapter VI examines the role of extra-regional powers incounter terrorism in Southeast Asia. It focuses on the role ofAustralia, China, India, Japan and US in the fight againstinternational terrorism in the region. Chapter VII analyzes the future of international terrorismin Southeast Asia. It attempts to describe the configuration ofterrorism in Southeast Asia in the coming years and to addresshow regional cooperation can be effectively forged to maximizethe effects of counter terrorism in Southeast Asia. 3
  24. 24. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?4
  25. 25. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila CHAPTER I CONCEPTUALIZING TERRORISM IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: DEFINITION, EVOLUTION AND CAUSESWhat is Terrorism in the Region’s Context? Though terrorism has been a problem of the humanitysince the dawn of recorded history, it is regrettable that untilnow, there has been no clear-cut definition of the concept.3 It issaid that the word terrorism originated after the FrenchRevolution of 1789. It was first used during the “Reign of Terror”between 1793 and 1794. Yet, there has been no clarity on themeaning of terrorism. The US-based Terrorism Research Centerlaments that terrorism “by nature is difficult to define.”4 Even theScotland-based Center for the Study of Terrorism and PoliticalViolence (CSTPV) underscores the enormous dilemma in comingout with an iron-clad definition of terrorism.5 The Center onGlobal Counterterrorism Cooperation (CGCC), an independentthink-tank founded by members of the United Nations (UN),recognizes the arduousness of defining the term terrorism.6 TheCouncil for Asian Terrorism Research (CATR), the largestnetwork of terrorism think-tanks in the Asia Pacific, also admitsthe difficulty of coming out with a precise definition of terrorism. As early as 1937, the defunct League of Nationsattempted to define terrorism as “all criminal acts directedagainst a State and intended or calculated to create a state ofterror in the minds of particular persons or groups of persons orthe general public.”7 However, this definition failed to get wider3 Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues (Londonand California: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003), pp. 1-10.4 Terrorism Research Center at Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation at Quoted in Carlyle A. Thayer, “Political Terrorism and Militant Islam in SoutheastAsia,” (Paper delivered at a Forum on Regional Security and Political Developmentsorganized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Grand Copthorne Water FrontHotel, Singapore on 24 July, 2003), p. 6. 5
  26. 26. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?acceptance because of divergent national perspectives on thethreat of terrorism. In the mid-1980s, scholars listed a total of 109definitions of terrorism with 22 different definitionalcharacteristics. These definitions continue to be debated upon.8In the mid-1990s, another scholar counted more than 100definitions of terrorism but the search for a commonly accepteddefinition goes on.9 In 1999, the United Nations drafted adefinition of terrorism but it also failed to reach global consensusbecause of different domestic considerations among membernations, particularly in the developing world. In the aftermath of 9/11, the definitional problem ofterrorism continues to haunt scholars, experts and policymakers.This situation continues to make many counter terrorismmeasures not only problematic but also contested. An internetsearch of the phrase “definition of terrorism” yielded 6,630,000results for Google while 25,400,000 result for Yahoo as of thiswriting. Even the term “terrorism” alone revealed 261,000,000results for Yahoo while 49,100,000 results for Google. UsingGoogle Book search results in 118,431 publications written onterrorism to date. One study shows that since 9/11, there hasbeen a drastic increase in the number of published books withterrorism in their title.10 (Figure 1) This clearly indicates theoverwhelming interests of readers and publishers on the topic ofterrorism.8 Alex P. Schmid, Albert J. Jongman, et al., Political Terrorism: A New Guide to Actors,Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories and Literature (New Brunswick, NJ:Transaction Books, 1988), pp. 5-6.9 Walter Laqueur, The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction(New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 6.10 Dipak K. Gupta, “Toward an Integrated Behavioral Framework for AnalyzingTerrorism: Individual Motivations to Group Dynamics,” Democracy and Security, vol.1, no. 1 (January-July, 2005), p. 5.6
  27. 27. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Figure 1 Number of Published Books with “Terrorism” in Their TitleSource: Dipak K. Gupta, “Toward an Integrated Behavioral Framework for AnalyzingTerrorism: Individual Motivations to Group Dynamics,” Democracy and Security, vol. 1,no. 1 (January-July, 2005), p. 6. Among the many publications on the topic, the mostwidely-cited definition of terrorism is the one provided in 1983by the US Department of State. It says that the term “terrorism”means “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetratedagainst noncombatant targets by sub-national groups orclandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”11Yet, this definition is being contested because it eschews thestate and its apparatuses in the definition considering that thereare studies focusing on state terrorism and state-sponsoredterrorism.1211 See United States Department of States, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003(Washington, DC: US Department of State, 2003), p. xii.12 See for example Tal Becker, Terrorism and the State: Rethinking the Rules of StateResponsibility (New York: Hart Publishing, 2006) and Mark Selden, Alvin Y. So, Warand State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the LongTwentieth Century (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). 7
  28. 28. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? There is no doubt, however, that terrorism is presently ahighly pejorative term - it is something what “bad guys do.”13 Post-9/11 terrorism scholars strongly acknowledge thechanging face of terrorism14 by differentiating new from oldterrorism.15 Whether old or new terrorism, there has been “noauthoritative systematic guide to terrorism, no Clausewitz, noteven a Jomini – and perhaps there never will be one simplybecause there is not one terrorism but a variety of terrorismsand what is true for one does not necessarily apply to others.”16Thus, the worn-out saying, “a one person’s terrorist is the otherone’s freedom fighter” still catches scholarly attention. One thing in common among many scholars is the viewthat terrorism is fundamentally a violent act.17 Terrorism is apolitically motivated form of violence used by both non-state andstate players. Conceptually, acts of terrorism are special kinds ofviolence compared to military activities or guerilla wars.18Military activities, guerilla wars and terrorist acts are also formsof political violence but they can be distinguished in the followingwords: Military activity was bound by conventions entailing moral distinctions between belligerents and neutrals, combatants and non-combatants, appropriate and inappropriate targets, legitimate and illegitimate methods;13 Louise Richardson, What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Terrorist Threat(London: John Murray Publishers, 2006), p. 19.14 Rohan Gunaratna (ed), The Changing Face of Terrorism (Singapore: MarshallCavendish International, 2004).15 Andrew Tan and Kumar Ramakrishna (eds), The New Terrorism: Anatomy, Trends andCounter-Strategies (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International, 2002). Also see Ian O.Lesser, Bruce Hoffman, John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt and Michele Zanimi, Counteringthe New Terrorism (Santa Monica, California: RAND, 1999).16 Walter Laqueur, No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century (New Yorkand London: The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc., 2003), p. 8.17 Cindy C. Combs, Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, Second Edition (New Jersey:Prentice Hall, 2000), p. 8.18 Alex P. Schmidt, “Frameworks for Conceptualizing Terrorism,” Terrorism andPolitical Violence, vol. 16, no. 2 (Summer, 2004), p. 203.8
