Since September 2001, the United States has increased focus on radical Islamist and terrorist groups in Southeast Asia, particularly those in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Southeast Asia has been a base for terrorist operations. Al Qaeda penetrated the region by establishing local cells, training Southeast Asians in its camps in Afghanistan, and by financing and cooperating with indigenous radical Islamist groups. Indonesia and the southern Philippines have been particularly vulnerable to penetration by Islamic terrorist groups.
Members of one indigenous network, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which has had extensive ties to Al Qaeda, helped two of the September 11, 2001 hijackers and have confessed to plotting and carrying out attacks against Western targets. These include the deadliest terrorist attack since September 2001: the October 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia, that killed approximately 200 people, mostly Westerners. Since the Bali bombing in 2002, crackdowns by various governments in the region—encouraged and in some cases supported by the U.S. government and military— are believed to have weakened JI to such an extent that it essentially is no longer a regional organization, but rather is one confined to Indonesia, with some individuals still operating in the southern Philippines. The degrading of JI’s leadership structure is believed to have altered the group’s strategy. More violent, anti-Western JI members have formed breakaway cells. In September 2009, Indonesian authorities claimed they had killed the leader of one such cell, Noordin Mohammed Top. Noordin is believed to have been responsible for organizing the near simultaneous July 17, 2009 bombings of the J.W. Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta. The bombings were the first successful anti-Western terrorist attack in Indonesia in four years. Their sophistication triggered speculation that Al Qaeda had renewed ties with Top.
To combat the threat, the U.S. has pressed countries in the region to arrest suspected terrorist individuals and organizations, funded and trained Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorist unit, and deployed troops to the southern Philippines to advise the Philippine military in their fight against the violent Abu Sayyaf Group. It has also launched a Regional Maritime Security Initiative to enhance security in the Straits of Malacca, increased intelligence sharing operations, restarted military-military relations with Indonesia, and provided or requested from Congress substantial aid for Indonesia and the Philippines. Also, since 2001, Thailand and the United States have substantially increased their anti-terrorism cooperation.
The responses of countries in the region to both the threat and to the U.S. reaction generally have varied with the intensity of their concerns about the threat to their own stability and domestic politics. In general, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines were quick to crack down on militant groups and share intelligence with the United States and Australia, whereas Indonesia began to do so only after attacks or arrests revealed the severity of the threat to its citizens. Since that time, Indonesian authorities have been aggressive in their pursuit of terrorists and extremist groups. Many governments view increased American pressure and military presence in their region with ambivalence because of the political sensitivity of the issue with both mainstream Islamic and secular nationalist groups. The Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand has escalated in recent years as has terrorist activity in southern areas of the Philippines.
The report looks at the rise of Islamist militancy and the JI network, and discusses terrorism in the region, concluding with options for U.S. policy. Strategies include placing greater emphasis on attacking institutions that support terrorism, building up regional governments’ capacities for combating terrorist groups, and reducing the sense of alienation among Muslim citizens.
While there has been significant anti-Western terrorist activity in Southeast Asia, counter-terror measures in recent years appear to have significantly degraded anti-Western terrorist groups’ ability to launch attacks against Western targets in the region. U.S. attention in the region has been focused on radical Islamist groups, particularly the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist network, that are known or alleged to have ties to the Al Qaeda network. Many of these groups threaten the status quo of the region by seeking to create independent Islamic states in majority-Muslim areas, overthrow existing secular governments, and/or establish a new supra-national Islamic state encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines, and southern Thailand. In pursuit of these objectives, they have planned and carried out violent attacks against American and other Western targets as well as against Southeast Asian targets.
Additionally, Al Qaeda used its Southeast Asia cells to help organize and finance its global activities—including the September 11 attacks—and to provide safe harbor to Al Qaeda operatives, such as the convicted organizer of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Ramzi Yousef.1 Years of surveillance, arrests, and killings of JI members by various states are believed to have seriously weakened the organization, degrading its command, communication, and fundraising structures to the point where many analysts believe it operates almost exclusively in Indonesia, with a number of operatives also active in Mindanao Philippines.
