The problem of terrorism is far from new for the countries of Southeast Asia. In the early 2000s, the legal and institutional framework was created for its solution. The use of predominantly hard methods allowed countries to succeed in defeating the terrorist underground. However, the situation sharply worsened with the advent of ISIS and the spread of its influence in the region, which leads to activation of its supporters. The methods of combating terrorism, tested for decades, were not enough to counter the growing threat. The ongoing changes in the social composition and structure of terrorism have required the adjustment of counter-terrorism policies – reinforcing its legal base and strengthening its humanitarian component. An analysis of successes and failures of this policy in relation to the four Southeast Asian countries facing the threat of Islamic terrorism (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines) is the subject of this study. The article notes that the need for preventive measures is dictated by the process of radicalization of part of the Muslim population falling under the ideological influence of ISIS. Radicalization, as the author notes, occurs in different ways: through the Internet; acquaintance with Islamic propaganda literature and materials of ISIS; attending sermons of radical imams; studying in religious and secular educational institutions; in prisons; within a family or a clan. The fight against the spread of extremist ideology is the most difficult task facing the countries of the region today and requiring an integrated approach to its solution in cooperation with the Muslim community, civil society and business. The modern strategy of the fight against terrorism, aimed at narrowing its social base, includes the implementation of a set of measures – promoting deradicalization programs, counter-propaganda of the radical Islamism ideology, work with youth, etc. In the sum, the author concludes that, although the Southeast Asian countries have managed to avoid large-scale terrorist attacks, the situation may worsen at any time, which was confirmed by the events in the southern Philippines in 2017. The main thing for the Philippines in counter-terrorism remains the implementation of measures to improve the political and socio-economic position of the local population. Indonesia, in turn, faces great difficulties in the fight against terrorism, which cannot be overcome only by strengthening the powers of counter-terrorist agencies. Even deradicalization programs will not give the expected effect in a situation when the process of Islamization of the country accelerates. This problem also threatens Malaysia whose success in counter-terrorist activities can be minimized amid the politicization of Islam, which creates a breeding ground for the radicalization of part of the Muslim population, especially young people. The most important thing in the fight against terrorism, as the experience of Singapore shows, is mobilization of the whole society, close interaction of the state and population.
Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, terrorism, radical Islamism, ISIS, radicalization
1. Faris Mokhtar. Battered in the Middle East, IS Eyes Southeast Asia as Next Terrorism Hotspot. February 4, 2019. Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/islamic-state-terrorism-extremism-eyes-southeast-asia-11199586 (accessed 23.04.2020).
2. Dancel R. ISIS Militants Not Flocking in Droves to South-East Asia, Says Top US Counter-terrorism Official. The Straits Times, 22.11.2019.
3. Chan Luo Er. Terrorism and “Fake News” Key Security Threats the World Faces: Ong Ye Kung. January 29, 2018. Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/terrorism-and-fake-news-key-security-threats-the-world-faces-ong-9907390 (accessed 23.04.2020).
4. Radical Islam in Indonesia. 16.05.2018. Available at: https://www.indonesia-investments.com/business/risks/radical-islam/item245 (accessed 23.04.2020).
5. McBeth J. Indonesia’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Group – the Rise of JAD. Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The Strategist, 16.05.2018. Available at: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-rise-of-jamaah-anshurat-daulah-indonesias-most-dangerous-terrorist-group/ (accessed 23.04.2020).
6. Nyshka Chandran. Family Terrorism Is Southeast Asia’s Newest Threat, Defense Officials Warn. June 3, 2018. Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/03/family-terrorism-is-southeast-asias-newest-threat-defense-officials-warn.html (accessed 23.04.2020).
7. Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja. Indonesia Beefs up Anti-Terror Unit to Tackle Growing Terror Threat. The Straits Times, 30.12.2017. Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-beefs-up-anti-terror-unit-to-tackle-growing-terror-threat (accessed 23.04.2020).
8. The Surabaya Bombings and the Future of ISIS in Indonesia. Institute of Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC). Report no. 51. Jakarta, 2018, October 18. 12 p. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/38145795/_The_Surabaya_Bombings_and_the_Future_of_ISIS_in_Indonesia_ (accessed 23.04.2020).