  29. 29. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Guerilla war was a special kind of military activity, in which hit-and-disappear tactics to disperse the enemy’s military forces were employed to wear down and gradually defeat the enemy; and The traditional distinguishing characteristic of the terrorist was his explicit refusal to accept the conventional moral limits that defined military and guerilla action. Because a terrorist knew that others did think that violence should be limited, he exploited the enemy’s vigorous responses to his outrages. The terrorist perpetrated atrocities and manipulated reactions to them.19 Despite these distinctions, there are still manychallenges conceptualizing terrorism20 because the term “hadappeared in so many forms and under so many differentcircumstances that a comprehensive definition was impossible.”21The meaning and the usage of the word terrorism have, in fact,changed over time that making a consistent definition hasproved increasingly elusive.22 Southeast Asia is not immune to the definitional problemof terrorism. Immediately after 9/11, members of theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed on 5November, 2001 the Declaration on Joint Action to CounterTerrorism (DJACT). However, this Declaration does not provideany clear definition of terrorism other than stating that terrorismis a “direct challenge to the attainment of peace, progress andprosperity of ASEAN.”23 There was even a deliberate attempt onthe part of ASEAN not to provide a definition of terrorismbecause of the presence of Muslim communities in the region19 Ibid., p. 205. Also see David Rapoport, “The Politics of Atrocity” in Yonah Alexanderand Seymour Maxwell Finger (eds), Terrorism: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (NewYork: John Jay Press, 1977), p. 47.20 Leonard Weinberg, Ami Pedahzur and Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, “The Challenges ofConceptualizing Terrorism,” Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 16, no. 4 (Winter,2004), pp. 777-794.21 Ibid, p. 777. Also see Walter Laquer, Terrorism (Boston: Little Brown, 1977), p. 5.22 Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), p. 28.23 For more discussions, see Rommel C. Banlaoi, War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia(Quezon City: Rex Book Store International, 2004), pp. 9-16. 9
  30. 30. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?that might perceive any definition as anti-Islamic in the contextof the emergence of militant Islam in Southeast Asia.24Nonetheless, the Agreement on Information Exchange andEstablishment of Communication Procedures initially signed byIndonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (The TrilateralAgreement) on 7 May, 2002 attempts to define terrorism as: Any act of violence or threat thereof perpetrated to carry out within the respective territories of the Parties or in the border area of any of the Parties an individual or collective criminal plan with the aim of terrorizing people of threatening to harm them or imperiling their lives, honor, freedoms, security or rights or exposing the environment or any facility or public or private property to hazards or occupying or seizing them, or endangering a national resource, or international facilities, or threatening the stability, territorial integrity, political unity or sovereignty of independent States.25 Based on DJACT, the Trilateral Agreement and otherASEAN declarations related to terrorism, ASEAN reached amilestone in regional counter terrorism when members signedthe ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT) on 13January, 2007. The ACCT provides a definition based on variousUN conventions that criminalize acts of terrorism. (Table 1)However, the ACCT is being criticized because ASEAN does nothave yet the necessary institutions needed to enforce theConvention.2624 See Barry Desker, “Islam and Society in Southeast Asia After September 11,” IDSSWorking Paper Series, no. 3 (September, 2002); Willem van der Geest, ed., “MappingMuslim Politics in Southeast Asia After September 11,” The European Institute for AsianStudies Publications, vol. 2, no. 5 (December, 2002); and Harold Crouch, Ahmad FauziAbdul Hamid, Carmen A. Abubakar and Yang Razali Kassim, “Islam in Southeast Asia:Analyzing Recent Developments,” ISEAS Working Paper Series, no. 1 (January, 2002).25 Cited in Ibid., p. 9.26 International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, “Analysis:ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism” (31 January, 2006)
  31. 31. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Table 1 UN Conventions’ Response to Various Criminal Acts of Terrorism in Southeast Asiaa. Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, concluded at Montreal on 23 September, 1971;b. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents, adopted in New York on 14 December, 1973;c. International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, adopted in New York on 17 December, 1979;d. Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted in Vienna on 26 October, 1979;e. Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, done at Montreal on 24 February, 1988;f. Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, done at Rome on 10 March, 1988;g. Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, done at Rome on 10 March, 1988;h. International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted in New York on 15 December, 1997;i. International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted in New York on 9 December, 1999;j. International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted in New York on 13 April, 2005;k. Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, done at Vienna on 8 July, 2005;l. Protocol of 2005 to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, done at London on 14 October, 2005; andm. Protocol of 2005 to the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, done at London on 14 October, 2005.Source: “Article II,” ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism, 2007. 11
  32. 32. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Though ASEAN members already adopted a legaldefinition of terrorism as articulated in the ASEAN Convention,the scholarly community has little consensus on the definition ofterrorism in the region. In Southeast Asia, terrorism has alwaysbeen associated with domestic armed rebellions and localinsurgencies with known deep historical, political, social andeconomic roots.27 Thus, a “more complete understanding of theterrorism phenomenon therefore requires the examination ofterrorism from a more holistic and even historical perspective, inorder to arrive at a more in-depth understanding of thecomplexities of this historical phenomenon, particularly thefundamental motivations or grievances that underlie the use ofterrorism.”28 As such, terrorism in Southeast Asia “cannot beviewed in narrow definitional terms nor is it amenable to a set ofgeneralizations, and hence narrow prescriptivecountermeasures.”29How and Where Did Terrorist Threats in Southeast AsiaEvolve? Terrorism in Southeast Asia predated the seminal eventsof 9/11. The region has confronted several local armedrebellions, which used terrorism as a favored tactic. Most ofthese armed rebellions were in the form of communistinsurgencies, ethnic conflicts or wars of national liberation.30In