Combating anti-American terrorism in Southeast Asia presents the Obama Administration and Congress with a delicate foreign policy problem, though not of the highest priority given U.S. engagement in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Most regional governments feel threatened by home-grown or imported Islamic militant groups and therefore have ample incentive to cooperate with the U.S. antiterrorist campaign. Despite mutual interests in combating terrorism, Southeast Asian governments have to balance these security concerns with domestic political considerations. Although proponents of violent, radical Islam remain a very small minority in Southeast Asia, many governments view increased American pressure and military presence in their region with concern because of the political sensitivity of the issue with both mainstream Islamic and secular nationalist groups. The rise in anti-American sentiment propelled by both the U.S.-led invasion of and presence in Iraq and many Southeast Asian Muslims’ perceptions of America’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “blatantly pro-Israel” makes it even more difficult for most governments to countenance an overt U.S. role in their internal security.2 A U.S. foreign policy challenge is to find a way to confront the terrorist elements without turning them into heroes or martyrs in the broader Southeast Asian Islamic community. Furthermore, any evidence of continued activities of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah will require a coordinated, international response in a region where multinational institutions and cooperation are weak.
Southeast Asia has been the home of indigenous Islamic militant groups for decades. Traditionally, the linkages among these groups were relatively weak, and most operated only in their own country or islands, focusing on domestic issues such as promoting the adoption of Islamic law (sharia) and seeking independence from central government control.
The emergence of radical Islamic movements in Southeast Asia in the 1990s can be traced to the conjunction of several phenomena. Among these were reaction to globalization – which has been particularly associated with the United States in the minds of regional elites – frustration with repression by secularist governments, the desire to create a pan-Islamic Southeast Asia, reaction to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the arrival of terrorist veterans of years of fighting in Afghanistan.
Southeast Asian terrorist and militant groups can be placed on a spectrum that spans the relatively narrow goals and objectives of the separatist Muslims in Southern Thailand or Southern Philippines to the global anti-Western agenda of Al Qaeda. In between can be placed groups such as JI, that have an internal debate over the relative emphasis on achieving an Islamist agenda within individual states as opposed to focusing their fight directly against Western targets. These groups, as well as others such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, will be explored in greater detail below.
The Rise of Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia
Beginning in the early-to-mid 1990s the Al Qaeda terrorist network made significant inroads into the Southeast Asia region. Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian operatives—who have been primarily of Middle Eastern origin—appear to have performed three primary tasks. First, they set up local cells, predominantly headed by Arab members of Al Qaeda, that served as regional offices supporting the network’s global operations. These cells have exploited the region’s generally loose border controls to hold meetings in Southeast Asia to plan attacks against Western targets, host operatives transiting through Southeast Asia, and provide safe haven for other operatives fleeing U.S. intelligence services. Al Qaeda’s Manila cell, which was founded in the early 1990s by a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was particularly active in the early-mid-1990s. Under the leadership of Ramzi Yousef, who fled to Manila after coordinating the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the cell plotted to blow up 11 airliners in a two-day period (what was known as the “Bojinka” plot), crash a hijacked airliner into the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters, and assassinate the Pope during his visit to the Philippines in early 1995.
Yousef was assisted in Manila for a time by his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks.3 In the late 1990s, the locus of Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asia activity appears to have moved to Malaysia, Singapore, and—most recently—Indonesia. In 1999 and 2000, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were the sites for important strategy meetings among some of the September 11 plotters.4 Al Qaeda’s leadership also has taken advantage of Southeast Asia’s generally loose financial controls to use various countries in the region as places to raise, transmit, and launder the network’s funds. By 2002, according to expert opinion on Al Qaeda, roughly one-fifth of Al Qaeda’s organizational strength was centered in Southeast Asia.5
Second, over time, Al Qaeda Southeast Asian operatives helped create what may be Southeast Asia’s first indigenous regional terrorist network, Jemaah Islamiyah, which has plotted attacks against Western targets. Jemaah Islamiyah is believed to have carried out the October 12, 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia, that killed approximately 200 people, mostly Western tourists. Although JI does not appear to be subordinate to Al Qaeda, the two networks have cooperated extensively.
