Essay on Capability Brief

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Jemaah Islamiyah’s Threat to Southeast Asia

1. Capability Brief

1.1) Background According to Australian Government (2002) Jemaah Islamiya (JI), evolved from the long–established Indonesian militant movement called Darul Islam (DI) which engaged in a violent struggle for the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia. The Darul Islam movement was subjected to Indonesian Government security crackdowns in the mid–1980s and a number of its leaders — including Indonesian Islamic clerics Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir — fled to Malaysia where they established Jemaah Islamiya in 1993 (Ibid). Abdullah Sungkar died in 1999 and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir returned to Indonesia in 2000 where he also established the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), a violent Islamic group which included other operatives intent on establishing an Islamic state (Ibid).

1.2) Ideology and Goals The Jemaah Islamiya founding objective was to create a Daulah Islamiya or strict Islamic state that extends from northern Australia to Malasia and Thailand — including Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, and the Philippines, through the use of violence (Australian Government, 2013). This vision was spelt out in a Jemaah Islamiya guidebook, Pedoman Umum Perjuangan Jamaah Islamiyyah or PUPJI (Stanford University, 2012). The group also shares the virulent anti–Western ideology of global jihad purveyed by the Al–Qaeda, and its close relations with the Al–Qaeda has made it a willing proxy to attack the U.S. and other Western countries (Government of Singapore, 2003).

1.3) Organizational Structure The organizational structure of Jemaah Islamiya is hierarchy–driven and geographically based (Jackson, et al., 2007). The top leadership consists of the Amir or supreme leader and the regional Shura or a consultative council of senior members (Abuza, 2003). At the operational levels, Jemaah Islamiya consists of four Mantiqis or territorial groups; Mantiqi I is centred in Malaysia with a branch in Singapore, Southern Thailand and Cambodia, and provide Jemaah Islamiya with the economic resources to support its operations; Mantiqi II operates in most of Indonesia, and consider the area to be the target area for jihad operations; Mantiqi III covers Mindanao, Sabah, and Sulawesi and its cells are responsible for training and supporting its logistical network; and Mantiqi IV includes Papua and Australia and focusing primarily on recruiting and fundraising in the large Indonesian Diaspora community (Ibid). Each Mantiqi divided into different Wakalahs or subgroups which administered Jemaah Islamiyah activity appropriate to their area (Australian Government, 2004).

1.4) Training Training is essential to the military character of the Jemaah Islamiya network because it provides a sense of purpose, increases religious fervour and commitment, expands its capabilities, and produces a new generation of fighters and instructors (Golburt, 2004). Jemaah Islamiya members were urged to visit Afghanistan to wage jihad at home and trained their combat skills (Ibid; Jones, 2003). While there, they learned to handle the AK47, pistols, automatic rifles, bazookas, mortars, grenades and explosives (Government of Singapore, 2003). Besides Afghanistan, some Jemaah Islamiya members have attended training sessions in Mindanao which conducted by a militant separatist group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF (Ibid).

1.5) Favoured Tactics Jemaah Islamiya upholds two primary tactics to achieving their goal of establishing the Islamic state (Standford University, 2012). A minority group in Jemaah Islamiya led by Riduan Isamuddin (also known as Hambali) supports the use of violent tactics, while the majority group believes that proselytization and building up a military capacity should be the main tactics in inciting an Islamic revolution (Ibid).

1.6) Areas of Operation With the goal of establishing a strict Islamic state in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiya’s…