recent years, Southeast Asia has seriously encounteredterrorist threats emanating from violent extremist Islamicgroups. Several studies have shown that the current terroristthreats in Southeast Asia have evolved from a complex mix ofindigenous and external origins that date back to the colonialera.31 From the existing scholarly literature, there are three basic27 Andrew T.H. Tan, “Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia” in Andrew T.H. Tan(ed), A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia (Great Britain andMassachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc., 2007), p. 5.28 Ibid.29 Ibid.30 Ibid., p. 6.31 Ibid. Also see Linell Cady and Sheldon Simon (eds), Religion and Conflicts in Southand Southeast Asia: Disrupting Violence (London and New York: Routledge, 2007);David Martin Jones and Mike Lawrence Smith,“From Konfrontasi to Disintegrasi:ASEAN and the Rise of Islamism in Southeast Asia,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism,vol. 25 (2002), pp. 343-356; S. Yunanto, et. al, Militant Islamic Movements in Indonesiaand Southeast Asia (Jakarta: Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, 2003); and Andrew T.H. Tan,12
  33. 33. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manilaapproaches that attempt to explain the evolution and dynamicsof terrorism in the region: the globalist, the regionalist and thenationalist perspectives.32 The globalist or the international terrorism approachtraces the evolution of terrorism in Southeast Asia from thethreat emanating from Al-Qaeda.33 This approach regards Al-Qaeda as the cornerstone of any meaningful analysis of terroristthreats in the region. It rests on “Al-Qaeda-centric paradigm”that strongly links terrorism in Southeast Asia with Osama binLaden who provides the global leadership. The Afghan War ofthe 1980s was the turning point in the formation of Al-Qaeda’sglobal network of terror that included Southeast Asia. Rohan Gunaratna has been recognized as the foremostexponent of the globalist approach. In his book, Inside Al-Qaeda, Gunaratna pinpoints Al-Qaeda as the determining factorin the emergence of new terrorism in Southeast Asia.34 Heregards terrorist groups in Southeast Asia as integral parts of theglobal network of terror with Al-Qaeda as the hub.35 Maria Ressamay also be considered as a globalist when she highlights therole of Al-Qaeda in her analysis of terrorist threats in SoutheastAsia.36 She describes JI as the Al-Qaeda of Southeast Asiaindicating her Al-Qaeda centered analysis.37“Armed Muslim Separatist Rebellion in Southeast Asia: Persistence, Prospects andImplications,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 23, no. 4 (January, 2000), pp. 267-288.32 Carlyle Thayer popularized these three perspectives. See Carlyle Thayer,“NewTerrorism in Southeast Asia” in Damien Kingburry (ed), Violence in Between: Conflictand Security in Archipelagic Southeast Asia (Victoria and Singapore: Monash UniversityPress and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2005), pp. 53-74.33 For a good reference on Al-Qaeda, see Jane Corbin, Al-Qaeda: The Terror NetworkThat Threatens the World (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2002).34 Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 2002).35 In my various conversations with Rohan Gunaratna from 2005-2008, he underscoresthe role of Al-Qaeda in understanding terrorist threats in Southeast Asia.36 Maria Ressa, Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of Al-Qaeda’s Newest Center ofOperations in Southeast Asia (New York and London: Free Press, 2003).37 In my conversation with Maria Ressa on 30 May, 2009 in Singapore, she admits thatshe is a globalist for focusing her analysis on Al-Qaeda. 13
  34. 34. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? From the globalist perspective, in short, the evolution ofterrorism in Southeast Asia cannot be fully understood without afull grasp of Al-Qaeda’s origin and global expansion.38Gunaratna argues that Al-Qaeda’s influence in Southeast Asiaspread from the Philippines “where its network is long-standing,well-entrenched and extensive.”39 Through the machinations ofMuhammad Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Al-Qaeda penetrated the region in the mid-1980s using thePhilippines as a springboard and logistical center. Gunaratnawrites, “After establishing a logistics network in the Philippinesfrom 1988-1993, Al-Qaeda launched Oplan Bojinka in 1994.”40 Itis believed that Oplan Bojinka provided the blueprint for 9/11.Ressa echoed this view in her writings. The regionalist or regional security perspective, on theother hand, regards the evolution of terrorism in Southeast Asiaas part and parcel of the evolution and development of JI.Though JI has established global links with Al-Qaeda in the1990s, the regionalist approach regards it as “home grown” thatpre-dated Al-Qaeda and 9/11. Southeast Asian rebels founded JIlong before Al-Qaeda reached the region. JI emerged inSoutheast Asia not because of Al-Qaeda’s global plan but inresponse to regional conditions and local grievances that existedeven before Al-Qaeda was formed. In other words, JI, with itsvision of Pan-Islamism in Southeast Asia, has evolution anddynamics of its own separate from Al-Qaeda. The regionalistapproach in Southeast Asian terrorism studies is therefore JI-oriented rather than Al-Qaeda-centered. The well-known disciple of regionalist approach isZachary Abuza who adopts a more JI-oriented paradigm ingrappling with the evolution and development of terrorism inSoutheast Asia. In his book, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia:Crucible of Terror, Abuza explains that terrorist groups inSoutheast Asia are indeed homegrown but “have effectively38 For excellent discussions of Al-Qaeda’s global expansion, see Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda:Casting a Shadow of Terror (London: IB Tauris, 2003). Also see Jane Corbin, Al-Qaeda:The Terror Network that Threatens the World (London and New York: Simon andSchuster and Nation Books, 2002).39 Gunaratna, Inside Al-Qaeda, p. 175.40 Ibid.14
  35. 35. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manilalinked up with transnational organizations like Al-Qaeda.”41 Thehub of terrorist groups in Southeast Asia is JI and not Al-Qaeda.However, Abuza also carries a globalist tone when he assertsthat “JI must be seen as an integral part of Al-Qaeda.”42Indeed, it was through JI that Al-Qaeda expanded its network inSoutheast Asia.43 Understanding terrorism in Southeast Asia,therefore, requires a comprehension of JI origin, ideology andorganizational dynamics.44 Finally, the nationalist approach or country studiesperspective is challenging the Al-Qaeda-centric and JI-orientedparadigms in Southeast Asian terrorism studies. It contends thatterrorism in Southeast Asia can best be understood by analyzingthe underlying domestic conditions and national state failuresthat provide the fertile environment for the emergence ofterrorism. This approach regards terrorism as a symptom ofstate failure to address the domestic roots of various armedrebellions in the region. Sydney Jones and Kit Collier45 are staunch advocates ofthe nationalist or country studies approach.46 They pay attention41 Zachary Abuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror (Boulder,Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 2003), p. 1.42 Zachary Abuza, “Understanding Al-Qaeda and its Network in Southeast Asia” inKumar Ramakrishna and See Seng Tan (eds), After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism inSoutheast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies and WorldScientific Publishing, Co., Pte. Ltd., 2003), p. 144.43 For more discussions on this topic, see Zachary Abuza, “Tentacles of Terror: Al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asian Network,” Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 24, no. 3(December, 2002), pp. 427-465.44 My interactions with Zachary Abuza on April 12-13, 2006 revealed his JI-centeredanalysis. See International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research,Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Threat and Response (Singapore: Institute of Defence andStrategic Studies and the Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, USDepartment of State, 12-13 April, 2006).45 My meeting with Kit Collier in March 2009 in Quezon City showed his great interestson country-study approach.46 Sidney Jones is the project director of various studies made by the International CrisisGroup (ICG) on terrorism in Southeast Asia. See ICG Website at Also see Sidney Jones, “The ChangingNature of Jemaah Islamiyah,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 59, no. 2(June, 2005), pp. 169-178. Kit Collier, on the other hand, was also a consultant to theICG and a research fellow at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at theAustralian National University. He is regarded as one of Australia’s country studies 15
