IS Expansion in the Philippines After the Marawi Siege

IS Expansion in the Philippines After the Marawi Seige

Introduction

Three years after the Islamic State (IS) sieged the Philippine city of Marawi, the terrorist threat to the Philippines and the wider Southeast Asian region has grown. IS central has asserted its reach, influence, and authority over diverse groups. This thereby signaled the beginning of a more extreme IS presence in Mindanao and IS’ East Asia Province (ISEAP) taking control of the propaganda machine. The siege in Marawi served as a dramatic rallying point for IS cells across the region to send support. The Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) was able to retake the city after five months of intense urban warfare. Despite the victory, at least four IS groups remain in Mindanao. These are: Hajan Sawadjaan-led IS Sulu, Furuji Indama-led IS Basilan, Abu Turaife, Salahuddin Hasaan and Bungos-led IS Maguindanao, and a leaderless IS Lanao. These groups continue to conduct widespread and increasingly sophisticated attacks, even using tactics previously confined to Afghanistan and Iraq. This indicates that the longstanding localized conflict in Mindanao is expanding to a wider regional conflict. 

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Barrier to Intelligence Collection: ISIS Online Communication in the Philippines

Barrier to Intelligence College ISIS online communication in the philippines 2

In a time when social media plays a major role in recruitment to violent extremism, Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT) has become the most powerful tool in collecting intelligence on terrorists and extremists. However, such tools are only as useful as the ability of the analysts to collect and analyze its contents. In the Philippines, this proves to be an obstacle due to the diverse local dialects used to communicate terrorist intent.

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