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World Islamic State poses a growing threat to Southeast Asia

11:15  19 june  2017
11:15  19 june  2017 Source:   ap.org

Exclusive: U.S. forces join Philippine troops to end city siege

  Exclusive: U.S. forces join Philippine troops to end city siege <p>U.S. special forces are helping the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to end a siege of the southern town of Marawi by militants allied to Islamic State, a U.S. embassy spokesperson in Manila told Reuters on Saturday.</p>The seizure of Marawi by hundreds of fighters who have sworn allegiance to Islamic State, including dozens from neighboring countries and the Middle East, has fueled concern that the ultra-radical group is gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia 's jihadis who fought by the hundreds for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in the Philippines. Military & Defense Contributors. ISIS poses a growing threat to Southeast Asia .

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FILE - In this Friday, June 9, 2017 file photo, debris and smoke rises after a Philippine Air Force fighter jets bombed suspected locations of Muslim militants, in Marawi city, southern Philippines. Southeast Asia’s jihadis who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in southern Philippines. It’s a scenario raising significant alarm in Washington. The recent assault by IS-aligned fighters on the Philippine city of Marawi has left almost 300 people dead, exposing the shortcomings of local security forces and the extremist group’s spreading reach. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)© The Associated Press FILE - In this Friday, June 9, 2017 file photo, debris and smoke rises after a Philippine Air Force fighter jets bombed suspected locations of Muslim militants, in Marawi city, southern Philippines. Southeast Asia’s jihadis who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in southern Philippines. It’s a scenario raising significant alarm in Washington. The recent assault by IS-aligned fighters on the Philippine city of Marawi has left almost 300 people dead, exposing the shortcomings of local security forces and the extremist group’s spreading reach. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

WASHINGTON — Southeast Asia's jihadis who fought by the hundreds for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in the southern Philippines. It's a scenario raising significant alarm in Washington.

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Terrorism and Political Violence: Islamic State Poses a Sustained Threat . Despite the absence of a spectacular attack by Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia in 2017, the jihadist movement and their affiliates pose a sustained threat in the region.

Southeast Asia ’s jihadis who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in southern Philippines. This month, Mattis told the region's defense chiefs that "together we must act now to prevent this threat from growing ."

The recent assault by IS-aligned fighters on the Philippine city of Marawi has left more than 300 people dead, exposing the shortcomings of local security forces and the extremist group's spreading reach in a region where counterterrorism gains are coming undone.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress last week that a long-running U.S. military operation to help Philippine forces contain extremist fighters was canceled prematurely three years ago. Small numbers of U.S. special forces remain in an "advise and assist" role, and the U.S. is providing aerial surveillance to help the Philippines retake Marawi, an inland city of more than 200,000 people.

But lawmakers, including from President Donald Trump's Republican Party, want a bigger U.S. role, short of boots on the ground. They fear the area is becoming a new hub for Islamist fighters from Southeast Asia and beyond.

Singapore detains first woman citizen suspected of Islamist radicalism

  Singapore detains first woman citizen suspected of Islamist radicalism Singapore said on Monday it has detained an assistant child-care worker suspected of trying to join Islamic State and to find a militant husband in Syria, and was holding her under a tough security law that allows for detention without trial. The detention of the first Singaporean woman for suspected Islamist radicalism comes as concern is growing about the spread of Islamic State in the region. Singapore and its neighbors recently began intelligence cooperation aimed at stemming the movement of militants across their borders.

Terrorism and Political Violence: Islamic State Poses a Sustained Threat . Despite the absence of a spectacular attack by Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia in 2017, the jihadist movement and their affiliates pose a sustained threat in the region.

They include the Islamic State 's purported leader in Southeast Asia : Isnilon Hapilon, a Filipino on Washington's list of most-wanted terrorists, with a million bounty on his head. This month, Mattis told the region's defense chiefs that "together we must act now to prevent this threat from growing ."

"I don't know that ISIS are directing operations there but they are certainly trying to get fighters into that region," said Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, using another acronym for the group. "We need to address the situation. It should not get out of control."

U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials note that IS has publicly accepted pledges from various groups in the Philippines. In a June 2016 video, it called on followers in Southeast Asia to go to the Philippines if they cannot reach Syria.

About 40 foreigners, mostly from neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia, have been among 500 involved in fighting in Marawi, the Philippine military says. Reports indicate at least one Saudi, a Chechen and a Yemeni were killed. In all, more than 200 militants have died in the standoff, now in its fourth week.

Video obtained by The Associated Press from the Philippine military indicates an alliance of local Muslim fighters, aligned with IS, is coordinating complex attacks. They include the Islamic State's purported leader in Southeast Asia: Isnilon Hapilon, a Filipino on Washington's list of most-wanted terrorists, with a $5 million bounty on his head.