  36. 36. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?to “local realities, not externally imposed organigrams.”47 Collier,for example, underscores that JI is “not an integral part of Al-Qaeda” but its roots “are thoroughly Indonesian” with theultimate objective of establishing an Islamic state in Indonesia.48He also argues that terrorist and insurgent groups in SoutheastAsia “resemble bundles of personal associations more thanintegral corporate bodies.”49 Their ties to Al-Qaeda “areincarnate in individual associations, not bureaucratic flowcharts.”50 John T. Sidel may also be categorized in the thirdapproach when he offers an “alternative” and more “countryspecific” perspective in analyzing Islamist terrorist threats inSoutheast Asia. He vehemently rejects the alarmist views of theglobalist and the regionalist for being exaggerated andfundamentally misleading.51 He presents a “more balanced,nuanced, and properly contextualized analysis” of terrorismsituation in Southeast Asia by paying attention to local conditionsrather than external influence.52 He examines terrorist threats inSoutheast Asia in the context of domestic dynamics in Indonesia,Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. He further contends thatthe turn towards terrorist violence by Islamist militants inSoutheast Asia must be understood as “a symptom of andreaction to the decline, domestication, and disentanglementfrom state power of Islamist forces in the region.”53 In his studyof Indonesia, he argues that the recent terrorist bombings inspecialists on the Southern Philippines. See Kit Collier, “Dynamics of MuslimSeparatism in the Philippines,” in Kingsbury (ed), Violence in Between, pp. 155-174.47 Kit Collier, “Terrorism: Evolving Regional Alliances and State Failure in Mindanao”in Daljit Singh and Lorraine C. Salazar (eds), Southeast Asian Affairs 2006 (Singapore:Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006), p.27.48 Ibid., p. 33.49 Ibid., p. 34.50 Ibid, p. 33.51 John T. Sidel, The Islamist Threat in Southeast Asia: A Reassessment (Washington DCand Singapore: East West Center Washington and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,2007), p. x.52 Ibid., p. 3.53 Ibid., p. 54.16
  37. 37. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-ManilaIndonesia are not a product of external influences but a result ofdomestic conditions, a recurring theme in Indonesian history.54 Greg Barton may also belong to the third category ofterrorism scholars in Southeast Asia when he examines JI as amanifestation of radical Islamism in Indonesia.55 Drawing fromthe research outputs of Sidney Jones, Barton presents theindigenous origins of JI as an Indonesian-based movement thatspills-over to neighboring countries in Archipelagic SoutheastAsia. He underscores that JI is not simply an imported problembut part of the continuation of the Darul Islam (DI) struggle ofthe 1950s.56What are the Manifestations of Terrorism in SoutheastAsia? Terrorism in Southeast Asia has various manifestationsbecause of its historical complexities and current politicalrealities. Andrew T. H. Tan formulated a four-class division ofterrorism and insurgency to highlight the complexities of terroristthreats in the region.57 (Table 2) The first division consists of separatist insurgencies thatutilize terrorism as part of their tactics. These separatist groupsare marginalized and regarded as victims of political exclusion.They carry the features of long-running civil conflicts that posegreat challenge to the legitimacy of existing regimes in theregion. The second division pertains to armed anti-governmentpolitical opposition groups created to address some deeply-rooted political, economic and social grievances. These groupshave “special operation units” that use terrorism to attractpolitical attention.54 John T. Sidel, “It is Not Getting Worse: Terrorism is Declining in Asia,” Global Asia,vol. 2, no. 3 (Winter, 2007), pp. 41-49.55 Greg Barton, Jemaah Islamiyah: Radical Islamism in Indonesia (Singapore: SingaporeUniversity Press, 2004).56 Ibid., p. 77.57 Tan, “Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia,” p. 11. 17
  38. 38. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? The third division refers to radical Islamist groups aimingto establish an Islamic State through the violent overthrow ofthe existing governments in the region. These groups justify theuse of terrorism through its violent extremist ideology. Groupsbelonging to the third category are linked to Al-Qaeda and/orpart of what is called the Afghan mujahedeen network. Finally, the fourth division is largely based in Indonesia.It pertains to overt and legitimate radical organizations that aresympathetic to radical Islamist groups. Though these groupsassert their right to participate in the democratic politicalprocess, Tan argues that these groups have the potential to useviolence because of their ideological and personal associationswith groups involved in terrorist acts. Table 2 Four Class Divisions of Terrorism in Southeast Asia Category Groups Country1. Separatist Fretilin, Organisasi Papua Indonesia Insurgencies Merdeka, Gerakan Aceh Merdeka Hmong rebels Laos Karen National Union, Myanmar Kachin Independence Organization, China National Front, Shan State Army, Rohingya Solidarity Organization Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group, Philippines Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement Pattani United Liberation Organization, Barisan Thailand Revolusi Nasional2. Armed Anti- Burma Student Democratic Myanmar Government Front, National Council Political Union of Burma Opposition18
  39. 39. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Groups Communist Party of the Philippines Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front Communist Party of Thailand Thailand3. Radical Islamist Jemaah Islamiyah Indonesia Groups Kampulan Majahideen Malaysia Malaysia Rohingya Solidarity Myanmar Organization Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group, Philippines Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement Gerakan Majahideen Islam Pattani Thailand4. Overt Radical Majelis Muhajideen Indonesia Organizations Indonesia (Laskar Jundullah, Laska Jihad, Front Permbella Islam and Komite Solidaritas Islam) Islamic Studies, Call and Philippines Guidance (ISCAG), Darul Hijra Foundation, Fi- Sabilillah Da’wah and Media Foundation (FSDMF)Sources: Andrew T.H. Tan, “Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia” in AndrewT.H. Tan (ed), A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia (Great Britainand Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc., 2007), pp. 11-13; Rommel C.Banlaoi, “Transnational Islam in the Philippines” in Peter Mandaville, Farish Noor,Alexander Horstmann, Dietrich Reetz, Ali Riaz, Animesh Roul, Noorhadi Hasan, AhmadFauzi Abdul Hamid, Rommel C. Banlaoi and Joseph C. Liow, Transnational Islam inSouth and Southeast Asia: Movements, Networks and Conflict Dynamics (Seattle,Washington: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2009), pp. 182-184. 19
