Southeast Asia: What to do with returning ISIS members from Iraq and Syria?
As the last strong hold of ISIS is being taken down in Mosul- Iraq and Raqqa-Syria, experts say that hundreds of fleeing militants are returning to Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, and only a few are identified. While there are growing concerns that they may continue their ideological battle, more are expected to make their way back home. Numbers which are said to be greater than those returning Afghan war in the 80’s, that formed Al Qaeda-linked Jemah Islamiyah terror group, according to Channel News Asia.
Jasminder Singh, a senior analyst at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore said: “In September we heard Indonesia has 500 plus (fighters) with only 40 being identified.” Hence, pointing to the recent string of events to hit Southeast Asia this year.
In Indonesia, with the two recent demonstrations, talks on social media showed that IS returnees participated in the demonstrations; The January terror attacks that killed at least 8 people near Sarinah shopping mall and Starbucks coffee shop, Jakarta was the first by IS in Southeast Asia.
In Malaysia, Mohammed Wanndy Jedi, 27, in June, remotely coordinating with terrorist cells to launch an attack, detonating a grenade in the Movida nightclub, located in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, injuring 8. Police revealed that since Mohammed wanndy departed for Syria he had created multiple cells in Malaysia known as Gagak Hitam, comprising of ISIS supporters and sympathizers. Authority say over 100 Malaysians have joined IS since 2013.
Mindanao in Southern Philippines has been under the radar as one of the possible location for returning fighters to regroup.
Ayob Khan, Principal Assistant Director, Police special Branch Counter Terrorism Division said, “In terms of ideology they are very strong, very committed. They are still lacking the expertise but when they do, we have a bigger problem.” Recruitment will definitely increase, Singh.
WHY BRAIN FINGERPRINTING
Brain Fingerprinting technology can be used on returning ISIS fighters and high level suspects to validate their ranks and level of knowledge or skill set acquired in the jihadist training camps. Intelligence gathering overtime can be input into the system to help in link analysis or knowledge of bomb making, IEDS.
Event specific information is extracted within 30 -45 mins of testing in a non-invasive and humane manner to obtain valuable information about a suspect’s intent or confirm involvement in hostile territory, attacks, training or command responsibility. The technology does not require the suspect to tell the truth or not. It detects whether the information is “present” or “absent.”
The threats of terrorism in the Southeast Asian governments are growing. To counter terrorism, new surveillance methods, technology and strong legislation is needed to combat this ugly trend.
Brain Fingerprinting is the most advanced investigative and intelligence gathering tool that can be used at Southeast Asian borders and counter terrorism agencies to help identify level involvement and ISIS network operatives The cross verification of data can now be used by law enforcement and intelligence community to help bring assurance to countries in Southeast Asia.