ISIS, Action in Marawi and Threats to Indonesia


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Acts of terrorism can not be underestimated. The recent series of acts of terror such as in Manchester England, Egypt, Marawi Philippines and Jakarta, are serious acts of terror that cause human casualties. ISIS became the most radical group highlighted in the terror acts happening in the world today. This can not be separated from the acknowledgment that ISIS is involved in.

The ISIS action in Marawi became a concern as it could threaten stability in Southeast Asia. The militia group that occupied Marawi proved that the militia had the power to be reckoned with, even more so that there were foreign militia from various countries joining. Although the numbers are not very large, the militia groups are troubling the Philippine government.

Whoever is the culprit and whatever his affiliation, the militia who took action in Marawi is a terrorist group. The group has committed violence and murder of several people to create fear for others. The goal of course, so that his wishes are obeyed, if not then another terror action will be done.

Terror is an attempt to create fear, horror, and cruelty by a person or a group, terrorists are people who use violence to generate fear, usually for political purposes, terrorism is the use of violence to cause fear in an attempt to achieve goals. The US Department of State defines terrorism as “planned, politically motivated violence, aimed at unarmed targets by splinter groups or underground agents, usually aiming to influence audiences. (Hudson and Mejeska, 1992: 12).

The act of terrorism is chosen to be a model by a particular person, group or organization to impose its purpose. The group (terrorist) has collective options or values and makes a choice on terrorism as the main action option that ignores a range of other alternatives (Crenshaw: 2003). Crenshaw explains again that efficiency and effectiveness are the main standards in the comparison between terrorism against other ways of achieving political goals. Different backgrounds and reasons so that people, groups or organizations commit terror. This leads to terror is only the tool they deem most effective for imposing and achieving goals.Crenshaw (2003) argues that generally small organizations use violence as compensation for their small numbers. Crenshaw further states that an organization or an organization faction may choose terrorism because its calculations show that other ways can not work or are considered too time consuming, while the situation is important and the government’s (opposition) resources are superior. Other analyzes such as Post (1986) state that they (terrorists) commit terrorist acts not on tactical or strategic choices, but because personality requires an external enemy to blame. This is the dominant mechanism of destructive characteristics.The choice of acts of terror rather than by actions or other means of realizing the ideals of people, groups or states in the author’s opinion, is due to several things: terror is the most effective way of showing the existence of minority or marginal groups, then the mirror of terror and the implications of personality Unhealthy group leaders and group culture in general.Other causes of terror are non-terror acts such as diplomacy unsuccessful or frequent and unsuccessful, besides terror as an implication of the understanding of a doctrine or the teachings of violence as the only way to achieve the ideals, especially experienced by the group Hard-radical groups with a background of theological or political sentiments that make extreme differences with other groups unacceptable and must be fought / fought.

A Threat to Indonesia?

The way that ISIS does to realize the desire to build the world’s khilafah is to commit terror. Of course the way that these radical groups get resistance from many sides. The US-led multinational forces struck at ISIS in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is fighting not only in Iraq and Syria but direct penetration in other ISIS-like countries such as Britain and France. The ISIS Resistance is carried out with sporadic but deadly terror acts.

Indonesia has also recently become the target area of terrorist acts of groups affiliated with ISIS. The bombing of Thamrin and Kampung Melayu is a terror act recognized by ISIS. Another action perpetrated by a single offender (lone wolf) is suspected also because of the influence of ISIS as happened at the police attack in Tangerang, Medan Catholic Church, Samarinda. Other acts such as those that occurred in terror to police in East Java and Cicendo bombs were perpetrated by radical groups (JAD) affiliated with ISIS.

ISIS is categorized as one of the threats to Indonesia. The facts show that there are ISIS sympathizers in Syria originating from Indonesia, including Bahrun Naim, who has been suspected to be the actor of intellectual acts of terror in Thamrin and Kampung Melayu. In addition there are some radical groups in Indonesia that support ISIS. Factors supporting ISIS’s threat to Indonesia are the presence of prisoners and former terrorism prisoners who have the potential to conduct terror acts again as a form of support to ISIS.

Information from BNPT sources states that there are currently 250 prisoners of terrorism scattered in 77 prisons and 1 rutan. Former terrorism inmate 600 people, but known to exist only 184 people, 416 ex-terrorism prisoner is not known of its existence. In the warmest case in Marawi Filipna, it was detected that some Indonesians joined ISIS support militias fighting against Philippine government forces.