  40. 40. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?Mapping Terrorism Cells in Southeast Asia The US State Department identifies only three groups inSoutheast Asia listed as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs):JI (Indonesia), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG, the Philippines) and theCommunist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples’ Army(CPP/NPA, the Philippines).58 This paper will not cover terrorist organizationsemanating from communist parties and non-Islamic insurgentgroups. Analysis is limited to militant or radical Islamic groupsaccused of terrorist acts: JI and ASG. Among the listed terrorist groups in Southeast Asia, JIhas established various terrorism cells in the region. It receivedinternational notoriety because of its involvement in variousterrorist attacks in the region. The well-known attack itperpetrated was the 12 October, 2002 Bali Bombing, consideredas “the most devastating terrorist strike in the world since 9/11,”having killed 2002 civilians, most of whom were Australians.59The 2002 Bali Bombing was, in fact, JI’s Plan B. Its Plan A wasthe bombing of Western targets in Singapore in December,2001.60 It also masterminded the 5 August, 2003 car bombing ofJW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta where 11 people died and 150others injured. The bombing of Australian Embassy in Jakarta on9 September, 2004, which resulted in the death of 11Indonesians and wounding of 160 others, was also blamed onJI. On 1 October, 2005, JI bombed Bali once again which killed20 persons and injured 129 more. Though JI originated in Indonesia, it has establishednetworks with groups and sleeper cells in Southeast Asiaaccused of various terrorist acts. Due to its existing regionalnetworks, it is said to be behind the “Talibanization of SoutheastAsia” and as such “has become an important and even key58 US Department of State, “List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations” at (8 April, 2008).59 Kumar Ramakrishna and See Seng Tan, “Is Southeast Asia a Terrorist Haven?” inRamakrishna and Tan, After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia, p. 1.60 For detailed discussions of Plan A, see Ressa, Seeds of Terror, pp. 143-163.20
  41. 41. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manilaelement of the discourse on terrorism in Southeast Asia.”61 It isclosely connected with Islamist extremist groups in Indonesia,Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. Table 3 shows JI’s regional partners and linkages thatform terrorism cells in Southeast Asia. Table 3 JI Regional Partners and Linkages in Southeast Asia Country Terrorism CellsIndonesia Majilis Mujahidin Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Laskar Jundulla, GAM, FPI, DI, Jammah NIII, Laskar Mujahidin, Mujahidin KOMPAK, ABB, AMIN and RP11Malaysia Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia, Al-MuanahMyanmar Arakan Rohingya National OrganizationPhilippines Abu Sayyaf Group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Misuari Breakaway Group (MBG), Balik Islam/Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement (BI/RSIM)Thailand Gerakan Mujahidin Pattani IslamSource: Bilveer Singh, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia: Losing the War on Terrorto Islamist Extremists (Connecticut and London: Praeger Security International, 2007),p. 86. Common among these so-called terrorism cellsassociated with JI is a fanatical adherence to a shared ideologycalled by different scholars as Islamic radicalism, Islamicextremism, Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic revivalism, Islamicrenewal, Muslim radicalism, Muslim extremism, radical Islamism,militant Islam and others.62 All these terms have acquired61 Bilveer Singh, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia: Losing the War on Terror toIslamist Extremists (Connecticut and London: Praeger Security International, 2007), p.51.62 For an excellent discussion on these different labels, see Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard,Peter Chalk, C. Christian Fair, Theodore Karasik, Rollie Lal, Ian Lesser and DavidThaler, The Muslim World After 9/11 (Santa Monica, California: RAND, 2004). Also seePeter Mandaville, Farish Noor, Alexander Horstmann, Dietrich Reetz, Ali Riaz, Animesh 21
  42. 42. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?pejorative, derogatory and sometimes anti-Muslim meanings inthe Western world because they have been associated withpolitical violence and terrorism. There is no doubt, however, thatthese terms are loosely lumped within the broad universe ofpolitical Islam.63 The origin of these terms is often attributed to theIslamic preaching of Muhammad ibn Abd-al Wahhab, a Muslimscholar who popularized a theology that was later calledWahhabism. Abd-al Wahhab teaches the ‘purification’ of Islambased on Salafi faith. The word ‘Salafi’ means ‘righteousancestors of Muslims’ in traditional Islamic scholarship. Salafismadvocates a return to a Sharia-minded orthodoxy that aims topurify Islam from unwarranted accretions, heresies anddistortions. Thus, Wahhabism and Salafism are theologicallyconnected. They are systems of belief that are said to havevigorously informed the ‘terrorist acts’ of Osama bin Laden andother radical Muslim personalities. They fight for the jihad,seeking to re-create the Muslim umma and Sharia to build anIslamic community worldwide.64 Wahhabi or Salafi movementsare found throughout the Muslim world.65 After 9/11, Islamicmovements and organizations adhering to Wahhabism andSalafism, particularly those associated with Al-Qaeda, are labeledinaccurately as terrorists because of their vigorous involvementRoul, Noorhadi Hasan, Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Rommel C. Banlaoi and Joseph C.Liow, Transnational Islam in South and Southeast Asia: Movements, Networks andConflict Dynamics (Seattle, Washington: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2009). Fora very useful analysis of major ideological positions in Islam, see Cheryl Benard, CivilDemocratic Islam: Partners, Resources and Strategies (Santa Monica, California:RAND, 2003). For a pre-9/11 discussion of the topic, see Dilip Hiro, IslamicFundamentalism (London: Paladin Grafton Books, 1989); Chandra Muzaffar, IslamicResurgence: A Global View, Social Issues in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute ofSoutheast Asian Studies, 1988); Lionel Caplan (ed), Studies in ReligiousFundamentalism (Hongkong: Macmillan Press, 1987); John L. Esposito, IslamicRevivalism in the Muslim World Today (Washington: American Institute for IslamicAffairs, 1985); and G.H. Jansen, Militant Islam (London: Pan Book, Ltd, 1979).63 See Nazih Ayubi, Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World (New York:Routledge, 1991).64 Rabasa, et. al, The Muslim World After 9/11. See also, ‘SalafiIslam,’ Ibid. Also see Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi, A Short History of the Revivalist Movementin Islam (Lahore: Islamic Publication Ltd., 1981).22