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  Pentagon chief declares North Korea the new top threat to U.S. security The statement comes five months after Jim Mattis identified Russia as first among threats facing the United States. The change comes as Pyongyang moves forward with what the United States calls an unprecedented number of tests on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and as the Trump administration’s connections to Russia are scrutinized by the FBI.Subscribe to the Post’s Today's Headlines newsletter: All the top stories of the day - local, national and global.“North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them has increased in pace and scope,” Mattis said.

Facing a growing threat from ISIS-linked militants, Southeast Asian states must perfect their counterterror policies. Interview: Zachary Abuza on ISIS in Asia . A closer look at the threat Islamic State poses to the Asia -Pacific.

State threat to Europe, the increasingly fertile ground for jihadi expansion in Southeast Asia means the Islamic State may pose as big a future threat to the Islamic State to the Taliban.s The ethnic and sectarian conflict in Myanmar has already spilled over into Bangladesh, and there are growing

U.S. officials are assessing whether any of the estimated 1,000 Southeast Asians who traveled to Iraq and Syria in recent years are fighting in Catholic-majority Philippines. They fear ungoverned areas in the mostly Muslim region around Marawi could make the area a terror hub, as in the 1990s.

Then, the Philippines was a base of operations for al-Qaida leaders like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef, who plotted in 1994-95 to blow up airliners over the Pacific. The plot was foiled. But the same men were instrumental in the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Other nations share the fear. Singapore recently warned of IS exerting a radicalizing influence "well beyond" what al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah ever mustered. Jemaah Islamiyah carried out major terror attacks around the region in the 2000s. IS already has been linked to attacks in Indonesia and Malaysia, and foiled plots in Singapore, this past year.

This month, Mattis told the region's defense chiefs that "together we must act now to prevent this threat from growing." In Congress this past week, he stressed intelligence sharing and nations like Singapore sharing the burden, rather than deploying U.S. troops.

Islamic State calls for attacks in West, Russia, Middle East, Asia during Ramadan

  Islamic State calls for attacks in West, Russia, Middle East, Asia during Ramadan An audio message purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State called on followers to launch attacks in the United States, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the Philippines during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began in late May. The audio clip was distributed on Monday on Islamic State's channel on Telegram, an encrypted messaging application. It was attributed to the militant group's official spokesman, Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer.The authenticity of the recording could not be independently verified, but the voice was the same as a previous audio message purported to be from the spokesman.

www.businessinsider.com/ap- islamic - state - poses - a - growing - threat - to - southeast - asia -2017-6). The Islamic State will not easily give up without a fight and they will try to bring as many as they can The Islamic State isn’t giving up that easily, so the war drags on and the government will do its best

Over 1,000 Southeast Asians have flocked to join Islamic State 's self-declared "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. By Reuters. SINGAPORE: The threat that violent extremist groups pose to Southeast Asia is growing each year as they become more organized and focused in their aims, Singapore Defense

More than 500 U.S. special forces were based in the Mindanao region from 2002 to 2014, advising and training Filipino forces against the Abu Sayyaf, a group notorious for bombings and kidnappings. When it ended, Philippine and U.S. officials voiced concern the U.S. withdrawal "could lead to a resurgence of a renewed terrorist threat," the RAND Corp. later reported. Months before the withdrawal, Abu Sayyaf pledged support to IS.

Supporting the Philippines isn't straightforward in Washington. President Rodrigo Duterte is accused of overlooking and even condoning indiscriminate killings by his forces in a war on drugs. Thousands have died. But that campaign has involved mainly police and anti-narcotic forces, not the military leading the anti-IS fight.

Still, the Philippine government is partly to blame for Marawi's violence, said Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asia expert at the National War College. He said the root cause was the government's failure to fulfill a 2014 peace agreement with the nation's largest Muslim insurgency, which fueled recruitment for IS-inspired groups.

Ernst, who chairs a Senate panel on emerging threats, wants the U.S. military to restart a higher-profile, "named operation" helping the Philippines counter IS. The Pentagon retains between 50 and 100 special forces in the region. At the request of the Philippine military, it has deployed a P3 Orion plane to surveil Marawi. It gave more than 600 assault firearms to Filipino counterterrorism forces last week.

Duterte has retreated from threats to expel U.S. forces from the Philippines as he seeks better ties with China. He said recently he hadn't sought more U.S. help, but was thankful for what he was getting.

"They're there to save lives," Duterte said.

____

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann in Washington and Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

U.S. will take weapons from Kurds after Islamic State defeat: Turkey .
The United States has told Turkey it will take back weapons supplied to the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State, Ankara said on Thursday, seeking to address Turkish concerns about arming Kurds on its border. The Highest Paying Cash Back Cards Available Today See The Best Cash Back Cards Sponsored by CreditCards.com Turkish defense ministry sources said U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also promised his Turkish counterpart to provide a monthly list of weapons handed to the YPG, saying the first inventory had already been sent to Ankara.

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