These points out that the threat of terrorist acts by radical groups especially those affiliated with ISIS is a real thing. Government preparedness to detect and prevent ISIS threats in Indonesia, especially after ISIS terrorist acts in Marawi, should be fully prepared and strengthened.

Early Detection and Early Prevention

Intelligence is at the forefront of detecting terrorism threats. The radical group moves silently to prepare for an open act of terror or armed resistance. The process of infiltration of radical groups into an area, conducting raising, and preparing for action, can be detected by intelligence.

Intelligence function is to do early detection and early prevention. Of course the ways are done in a closed and not generally known. Limitations of intelligence authority can make intelligence as an early detector but can not do early prevention. Intelligence of intelligence because of its limited authority it becomes an interesting gap for radical groups to carry out its action.

Sources : Google

The radicalization that causes terrorist acts must be prevented and resisted. Prevention of radicalization (counter radicalization) is by resisting radical not to enter and develop in a person or group. Counter radicalization should be done from an early stage of the family such as teaching tolerance, accepting differences as a reality and wealth of the nation. Counter radicalization can also be done by religious leaders who teach religious values that are noble, holy, and mutual love between mankind. If these values are embedded to everyone from an early age it will be a bulwark against radicalism.

What about radically radical people or groups? The person or group must be radically changed (deradicalisation). Of course, changing ideology or ideology is not easy especially if the operator who will change is considered as opposition or opponent.

Radical believers are of course not easily collected and arranged to follow the deradicalization program, unless the person is in full control as when a prisoner. This situation should be utilized for deradicalization.The deradicalization program should not be done directly by the state or the security apparatus, but it can be done by a normal cleric, family, or former radicalism. Prudence in doing this is necessary, do not let people follow the program of deradicalization but instead take advantage of the situation to raise people to become radical. Inmates of terrorism who returned again became the perpetrator of terror proves that radical understanding is very difficult to change.Associated with the action of ISIS in Marawi, Indonesia must be vigilant. There are vulnerabilities in Indonesia that can be utilized by the ISIS group to do the same in Indonesia. The attractiveness of Indonesia, as the country with the largest Muslim population and the presence of radical groups affiliated with ISIS, is very strong.The vulnerability from the geographical side is also quite large. With an archipelagic country and many border points with other countries, it has become a gap for the entry of radical groups into Indonesia. Even without being entered from outside, within Indonesia itself has been a lot of radical and conduct acts of terror under the control of ISIS. Of course this facilitates the entry of people from outside to join the radical groups that already exist in Indonesia.Prevention should be done is to close the vulnerabilities that exist in Indonesia in order not to be a way for radical groups to enter and exist and run the action. The vulnerability that must be prevented is physically a stronger security system such as in the sea and land routes and the doors of foreigners.

Intelligence must already have data on people who join or become sympathizers of ISIS. If they come through the official arrival gate, it can be secured and prevented from taking further action. But if they go through an unofficial door then intelligence should work with communities and other components to raise their social radar over the presence of new people, or people who have long since left the area.

Prevention of acts of terror can also be done through the help of technology. The flow of conversations that people indicated has the potential to conduct terror acts can be monitored and investigated. In addition, financial transactions as capital for action can also be observed. The combination of technology assistance and intelligence performance is expected to be an effective detection system that can be the basis for prevention.

Indonesia Still Strong?

The radical group’s actions like in Marawi are still very difficult to do in Indonesia, unless there is widespread support from the community and there is armed access to resistance to the security forces. Indonesia is very fortunate to have Police, BIN, TNI and BNPT. The ability of the Indonesian apparatus is strong enough to close the gap of radical group-raising in the community. In addition, the monitoring of weapons in Indonesia is quite well done by the security forces so that the use of illegal weapons can be controlled properly.

But ISIS’s threat to Indonesia can not be underestimated. ISIS sympathizers who are individuals and groups repeatedly show their existence. If they spread their wings, propaganda, recruitment and training to carry out acts of terror, then if there is an appropriate momentum of acts of terror occurred in Indonesia.

The security, defense and intelligence apparatus is believed to be capable of detecting and preventing radicalization and terrorism. Sporadic terror acts are very likely to occur again in Indonesia, given the critical points for entry gaps and the existence of radical group cells still exist. As long as the society is not massively stirred up by radical groups, and the performance of the apparatus is good enough then ISIS actions like in Marawi can be prevented.

*) Observer of intelligence and terrorism, graduate of Intelligence Studies Intelligence University of Indonesia.