Third, Al Qaeda’s local cells worked to cooperate with indigenous radical Islamic groups by providing them with money and training. Until it was broken up in the mid-1990s, Al Qaeda’s Manila cell provided extensive financial assistance to Moro militants such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Thousands of militants have reportedly been trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan or in the camps of Filipino, Indonesian, and Malaysian groups that opened their doors to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda reportedly provided funds and trainers for camps operated by local groups in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Indonesian intelligence officials also accuse Al Qaeda of sending fighters to participate in and foment the Muslim attacks on Christians in the Malukus and on Sulawesi that began in 2000.6 Al Qaeda operatives’ task was made easier by several factors including the withdrawal of foreign state sponsors, most notably Libya, that had supported some local groups in the 1970s and 1980s; the personal relationships that had been established during the 1980s, when many Southeast Asian radicals had fought as mujahideen in Afghanistan; and weak central government control. Other factors included endemic corruption, porous borders, minimal visa requirements, extensive networks of Islamic charities, and lax financial controls of some countries, most notably Indonesia and the Philippines.7
Over time, Al Qaeda’s presence in the region has had the effect of professionalizing local groups and forging ties among them—and between them and Al Qaeda—so that they can better cooperate. In many cases, this cooperation has taken the form of ad hoc arrangements of convenience, such as helping procure weapons and explosives.
The Jemaah Islamiyah Network
In the weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the full extent of the pan-Asian terrorist network with extensive links to Al Qaeda was uncovered. The network, known as Jemaah Islamiyah (Islamic Group), was discovered to have cells in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as well as in Australia and Pakistan. Since the Bali bombing in 2002, which JI is suspected of carrying out, crackdowns by various governments in the region are believed to have severely weakened the organization.
Arrests and killings by Indonesian authorities in 2007 are thought to have been particularly effective, as was the reported 2009 killing of Noordin Mohammed Top. Some analysts now believe JI is no longer a regional organization, in that its administrative structure appears to be confined to Indonesia. Even there, JI apparently was unable to muster forces to combat a January 2007 crackdown by police in the Central Sulawesi district of Poso that appears to have driven JI from the area. JI’s links to Al Qaeda reportedly have withered. Most analysts caution, however, that individual JI members remain scattered across the region, are highly trained, and are capable of carrying out acts of violence. Additionally, JI’s more moderate factions appear to have refocused on grass-roots education, indoctrination, and other activities they feel are better suited to their long-term goal of instituting sharia law in Indonesia.8 Therefore, JI’s activities in the medium to long term bear watching.
JI’s goals have ranged from establishing an Islamic regime in Indonesia, to establishing an Islamic caliphate over Muslim regions of Southeast Asia and northern Australia, to waging jihad against the West. Until the more militant factions either were eliminated or broke away from the organization in the 2005-2007 period, there appears to have been considerable debate within the organization about which of these goals to pursue and prioritize, with different JI factions preferring different objectives. Jemaah Islamiyah leaders have formed alliances with other militant Islamist groups to share resources for training, arms procurement, financial assistance, and to promote cooperation in carrying out attacks.
Indeed, there is some evidence that such cooperation increased after 2002, when arrests and other counterterror actions began to take its toll on JI, forcing it to adapt and form closer working relationships with other groups. Within Indonesia, some in the network have created and/or trained local radical Islamist groups that have been involved in sectarian conflict in the country’s outer islands. Additionally, there is considerable evidence that JI has engaged in joint operations and training with Filipino groups. For a time, JI’s main partner in the Philippines reportedly was the separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). There is growing cooperation among the Abu Sayyaf Group, several major MILF commands, and elements of JI on Mindanao.
According to a 2009 International Crisis Group report, some JI members appear to have made Mindanao a primary base of operations. Others are reportedly working with Abu Sayyaf in Jolo.9 In October 2002, the United States designated JI as a foreign terrorist organization. Thereafter, the United Nations Security Council added the network to its own list of terrorist groups, a move requiring all U.N. members to freeze the organization’s assets, deny it access to funding, and prevent its members from entering or traveling through their territories. Since December 2001, over 250 suspected and admitted JI members, including a number of key leaders, have been arrested. Many of these arrests are credited to more extensive intelligence sharing among national police forces.
History of Jemaah Islamiyah
The origins of the Jemaah Islamiyah network stretch back to the 1960s, when its co-founders, clerics Abu Bakar Baasyir and Abdullah Sungkar, began demanding the establishment of sharia law in Indonesia. The two considered themselves the ideological heirs of the founder of the Darul Islam movement, the Muslim guerilla force that during the 1940s fought both imperial Dutch troops and the secularist Indonesian forces of Sukarno, Indonesia’s founding President who ruled from 1950 to 1965. In the 1970s, the two men established Al Mukmin, a boarding school in Solo, on the main island of Java, that preached the puritanical Wahhabi interpretation of Islam founded and propagated in Saudi Arabia. Many suspected JI activists who have been arrested are Al Mukmin alums. In 1985, Baasyir and Sungkar fled to Malaysia, where they set up a base of operations and helped send Indonesians and Malaysians to Afghanistan, first to fight the Soviets and later to train in Al Qaeda camps. Sungkar and Baasyir formed JI in 1993 or 1994, and steadily began setting up a sophisticated organizational structure and actively planning and recruiting for terrorism in Southeast Asia. Sometime in the mid-1990s, Sungkar and Baasyir apparently began to actively coordinate with Al Qaeda.
