posted by Christopher W. Holton
Back in August of 2014, a senior leader of the Philippine Jihadist terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Not surprisingly, now there is evidence that the organization is expanding its operations in the Pacific Rim area…
As the rest of the world grapples with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), their latest attacks on Paris, and what some commentators are calling the Global Jihad Insurgency, Philippines-based Islamic militant group the Abu Sayyaf may be spreading its own unwanted tentacles.
That message was clear following a leaked memo from within the Malaysian police published by the news portal Malaysiakini detailing how the Abu Sayyaf has established cell networks in East and West Malaysia, which were prepared to carry out terrorist-styled attacks.
This is unusual as the Abu Sayyaf – who have been widely, and justifiably, vilified as thugs – have largely kept their operations in Basilan, Jolo and surrounding islands, spilling into the Sulu Sea and only sometimes into nearby Sabah, since the group’s inception in 1991. Operational cells in Kuala Lumpur would indicate a major expansion of its operations.
If the Abu Sayyaf is spreading its wings as an ISIS proxy into Malaysia, a Muslim country with secular pretensions, then fears that the militant insurgency — which dominated the region’s political landscape in the first decade of this century — is making a resurgence will be realized.
Just last week Malaysia’s defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said he and other Malaysian leaders were on an ISIS hit list.
As a paramilitary group, the Abu Sayyaf has sworn allegiance to ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has outlasted its contemporaries, is well armed, and can make bombs. And that is exactly what ISIS needs if it is to pick-up from where JI and JAT left off in the push for a Southeast Asian caliphate, not unlike the one it seeks in the Middle East.