A few months back we wrote a piece here about the U.S. military drawdown of its counter-terrorist capability in the Philippines. Probably not too many of you paid attention to it, but you might want to now.
As reported by Rappler, “The Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq or ISIS, is expanding its recruitment on social media in the Philippines. On July 23, a video of senior Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon along with masked men was posted on YouTube.
In the video clip, Hapilon, wearing a black gown, links arms with men, most of whom hide their faces. Using a combination of his native dialect, Yakan, and Arabic, Hapilon and his men swear allegiance or “bay’ah,” an oath, to IS and its head, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
It’s just further proof that al-Qaida is not on the run or decimated, is still quite alive and being upgraded by Islamic terrorism 2.0. The true danger of the Islamic State is that it has established another Islamic caliphate at a time when it seemed improbable.
Al-Qaida means “the base” and that was exactly what the Taliban had established in Afghanistan post Soviet Union exit and the Afghan Civil War. The goal was to create the Islamic caliphate in Afghanistan with Sheik Osama bin Laden as its leader. It was from there al-Qaida set its sights on the objective of global Islamic terrorism and we certainly know the end result of 9-11. And so history is repeating itself with an even more vile Islamic terrorist organization — one which doesn’t hide in the shadows and is amassing a large financial coffer.
We may want to reconsider drawing down that counter-terrorist operation. And please, don’t tell me this is nothing more than an empty gesture and poses no threat. That’s the same perspective we took early on as the Taliban was establishing itself – as a matter of fact, I remember when President Bill Clinton invited the Taliban Foreign Minister to the White House — dumb move. ISIS has shown a boldness and audacity that is drawing an incredible following across the globe — and as we reported here, from western countries as well.
Rappler reports, “the first known instance of Filipino support on social media for ISIS was posted on July 2. It shows Filipinos in prison, many of whom are members or former members of the Abu Sayyaf, gathering around a black flag and swearing allegiance to ISIS.”
And if that isn’t enough to convince you we have a problem with ISIS, here is more. A day before the video of Isnilon Hapilon was posted, the Islamic State posted an 8-minute video to recruit Indonesians. This is not the first call for recruits from Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population and a once-active terrorist network that carried out Southeast Asia’s 9/11 and succeeding annual attacks until 2005.
Rappler says, “on June 9, the day ISIS began its march to capture Baghdad, a video of Indonesian men in Syria was posted on YouTube. Speaking in Bahasa Indonesia with snippets of Arabic, they urged Indonesians to join ISIS: “Let us fight in the path of Allah because it is our duty to do jihad in the path of Allah.”
“Ansyaad Mbai, the head of Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency, known by its Indonesian acronym, BNPT, says, “social media is potent and, using the ‘Caliphate’ of ISIS, could rejuvenate Southeast Asia’s terror networks. The names don’t matter, and they can change. When they say they want an Islamic Caliphate, they are part of the same group with the same ideology.”
Winston Churchill sounded the alarm of Hitler’s dictatorship and was denigrated by his fellow Englishmen. I know the feeling– but I will not stop trying to sound the alarm.