Posts made in July, 2018

Jemaah Islamiyah: Damaged but Dangerous

Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Jemaah Islamiyah: Damaged but Dangerous

By mid-2003, eight months after the Bali attacks, Jemaah Islamiyah had fallen to about a hundred hard-core militants, most based in Central and East Java. The group shelved plans for a Southeast Asian caliphate, returning to the more traditional Darul Islam aim to create an Islamic State. Ties to al-Qaeda were scaled back, if not severed. The new Jemaah Islamiyah leader, Abu Dujana (Ainul Bahri), had trained in the Pakistan and Afghanistan camps and was an instructor at Camp Abu Bakar in Mindanao before it was shut down in May 2000. Faced with the wave of arrests, he cautiously regrouped elements on Java, abandoned plans to attack western targets and turned to recruiting for the anti-Christian jihad in Central Sulawesi. The intensive crackdowns in Indonesia and neighboring countries convinced Abu Dujana and most Jemaah Islamiyah leaders that large, spectacular attacks like Bali were costly and counterproductive because they generated public outrage and harsh retaliation. Rather than attract new followers, such attacks undermined support for an Islamic super-state. Essentially, Jemaah Islamiyah became a domestic group encompassing the old Mantiqi II (Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi). Survivors in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines remained in hiding, while an estimated two dozen militants, including Bali bomb-maker Dulmatin and Umar Patek, had taken refuge with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao. [1] Around twenty radical pesantren, mostly on Java, served as incubators for militant recruits and platforms to spread jihadist gospel. The Hidayatullah Pesantren near Balikpapan, East Kalimantan and Pondok Pesantren Darul Aman in Makassar, South Sulawesi were part of the radical pesantren network. Jemaah Islamiyah had a small presence in Central Sulawesi before the Bali attack. Violence increased sharply in late-2003 after hundreds of fresh volunteers arrived with high-powered firearms and bomb-making skills. The group established a training camp near Ampana, a coastal settlement northeast of Poso, and set about to undermine the Malino accord through bomb attacks and assassinations targeting Christian leaders, local officials and the police, along with armed robberies of non-believers (fa’i) to raise funds. Darul Islam had legitimized fa’i by promising absolution to perpetrators since their criminal actions were for jihad. Jemaah Islamiyah adopted fa’i despite its questionable basis in the Qur’an. [2] In early-2003, a splinter group led by Noordin Mohammad Top and his assistant, Dr. Azhari Husin, both Malaysian nationals, broke with Abu Dujana. Both men had been hiding in Sumatra. Top and Azhari had studied at the Malaysia University of Technology; both were students at Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s Lukmanul Hakiem pesantren in Johore before joining the terrorist group. Azhari had been a mechanical engineering professor at the university. After military training in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War, he became a bomb-making instructor at Camp Abu Bakar in Mindanao, while Noordin Top chaired the Lukmanul Hakiem pesantren before authorities shut down the radical Islamic school in early-2002. Noordin Top fled to Riau and settled in Bukittinggi, where he opened an automobile repair shop. Dr. Azhari and Jemaah Islamiyah comrades from Malaysia joined him. They relocated to Bengkulu, South Sumatra after the Bali bombings. Citing emergency conditions, Top and his small...

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