  43. 43. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manilain a series of violent attacks, the largest of which was the 9/11assaults on the United States. Bilveer Singh calls the movement behind this Islamicideology in Southeast Asia as “Talibanization,” which is a politicalrather than religious Islamic movement. It refers to the “growingpropensity to adopt extremist religious ideological interpretationsand practices in Muslim societies, especially in Southeast Asia.”66 Talibanization comes from the word “Taliban,” a violentextremist militia force based in Kandahar, Afghanistan foundedby Mullah Muhammad Omar in September, 2004. The Talibans,which means students or children of Jihad, established anIslamic regime in Afghanistan that promoted rigid interpretationand extreme practice of Islam anchored on Islamic orthodoxy ofSunni Wahhabism and Salafism. This orthodoxy practicesintolerance not only towards non-Muslim but also to Muslimswho have failed in purifying their Islamic faith. In other words,Talibanization aims for the purification of Islam found inWahhabi and Salafi faiths. Thus, it has become synonymous withextremism, which currently informs JI ideology.67 Details of thisideology will be discussed in the succeeding sections of thispaper. A major terrorist group associated with JI is the AbuSayyaf Group (ASG).Have the Features Changed Over Time? Since the launching of the Global War on Terrorism(GWOT) after 9/11, existing terrorist cells in Southeast Asia havebeen disrupted. Many of the leaders and members of these cellshave been neutralized, arrested or convicted. Some underwent“deradicalization” or “rehabilitation” programs to enable them toleave terrorism behind. Others remain at large and are stillplanning to wreak terrorist havocs. Before 9/11, governments in Southeast Asia regardedterrorist threats in the region as low-level. Some governmentswere, in fact, in the utter state of denial on the existence ofterrorist cells in their countries because of domestic politicalconsiderations. Other governments outside the region even66 Singh, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia, p. 11.67 Ibid., p. 12. 23
  44. 44. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?viewed terrorist threats in Southeast Asia as only local in scope.Though some terrorist activities in the region in the 1980s and1990s received international media attention, many governmentsinside and outside the region viewed terrorism as posing noclear and present danger to their countries’ over-all nationalsecurity interests.68 For the US, for example, Southeast Asia was not thecenter of terrorist activities considering that prior to 9/11incidents, the region only recorded a total of 186 internationalterrorist incidents from 1984-1996 compared to 2,073 attacks inEurope, 1,631 attacks in Latin American, 1,392 attacks in theMiddle East and 362 attacks in Africa.69 After 9/11, however, theUS radically altered its perceptions of Southeast Asian terrorismwhen its intelligence agencies unearthed various evidenceslinking terrorist groups in Southeast Asia with Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda Group.70 The US now views Southeast Asia as the majorbreeding ground for terrorism that has the capability to wreakhavoc not only against America but also against substitutetargets in Asia. Though 9/11 shocked the world, Southeast Asiangovernments were cautious in their response against terrorismperpetuated by Muslim extremists considering the significantnumber of Muslim communities in the region, particularly inIndonesia, with its largest Muslim population in the world; inMalaysia, where Islam is embedded in the Constitution; and inSouthern Philippines and Southern Thailand where some Muslimgroups are fighting for separatism. In fact, Southeast Asiangovernments expressed mixed reactions71 on the American-ledglobal campaign against terrorism because of nationalsensitivities.7268 Banlaoi, War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia, p. 17.69 Ibid. Also see Mohammed Jawhar Hassan, “Terrorism: Southeast Asia’s Response,”PacNet Newsletters, no. 1 (4 January, 2002).70 Reyco Huang, “Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia: Evidence and Response,” CDI TerrorismProject (8 February, 2002).71 Sheldon W. Simon, “Mixed Reactions in Southeast Asia to the US War on Terrorism,”Comparative Connections: An E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations (4th Quarter,2001), p. 1.72 Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Security Cooperation and Conflict in Southeast Asia After 9/11:Constructivism, the ASEAN Way and the War on Terrorism” in Amitav Acharya and Lee24
  45. 45. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila With increasing hard evidences proving the existence ofterrorist cells in the region, political leaders and law enforcementofficials took the threat of terrorism more seriously and adoptedcautious counter-terrorism responses to surmount the threat.Southeast Asian countries became more circumspect on terroristthreats facing the region when RAND Corporation, a US-basedpolicy think-tank, revealed that between 1968 and 1985,Southeast Asia had recorded only 90 international terroristattacks. Between 1986 and 2002, the region suffered 194terrorist attacks, more than double than the previous period.73Thus, governments in the region paid greater attention oncounter terrorism. One of the milestones in Southeast Asian counterterrorism drives was the discovery of JI cells in Singapore. InDecember, 2001, the Singapore Internal Security Department(ISD) arrested 15 persons suspected of planning a series ofbomb attacks. Of the 15 persons arrested, 13 were detained forbeing JI members. The remaining 2 were released. Thedetention of 13 JI members revealed the plot to bomb waterpipelines, radar stations, train stations, the international airportand some government buildings like the Ministry of Defense andMinistry of Education.74 In August, 2002, the ISD arrested another 21 persons,19 of whom were identified as JI members while 2 as membersof the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). According to theSingapore Ministry of Home Affairs, these two major arrests“exposed the most serious direct threat posed by any terroristorganization to Singapore’s security” emanating from JI.75 SinceJI operates in Southeast Asia, it also poses a direct threat toregional security.Lai To (eds), Asia in the New Millennium (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic,2004), pp. 32-55.73 For more details, see RAND, Data Base of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents at <accessed on 10 June, 2009>.74 For detailed discussion on this topic and specific list of targets, see Ministry of HomeAffairs, White Paper: The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism(Singapore: Ministry of Home Affairs, 2003).75 Ibid., p. 2. 25
  46. 46. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Another landmark event in counter terrorism inSoutheast Asia was the 12 October, 2002 Bali Bombings.According to Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, if 9/11 was forthe US and the West, 10/12 was for Indonesia and SoutheastAsia.76 From a state of denial, the Bali Bombings “haveawakened Southeast Asia to the threat of Islamist terrorism.”77 Since the 2002 Bali Bombings, Southeast Asia has beeninvolved in a variety of counter terrorism initiatives to combatthe terrorist threat confronting the region. These initiatives ledto the adoption of various ASEAN declarations and plans ofaction against terrorism culminating with the signing of theASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism in January, 2007.(Table 4) Table 4 Major ASEAN Declarations and Conventions Against Terrorism After 9/11 Title YearASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to 5 November, 2001Counter TerrorismJoint Communiqué of the Special ASEAN 21 May, 2002Ministerial Meeting on TerrorismDeclaration on Terrorism by the 8th 3 November, 2002ASEAN SummitBali Regional Ministerial Meeting on 5 February, 2004Counter TerrorismASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism 13 January, 2007 Source: ASEAN Secretariat, 2009. Aside from regionwide collaboration, ASEAN membersalso pursued bilateral and trilateral cooperation. In fact, ASEANis viewed as complex web of bilateral relations among ten76 Alfonso Yuchengco, “Islamist Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” Issues and Insights, no. 1-03 (Honolulu: Pacific Forum CSIS, January, 2003), p. 1.77 Ibid.26