9. Suryadinata Leo. Islamism and the New Anti-Terrorism Law in Indonesia. ISEAS Perspective. Yusof Ishak Institute. Singapore, 2018, July 25, no. 39. 7 p.
10. Olli Suorsa. The Growing Role of the Military in Counter-Terrorism in Southeast Asia. ISEAS Perspective. Yusof Ishak Institute. Singapore, 2018, November 2, no. 69. 6 p.
11. Danson Cheong, Benjamin Tan, Rebecca Tan Hui Qing. 3 in 4 Singaporeans Believe Terror Strike Here “Only a Matter of Time”. The Straits Times, 27.03.2016. Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/3-in-4-singaporeans-believe-terror-strike-here-only-a-matter-of-time (accessed 23.04.2020).
12. Hariz Baharudin. Terror Threat to S’pore Remains High, but Only One in Five Sees It as an Imminent Threat: MHA Report. The Straits Times, 22.01.2019. Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/terror-threat-to-spore-remains-high-but-only-one-in-five-sees-it-as-an-imminent-threat-mha (accessed 23.04.2020).
13. Calvin Yang, Karamjit Kaur. Singapore Steps up Checks at Entry Points. The Straits Times, 24.03.2016. Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-steps-up-checks-at-entry-points (accessed 23.04.2020).
14. Wimmer A. The Jakarta Sarinah Attack, 14 January 2016. The Khilafah Is Coming? The Radicalization of Society, Threats, Implications & Considerations. German Asien Research Center. Singapore, 2016. 126 p. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/31665193/The_Jakarta_Sarinah_Attack_14_January_2016_The_Khilafah_Is_Coming (accessed 23.04.2020).
15. Adi Renaldi. Who Are the ISIS-Linked Terrorists Behind the Kampung Melayu Bombings? 2017, May 29. Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_id/article/kzemaw/who-are-the-isis-linked-terrorists-behind-the-kampung-melayu-bombings (accessed 23.04.2020).
16. Raquel Carvalho. Surabaya Redux: Terror Time Bomb Fears as Indonesia Frees Islamic Extremists. South China Morning Post, 18.11.2018. Available at: https://www.scmp.com/print/week-asia/politics/article/2173651/surabaya-redux-terror-time-bomb-fears-indonesia-frees-islamic (accessed 23.04.2020).
17. Southeast Asia Expects Long Fight against ISIS Influence. The Straits Times, 30.10.2019. Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/s-e-asia-expects-long-fight-against-isis-influence (accessed 23.04.2020).
18. Prashanth Parameswaran.Where Is Malaysia’s New Counterterrorism Center in Its Islamic State Fight? The Diplomat, 15.03.2018. Available at: https://thediplomat.com/2018/03/where-is-malaysias-new-counterterrorism-center-in-its-islamic-state-fight/ (accessed 23.04.2020).
19. Elis Zuliati Anis. Countering Terrorist Narratives: Winning the Hearts and Minds of Indonesian Millennials. The 1st ICSEAS2016. Kne Social Sciences. Available at: https://knepublishing.com/index.php/Kne-Social/article/view/2333/5159#toc (accessed 23.04.2020).
20. Nava Nuraniyah. The Evolution of Online Violent Extremism in Indonesia and the Philippines. Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology: Paper no. 5. London, 2019. 16 p.
21. Casey K. Youth and Violent Extremism in Mindanao, Philippines. A mixed-methods design for testing assumptions about drivers of extremism. Center for Secure and Stable States, DAI. Bethesda, Md., 24.08.2018. 14 p.
22. Fitriani, Alif Satria, Pricilia Putri Nirmala Sari, Rebekha Adriana. The Current State of Terrorism in Indonesia: Vulnerable Groups, Networks, and Responses. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Jakarta, 2018. Available at: https://www.csis.or.id/uploaded_file/publications/the_current_state_of_terrorism_in_indonesia_-_vulnerable_groups__networks__and_responses.pdf (accessed 23.04.2020).
23. Hart M. Malaysia’s Counterterrorism Strategy: Keeping ISIS in Check. Geopolitical Monitor, 02.01.2018. Available at: https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/malaysias-counterterrorism-strategy-keeping-isis-in-check/ (accessed 23.04.2020).
Registered in system SCIENCE INDEX