The big read: Jemaah Islamiyah comes out of the shadows and plays the long game



It also remains to be seen whether the PDRI is indeed a front of the OMC, or is it only characterized as such because it takes a different Islamist position than the current government, he said.

“Ideologically, if you’re a layman, you could look at those who put forward an Islamist narrative and say, well, these guys are all kind of the same group. So I would wonder a bit if that’s really what’s going on here, ”he added.


Either way, the resurgence of the MOC regional network is a matter of serious concern for Singapore, given the history of the country’s targeting group and its ties to the United States.

ISD spokesman said JI’s return “will directly increase the threat of an attack on Singapore and our interests.”

“In particular, Singapore continues to be seen as a popular target for the OMC. Singapore and our interests have resurfaced in OMC-related attack plans over the past decade, ”ISD said.

For example, in 2010, Indonesian authorities discovered a map of Singapore’s MRT network – with the Orchard MRT station circled – and a street map of Orchard Road, in the possession of a suspected OMC-linked terrorist who was involved in an activist led by the MOC. training camp in Aceh, Indonesia.

Separately, in 2011, Indonesian authorities also uncovered a plot by an activist affiliated with JI to attack Singaporeans leaving the Singaporean embassy in Jakarta.

While the gentler JI tactics in recent years may have relieved the authorities a bit, the reality is that the region’s counterterrorism forces have not taken their eyes off the JI entirely, although other Islamist extremist groups in the more violent tendencies take precedence.

The ISD spokesperson added: “In view of the serious long-term security threat that the OMC poses to Singapore, the ISD continues to closely monitor the MOC regional network and cooperates with our overseas counterparts. through regular intelligence exchanges to counter the OMC threat.

Para Wijayanto was arrested in 2019 by Indonesian police, who continued to catch JI operatives involved in other non-military fronts, such as funding and religious outreach.

Despite JI’s tactics to present a gentler face, experts said the militant group had not really strayed from its doctrine of committing violence against governments and secular citizens, as well as against Western interests in it. the region.

Mr. Adhe noted that although Para Wijayanto’s Neo-JI appears to have abolished its military wing, the “askari”, from its formal structure, the group still maintains its ability to commit violence by sending personnel to the areas of. conflict to continue their training.

From 2013 to early 2018, dozens of JI members who served in this wing were successfully dispatched to train in Syria with its affiliate the Al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda ally, a. -he declares.

“The violence they still maintain is still justified as an obligation by religion. In politics they seem to disengage from violence, but culturally they always prepare… in case Muslims are attacked by enemies, ”Mr. Adhe said.

Mr Pantucci said that as long as the authorities continue to keep the pressure on JI, as it does today, the group will continue to lose its relevance.

“What is concerning is that the OMC is an organization which has not disappeared, but at the same time it appears to be considerably degraded due to effective deterrence,” he said.

“The group hasn’t launched an attack for a very long time now, and instead what we see today is a series of arrests of important people in the OMC in increasing numbers, and I would say the OMC is the shadow of itself. “

Assoc Prof Tan agreed that Indonesian authorities were taking no chances, arresting Abu Rusdan, who is JI’s public face, in September.

He said, “Indonesia is demonstrating the importance of sustaining counterterrorism operations and surveillance to proactively deal with the continuing militant threat – something we can all learn from. “

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