  47. 47. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-ManilaSoutheast Asian countries. Bilateral meetings of ASEAN heads ofstates “are perceived to be useful to ASEAN and to its regionalobjectives of peace, progress and security” including intra-ASEAN collaboration against international terrorism.78 States inASEAN also have trilateral security arrangements among themlike the Agreement on Information Exchange and Establishmentof Communication Procedures signed by Indonesia, Malaysia andthe Philippines (later joined by Cambodia and Thailand) and theTrilateral Coordinated Patrol Agreement among Malaysia,Singapore, Indonesia (codename MALSINDO) to protect theStraits of Malacca against piracy and terrorism. ASEAN also hasexisting counter terrorism cooperation measures with itsdialogue partners like Australia, China, European Union, India,Japan and the United States.What are the Multidimensional Causes of Terrorism? Terrorism in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere in the world,has complex and dynamic underlying causes. Though poverty(economic marginalization) and ignorance (lack of education orilliteracy) have always been identified as its major causes, thisview is being challenged by some scholars, as there arecountries in the region where poverty and illiteracy abound butterrorist threat is low, if not totally absent. Moreover, the profileof notorious terrorist personalities in Southeast Asia andelsewhere indicated that they were not poor or marginalized ineconomic sense but rather well-to-do, educated and relativelyhad a comfortable life. Thus, pointing at poverty as the root cause of terrorism,though still popular, does not have convincing empirical evidencefrom a strictly scholarly perspective. In fact, a review of existingevidence offers little reason for optimism that poverty reductionor an increase in educational attainment would meaningfullyreduce the threat of international terrorism.79 It is argued that:78 Estrella Solidum, “Bilateral Summitry” in The ASEAN Reader (Singapore: Institute ofSoutheast Asian Studies, 1992), p. 76.79 Alan B. Krueger and Jitka Maleckova, “Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There aCausal Connection? Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 17, no. 4 (Fall, 2003), pp.119–144. 27
  48. 48. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? Any connection between poverty, education and terrorism is indirect, complicated and probably quite weak. Instead of viewing terrorism as a direct response to low market opportunities or ignorance, we suggest it is more accurately viewed as a response to political conditions and long-standing feelings of indignity and frustration that have little to do with economics.80 Although economic marginalization has not provided compelling evidence as the major cause of terrorism, governments in Southeast Asia continue to regard poverty as the root cause of terrorist threats. This view is evident from the greater emphasis of ASEAN states to prioritize regional economic integration rather than regional counter terrorism cooperation. While terrorism may have several causes beyond the issue of poverty, there is a strong belief in the region on the need to pursue development intervention and promote socio- economic reforms in order to ensure that the root causes of terrorism and insurgency are adequately addressed.81 A scholarly study asserts that while poverty as the root of terrorism is under question, a global quantitative analysis of relevant factors indicates that the root causes of terrorism are indeed related to poverty and lack of democracy.82 Political exclusion and concomitant state repression also provide a convincing explanation on the causes of terrorism emanating from Islamist forces in Southeast Asia. This view is gaining adherents among terrorism scholars and experts as this cause is also found throughout the Muslim world. In his study of Islamic violence in the Muslim world, for example, Muhammed Hafez observes: Muslims become violently militant when they encounter exclusionary states that deny them meaningful access to political institutions and80 Ibid.81 Andrew T.H. Tan, “The New Terrorism: How Southeast Asia Can Counter It?” in UweJohannen, Alan Smith and James Gomez (eds), 9/11: September 11 & Political Freedom,Asian Perspectives (Singapore: Select Publishing, Pte., Ltd, 2003), p. 108.82 Timo Kivimäki, “Can Development and Democratization Address the Root Causes ofTerrorism in Southeast Asia?” The Pacific Review, vol. 20, no. 1 (March, 2007), pp. 49-73.28
  49. 49. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila employ indiscriminate repressive policies against their citizens during periods of mass mobilization. Political exclusion and state repression unleash a dynamic of radicalization characterized by exclusive rebel organizations that isolate Islamists from their broader society and foster anti-system ideologies that frame the potentially healthy competition between secularism and Islamism as a mortal struggle between faith and impiety. The cumulative effect of political repression, exclusive organizations and anti-system ideologies is protracted conflicts against secular ruling regimes and ordinary civilians who are perceived as sustaining those regimes.83 Historical factors caused by Western colonialism and the forcible subjugation of Islam in Southeast Asia have also been identified as causes of current Islamist terrorist threats in the region. John T. Sidel’s alternative approach in understanding Islamist threat in Southeast Asia underscores these historical factors when he writes that the intrusions of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, British, French and American empires in Southeast Asia “divided Muslims through the erection of state borders and other barriers that divided them administratively” and “reinforced existing linguistic and cultural differences among them.”84 Legacies of Western colonialism created social and political cleavages in a region already marked by diversities. There is a need to point out that those specific causes of current Islamist terrorist threats in Southeast Asia vary in every country in the region. In Indonesia, for example, which is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, the rise of Islamist terrorism is attributed to the emergence of global jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the fall of the Suharto regime in the 1990s. Though Islam in Indonesia is generally peaceful and tolerant, a83 Muhammed M. Hafez, Why Muslims Rebel: Repression and Resistance in the IslamicWorld (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003), pp. xv-xvi. Quoted in Sidel, The IslamistThreat in Southeast Asia, p. 10.84 Sidel, p. 11. 29
  50. 50. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? militant brand of Islam has penetrated the country through the veterans of the Afghan war who became very active in the country in the Post-Suharto era.85 In the Philippines, on the other hand, radical Muslim terrorism is traced to the four centuries of struggle of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination.86 The threat emanating from the ASG is also traced to the Afghan war. When Muslim resistant groups from the Philippines sent fighters to Afghanistan, they acquired a violent extremist ideology of Al- Qaeda, which also penetrated Muslim radicals in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.85 Noorhaidi Hasan, “Transnational Islam in Indonesia” in Peter Mandaville, FarishNoor, Alexander Horstmann, Dietrich Reetz, Ali Riaz, Animesh Roul, Noorhadi Hasan,Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, Rommel C. Banlaoi and Joseph C. Liow, TransnationalIslam in South and Southeast Asia: Movements, Networks and Conflict Dynamics, p. 123.86 See Rommel C. Banlaoi, “Radical Muslim Terrorism in the Philippines” in AndrewT.H. Tan, Handbook on Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia, pp. 194-224.30