The fall of Indonesia’s Suharto regime in 1998 provided a major boost to JI.10 Almost overnight, formerly restricted Muslim groups from across the spectrum were able to operate. Baasyir and Sungkar returned to Solo, preaching and organizing in relative openness there. Simultaneously, Jakarta’s ability to maintain order in Indonesia’s outer islands decreased dramatically, and long repressed tensions between Muslims and Christians began to erupt. In 1999 and 2000, the outbreak of sectarian violence in Ambon (in the Malukus) and Poso (on Sulawesi) provided JI with critical opportunities to recruit, train, and fund local mujahideen fighters to participate in the sectarian conflict, in which hundreds died.11 After the violence ebbed, many of these jihadis became active members in Baasyir’s network. In 2000, the network carried out bombings in Jakarta, Manila, and Thailand.
Jemaah Islamiyah’s Relationship to Al Qaeda
There has been considerable debate over the relationship between Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda. Although many analysts at first assumed that JI is Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate, reports—including leaks from interrogations of captured JI and Al Qaeda operatives—have shown that the two groups are discrete organizations with differing, though often overlapping, agendas.12 Whereas Al Qaeda’s focus is global and definitively targets the West, Jemaah Islamiyah is focused on radicalizing Muslim Southeast Asia (starting with Indonesia) and some JI leaders are said to feel that attacking Western targets will undermine this goal. After the arrests, deaths, defections, and/or marginalization of more militant members in the middle part of the decade, JI’s known links to Al Qaeda reportedly have dwindled to almost nothing.13
That said, the two networks have developed a highly symbiotic relationship. There is reportedly some overlap in membership. They have shared training camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mindanao. Al Qaeda has provided JI with considerable financial support.14 They shared personnel, such as when JI sent an operative with scientific expertise to Afghanistan to try to develop an anthrax program for Al Qaeda.15 The two networks have jointly planned operations – including the September 11 attacks – and reportedly have conducted attacks in Southeast Asia jointly.16 Often, these operations took the form of Al Qaeda’s providing funding and technical expertise, while JI procured local materials (such as bomb-making materials) and located operatives.17 Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, appears to have been a critical coordinator in these joint operations, and his arrest in 2003 may have curtailed JI-Al Qaeda cooperation, which according to one prominent expert, Sidney Jones, was closest between 1997 and 2002.18 The sophistication of the simultaneous July 2009 hotel bombings in Jakarta triggered speculation that Al Qaeda had renewed ties with some Indonesian radicals, particularly the cell led by Noordin Mohammed Top. Noordin’s death has raised hopes that these links may again wither.
Jemaah Islamiyah’s Size and Structure
The total number of core Jemaah Islamiyah members at its peak was estimated to range from 500 to several thousand.19 Its influence transcends these numbers, however. Many more men have been educated at JI-run pesantrens (religious boarding schools), where Baasyir’s and Sungkar’s radical interpretation of Islam is taught. JI also has avidly sought out alliances—which at times have been ad hoc—with a loose network of like-minded organizations, and JI-run training camps have upgraded the military skills and ideological fervor of smaller, localized groups.
Interrogations of Jemaah Islamiyah members have revealed a highly formalized command structure, at least during the early part of the decade. JI was led in 2000-2001 by a five-member Regional Advisory Council chaired by Hambali. Baasyir and Sungkar served as spiritual advisors.
Beneath the council were several functional committees and four mantiqis (loosely translated as regional brigades) that were defined not only by geography but also by functional roles, including fundraising, religious indoctrination, military training, and weapons procurement. Each mantiqi, in turn, was subdivided into at least three additional layers: battalions, platoons, and squads.20
However, in practice, even at its peak JI appeared to function in a much less centralized fashion than this structure might imply. The network’s goal of developing indigenous jihadis meant that JI members often have worked with and/or created local groups outside its control. It often is difficult to sort out the overlap among JI and other radical groups. Additionally, regional leaders appear to have had a fair amount of autonomy, and by necessity many of the individual cells were compartmentalized from one another. The arrest of many if not most of JI’s top leaders appears to have accentuated these decentralized tendencies by disrupting the network’s command and control structure.