  51. 51. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila CHAPTER II TERRORIST GROUPS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND MODES OF OPERATION The US Department of State listed only two foreignterrorist organizations in Southeast Asia with militant Islamicideology: JI and ASG. Though other academic studies listedother groups, this paper only focuses on the JI and the ASG ascase studies since terrorist activities of these two groupsgenerated greater impact on national, regional and globalsecurity.The Jemaah Islamiyaha) Evolution Though many works have already been written aboutthe JI, there has been no single literature describing its preciseorigin.87 Most studies traced its origin from the Darul Islam (DIor “House of Islam”), a separatist rebel movement organized in1948 in Indonesia by Soekarmadji Maridjan Kartosoewirjo who issaid to have a dream of establishing an Islamic state in thearchipelago (Negara Islam Indonesia or NII). The demise of DIin 1962, as result of vigorous counter rebellion operations by theIndonesian military, prompted its remaining members to hideusing several Islamic schools as cover. In 1972, two DI leaders, Abdullah Sungkar and AbuBakar Bashir, established the Pesantren al-Mu ’min —an Islamicboarding school in Solo, Central Java. This school continued thepropagation of DI ideology, particularly the concept of NII. In1973, the school was transferred to the village of Ngruki toescape police and military surveillance in Solo. It was in Ngruki87 See for example Greg Barton, Jemaah Islamiyah: Radical Islamism in Indonesia(Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2005); Kumar Ramakrishna, Constructing theJemaah Islamiya Terrorist: A Preliminary Inquiry (Singapore: Institute of Defence andStrategic Studies, 2004); International Crisis Group, Jemaah Islamiyah in SoutheastAsia: Damaged But Still Dangerous (Jakarta and Brussels: International Crisis Group,2003); and Barry Desker, “Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Phenomenon in Singapore,”Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 25, no. 3 (December, 2003), pp. 489-407. 31
  52. 52. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They?where the school became popularly known as Pondok Ngruki.88Due to continued persecution of remaining DI members,particularly during the repressive Suharto Regime, Sungkar andBashir fled to Malaysia where the original plan to establish JIwas said to have taken place. These two DI leaders returned toIndonesia after the fall of Suharto in 1998. However, Sungkardied in 1999 and left the leadership to Bashir. Due to hisfanatical adherence to Wahhabi/Salafi ideology of Al-Qaeda,Bashir was regarded as the “Osama bin Laden of SoutheastAsia.”89 Sungkar and Bashir were considered as key JI founders.They were accused by Indonesian intelligence agencies asresponsible for establishing JI ties with Al-Qaeda. However, the evolution of JI as a “terrorist movement”remains obscure to date. Even JI terminologies vary as it issometimes called Jama’ah Islamiyah, Ja’maah Islamiyyah, Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyyah, and Jemaah Islamiah.90 Some scholarsrefer to DI and the Ngruki network as forerunners of JI.91 It maybe argued that JI is the reincarnation of DI in the post-9/11 era. One study reported that Sungkar and Bashir organizedthe JI sometime in 1993-1994.92 Another study mentioned thatJI was founded in 1996.93 There are, therefore, competingclaims on the exact founding of JI. When Sungkar died in 1999,it is argued that Bashir took the helm of JI leadership using theMajelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), a legal Islamic organization,as cover. While heading the MMI, Bashir organized a regionalcoalition of jihadist groups in Southeast Asia called RabitatulMujahidin (RM).88 Peter Chalk and Carl Ungerer, Neighborhood Watch: Evolving Terrorist Threats inSoutheast Asia (Canberra: Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2008), pp. 9-10.89 Banlaoi, War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia, p. 24.90 Singh, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia, p. 51.91 See International Crisis Group, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia: The Case of “NgrukiNetwork” in Indonesia (Jakarta and Brussels: International Crisis Group, 2003).92 Chalk and Ungerer, Neighborhood Watch: Evolving Terrorist Threats in SoutheastAsia, p. 8.93 Hasan, “Transnational Islam in Indonesia,” p. 128.32
  53. 53. Yuchengco Center – De La Salle University-Manila Among scholars writing on JI, Elena Pavlova providedthe most accurate description of the origin of the group. Shewrote that JI was founded on 1 January, 1993 as result offactionalism within DI.94 Its first recorded terrorist attack was thebombing of Medan church on 28 May, 2000. Its involvement interrorist activities prompted Bashir to resign as Amir in 2000.Abu Rusdan, who believed that JI should wage armed Jihad,took over. He masterminded the Medan church bombing in2000, supported by Hambali, Azahari and Noordin Top who allendorsed JI’s terrorist operations.95 Abu Rusdan was eventuallyreplaced by Abu Dujana.96 The Internal Security Department (ISD) of Singaporediscovered the existence of JI in Southeast Asia only after 9/11with the arrest of 15 Muslim militants in December, 2001 andthe arrest of 21 others in August, 2002. These two major arrestsyielded significant information on the JI and its regional network.This information is found in Singapore White Paper on JI.97 Ithas been argued that the Singapore White Paper “missed manyother important developments that eventually led the DIelements” to establish the JI.98b) Organizational Structure There is scholarly difficulty in describing theorganizational structure of JI being a clandestine organization.Its known organization structure is based on the SingaporeWhite Paper. The discovery of a JI document entitled “TheGeneral Guide for the Struggle of Al-Jama’ah Al-IslamiyahPedoman Umum Perjuangan-Al-Jama-ah Al-Islamiya” (PUPJI)also gave insightful information on the origin, organization andideology of JI.94 Elena Pavlova, “Jemaah Islamiah According to PUPJI,” in Tan, Handbook ofTerrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia, p. 76.95 Ibid., p. 77.96 Zachary Abuza, “Abu Dujana: Jemaah Islamiyahs New Al-Qaeda Linked Leader,”Terrorism Focus, vol., 3, issue 13 (4 April, 2006), p. 2.97 Ministry of Home Affairs, The Jemaah Islamiyah Arrests and the Threat of Terrorism,pp. 3-11.98 Singh, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia, p. 62. 33
  54. 54. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective Are They? The Singapore White Paper and PUPJI state that JI isheaded by an Amir who is guided by the members of RegionalShura or the Regional Consultative Council. Below the RegionalShura are four Mantiqis spanning the whole archipelagicSoutheast Asia including Australia and Southern Thailand, to wit:1. First Mantiqi (M1) based in Malaysia, Singapore and Southern Thailand;2. Second Mantiqi (M2) based in the whole of Indonesia (except Sulawesi and Kalimantan) particularly in Solo and Central Java;3. Third Mantiqi (M3) based in Southern Philippines (particularly in Maguindanao), Brunei, Indonesia (particularly Sulawesi and Kalimantan) and Malaysia (particularly in Borneo, Sabah); and4. Fourth Mantiqi (M4) based in Irian Jaya and Australia. Figure 2 depicts the JI Mantiqi structure based on theinterrogation of JI personalities arrested and detained bySingaporean authorities: Figure 2 Mantiqi Structure of Jemaah Islamiyah MANTIQI STUCTURE OF JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH M1 - Malaysia M3- Brunei Singapore East Malaysian States of Sarawak and Sabah Southern Thailand Kalimantan and Sulawesi, Indonesia Southern Philippines M2- Solo Central Java M4- Irian Jaya Whole of Indonesia except Sulawesi and Kalimantan AustraliaSources: Various police and intelligence briefings, 2009.34