Finally, JI’s structure has expanded and contracted in response to internal and external developments. Indonesia expert Sidney Jones has written that since 2002, a more flexible structure, “better suited for an organization under siege,” undoubtedly has evolved.21 Many analysts believe that years of arrests have weakened JI to such an extent that it essentially is no longer a regional organization, but rather is one confined to Indonesia, with some individuals still operating in the southern Philippines. The degrading of JI’s leadership structure is believed to have led to the sprouting of splinter, semi-independent cells many of which have competing agendas.22 Noordin Mohammad Top, the suspected mastermind of the 2005 and 2009 Jakarta hotel bombings as well as the 2005 Bali terrorist attack, is believed to have led such a faction that is thought to include dozens of current and former JI members, as well as individuals who have no known affiliation with JI. In September 2009, Indonesian police claimed they killed Top in a raid in Central Java.
The breakdown of JI’s hierarchy also may have been exacerbated by tensions between two factions over the best means for waging jihad, though it is unclear whether the differences are over tactics or overall strategy. The Singapore-Malaysia mantiqi, led by Hambali until his capture, was interested in focusing on a broader anti-Western agenda similar to al Qaeda, and in effecting change in the near term. Surveillance, arrests, and executions of this group’s members and key leaders are believed to have seriously weakened this faction. Noordin derived from this group.23
Opposing this faction is a majority group within JI, depicted as the “bureaucrats,” that sees the anti-western focused militants’ tactics as undermining its preferred, longer-term strategy of building up military capacity and using religious proselytization to create a mass base sufficient to support an Islamic revolution in the future.24 Likewise, there appears to be divisions among JI members about geographic objectives, with some seeking to establish a Islamic state in Southeast Asia and others focused solely on establishing an Islamic state in Indonesia.25 The implication is that JI may not be as monolithic as commonly assumed.26
Jemaah Islamiyah first came to public attention in December 2001, when Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) raided two Singapore cells for plotting bombing attacks against American, Australian, British, and Israeli installations and citizens in Singapore. A video tape subsequently found by U.S. forces in Afghanistan confirmed Al Qaeda’s involvement in the plot. Follow-on arrests netted plotters in Malaysia and the Philippines. The JI cell in Malaysia reportedly coordinated the plot, including the procurement of bomb-making materials, preparing forged travel documents, and communications with Al Qaeda.
Subsequent investigation and arrests led the FBI to link Jemaah Islamiyah to the September 11 attack on the United States. Two of the September 11 hijackers and Zacarias Moussaoui, who pled guilty in April 2005 to U.S. charges of involvement in the September 11 plot, visited Malaysia and met with cell members in 2000. Additionally, the FBI claims that Malaysian cell members provided Moussaoui with $35,000 and a business reference.
In June 2002, the Indonesian police arrested a suspected Al Qaeda leader, Kuwaiti national Omar Al-Farouq, at the request of the CIA and turned him over to the U.S. military. After three months of interrogation, Al-Farouq reportedly confessed that he was Al Qaeda’s senior representative in Southeast Asia and disclosed plans for other terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region.
These included a joint Al Qaeda/JI plan to conduct simultaneous car/truck bomb attacks against U.S. interests in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Cambodia around the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks.27 On the basis of this and other information, in September 2002, the Bush Administration closed U.S. embassies in several countries for several days and raised the overall U.S. threat level from “elevated” (yellow) to “high” (orange). Under interrogation, Al-Farouq reportedly identified Baasyir as the spiritual leader of JI and one of the organizers of the planned September 2002 attacks. In July 2005, Al-Farouq and other suspected Al Qaeda members escaped from a U.S. military detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan. In September 2006, he was killed in Basra, Iraq, during a shootout with British troops.28
Source: This article is an edited portion of a much larger October 16, 2009 report titled “Terrorism in Southeast Asia” and prepared for by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and which may be found on the Open CRS site here (PDF).
1 For the purposes of this report, Islamic refers to that which pertains to Islam in general while the term Islamist connotes a concept that advocates a more strict interpretation of Islam and a willingness to push a political and social agenda to implement Islamic law. Distinctions are also drawn between those radicals and extremists who would advocate an Islamist agenda through the political process and those terrorists and militants who would also use violence, or the threat of violence, to promote such a cause.
2 Daljit Singh,”The Terrorist Threat in Southeast Asia,” in Russell Heng and Denis Hew, eds., Regional Outlook, 2003-2004 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003).
3 Filipino police discovered the Bojinka plot, which was in the final stages, in January 1995 only because a fire broke out in Yousef’s apartment, filling it with poisonous gas from the bomb-making chemicals. Yousef fled to Malaysia, was arrested in Pakistan, and extradited to the United States, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1993 bombing and the Bojinka plot. See The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 147-148.
4 For examples of how the September 11 plot organizers traveled relatively freely throughout Southeast Asia to hold meetings and observe flight and airline employees’ patterns, see The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 156-160.
5 Report to the UN Security Council by the Security Council Monitoring Group, ‘1267’ Committee, Security Council Report S/2003/669, July 7, 2003, p. 15.
6 Zachary Abuza, “Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” in Strategic Asia 2002-2003 (Seattle, WA: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2003).
7 Zachary Abuza, Militant Islam in Southeast Asia: Crucible of Terror (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003).
8 “Southeast Asia,” Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment, March 5, 2008; International Crisis Group, “Indonesia: Tackling Radicalism in Poso,” Policy Briefing, Asia Briefing N°75, 22 January 22, 2008; Eric Schmitt, “Southeast Asia Sees Gains against Insurgencies,” International Herald Tribune, June 9, 2008; Greg Sheridan, “Jakarta’s Terrorist Rehab,” The Australian, May 31, 2008.
9 Indonesia: The Hotel Bombings, International Crisis Group, Policy Briefing, Asia Briefing N°94, July 24, 2009.
10 For more information on Indonesia see CRS Report RL32394, Indonesia: Domestic Politics, Strategic Dynamics, and American Interests, by Bruce Vaughn.
11 Sidney Jones, “Indonesia Backgrounder: Jihad in Central Sulawesi,” International Crisis Group Report No74, February 3, 2004.
12 Zachary Abuza, “Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah,” NBR Analysis, December 2003, pp. 11-12; The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 150-152.
13 Eric Schmitt, “Southeast Asia Sees Gains against Insurgencies,” International Herald Tribune, June 9, 2008.
14 Sidney Jones, “Jemaah Islamiyah in South East Asia: Damaged but Still Dangerous,” International Crisis Group Report No 63, August 26, 2003, p. 1; Abuza, “Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” p. 9.
15 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 151. Yazid Sufaat is the individual JI sent to Kandahar.
16 Al Qaeda and JI leaders met in Southeast Asia for at least two critical meetings: One in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, during which plans for the attack on the USS Cole and the September 11 hijackings were discussed. The other occurred in Bangkok in January 2002, during which an Al Qaeda representative reportedly sat in on the planning of the Bali bombings.
17 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 151.
18 Sidney Jones, “The Changing Nature of Jemaah Islamiya,” Australian Journal of International Affairs, June 2005.
19 Zachary Abuza, “The War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia,” in Strategic Asia 2003-04, (Seattle, WA: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2003), p. 333; Jones, “Jemaah Islamiyah in South East Asia,” p. ii.
20 Jones, “Jemaah Islamiyah in South East Asia,” pp. 27-28.
21 Jones, “The Changing Nature of Jemaah Islamiya,” p. 170.
22 “Singapore Arrests Fugitive JI Suspect,” Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report, May 8, 2009; Indonesia: The Hotel Bombings, International Crisis Group, Policy Briefing, Asia Briefing N°94, July 24, 2009.
23 Sidney Jones, “Noordin’s Dangerous Liaisons,” Tempo, August 9, 2009.
24 Jones, “Jihad in Central Sulawesi,” pp. 24-25. The 9/11 Commission Report (note 26 on p.490) notes that during his interrogation, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that Baasyir criticized Hambali for focusing too heavily on Al Qaeda’s broader, global agenda at the expense of accomplishing JI’s aims in Indonesia and Malaysia.
25 Jones, “The Changing Nature of Jemaah Islamiya,” pp. 171-172.
26 International Crisis Group, Jihadism in Indonesia, Asia Report 127, January 24, 2007.
27 Romesh Ratnesar, “Confessions of an Al-Qaeda Terrorist,” Time, September 23, 2002.
28 Eric Schmidt and Time Golden, “Details Emerge on a Brazen Escape in Afghanistan,” New York Times, December 4, 2005; “Profile: Omar al-Farouq,” BBC News, September 26, 2006.
About the author: CRS
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