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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Daish - A Step Closer to Defeat

Yesterday (17 June 2016), Daish had did an unexpected turn-about. They had retreated from Fallujah. Fallujah, the ground where Daish predecessor, Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had manipulated and fomented hatred between the Sunni and Shiah to explode. Fallujah where many US soldiers fell (an American friend's brother was amongst those killed there).
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

General Retreat
They did a general retreat and unexpectedly left the city without leaving their trademark IED (Improvised Explosive Device). In the same manner they had left Kirkuk. And in the very same manner the Iraqi Army had deserted Mosul to Daish.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The slow fall of Daish will be a very good news for the people of Iraq. And probably to Syria too if Iraqi government decides to extend their hand to help Syrian government to destroy Daish in Syria.

Destruction of Daish land hold will severely cripple the movement from a pseudo-nation state back to a mere terror group.

But that's where we need to worry.

Conventional War versus Guerrilla War 

Daish in its pseudo-conventional incarnartion
Nations defined war effort in conventional manner, ie invasion and capturing territories held by enemy nation.

Destruction of enemy-held infrastructure. As in this case, Daish has been seen more like a organisation with a functionary of a nation.

The fall of Daish in the territories they held would see Daish revert back to its original form, a terror organisation with numerous tentacles. Each tentacle will independently finds way to survive.
Daish as a guerrilla movement

The best example for us to study is the Liberation Tamil Tiger of Eelam (LTTE).

At one point of time, they held half of Sri Lanka and had Jaffna as their pseudo-capital. Then in 2009, heavy offensive by Sri Lankan government destroyed LTTE once and for all.
LTTE Emblem

Or so we thought. 2015 saw at least 2 suspected LTTE members being arrested and deported from Malaysia for suspected to be trying to revive the organisation.

How does this affect us?
With that about 300 to 400 potential fighters from Khatibah al-Nusantara may choose to flee back Southeast Asia, and this will affect Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines.

We could also potentially see another 300 (assuming those killed would be replaced by equal number of replacements) or more fighters from China's Xinjiang which most likely be using Malaysia as their second choice entrance to China after Turkey. The sizeable Uyghur population in KL would make them to choose Malaysia as their refuge.
An East Turkistan Islamic Movement fighter, now aligned with Daish.

Then the threat will be at our shores.

In-country, the best case scenario would be these potential suspects be arrested the moment they try to enter the country.

But recent events point to that as near impossible.

Immigration Corruption Scandal
The revelation that human trafficking syndicates have infiltrated and compromised the MyImm system by Immigration Department points to a severely weakened deterrence factor. In a worst case scenario, we may have already suspects that had returned without having the intelligence apparatus being informed.

Granted, the MyImm system is to administer the entry/exit of foreigners. But my guess is these Malaysians who had joined Daish will likely try to enter Malaysia using forged foreign passports. Hence, with MyImm being compromised means these people would have probability of trying to return to Malaysia is high.

Further details on the MyImm system scandal can be read here

The Turkish Connection
Another incident that suggest the threat of returning fighters is high was the recent revelation that a couple of foreign terrorists from Chechnya had entered Malaysia after being PNG'ed by the Turkish government.
One of the 2 Chechen accompanied by 2 SB
Counter Terrorism operators - File Pic The Star 

The weak point is not Malaysia. But Turkey. With Turkish President Erdogan being previously exposed as friendly to Daish, it would not be a surprise of Turkey is being used as an exit point for all foreign terrorists to other countries.

Beside being the exit point for Daish, it is also the key entry points for many of Daish foreign legions.
Turkey's involvement in arming Muslim movements dated way back to Afghanistan War in the 80's. While the intention may seem to be religious in nature, the likelier truth is that a pro-Soviet Afghanistan would be a threat to Turkey, with Turkey lies in between Russia and the rich oil field in Middle-East.

This was repeated again in the mid-90's with Turkey arming the Bosnian troops. Again, this is likely more to historical link as Turkey view Bosnians as blood-relatives; Bosniac are descendents of Turkish empire in Yugoslavia.

The apparent closeness between Turkey and Daish could also be marriage of convenience. Daish is a threat against Kurdish forces, which is a thorn against the Turkish government. Turkish government view Kurdish forces, especially those loyal to PKK as foreign terrorist group that threaten the security of Turkey.

Turkey was also accused of being host to injured Daish fighters. Badly injured Daish fighters were believed to be sent to Turkish hospitals. Click here for more news.

One of Daish's largest source of income is petroleum. Despite not having any official business with any other nations, Daish was believed to have once profited at least USD1 million dollar a day from selling of crude oil to unscrupulous dealers based in Turkey and Libya. You can read more of this here.

But this may be a flawed argument as Turkey too is a victim of multiple bombings attributed to Daish.

More details can be read here. Warning! The authenticity of this page is unverified as their correspondent/writers are anonymous.

Areas Likely to be Affected
As per recent updates, areas that would likely be affected by these returnees are Southern Philippines, Indonesia, Southern Thailand.

Southern Philippines
Southern Philippines already has elements of Daish operating. Many former Abu Sayyaf Group members are operating under Daish banner.
A Daish camp in Philippines which surfaced itself in 2014

Despite declaring themselves being under Daish banner, ASG had yet to really try to launch any offensive against Manila. The most serious challenge from ASG was in the form of ambush against the Philippines Army who were on the way to attack an ASG location in Basilan which resulted in 18 AFP soldiers and special forces operators killed with another 53 were wounded. 

Other than the attack, ASG is also running a lucrative kidnap for ransom, which had largely targeted foreigners. Threats of beheading had been used to force the families of hostages and/or their governments to pay for the 'accommodation and food fee'.
Foreigners are largely the target of ASG's kidnapping.
Both had since been beheaded.

Their focus in the kidnap-for-ransom instead of fighting the Philippines Government has since brought about questions of their declared loyalty to Daish supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

However, a twinge of good news may be coming from Southern Mindanao. A certain father figure in the region whom recent years had declared war against Malaysia had since been trying to reconcile with Malaysia.

It is unsure why there is a change of heart. But if this is true, it will be very beneficial to Malaysia and may be to the Philippines too as the elusive peace in Southern Philippines could be finally found, provided that Abu Sayyaf Group which is part of Daish, and the multitude of KFR groups can be destroyed.

Malaysians are not immune.
Bernard Tham from Kuching was kidnapped
from Sandakan.  He was later beheaded when his
ransom was stolen by corrupt Filipino officials.
Jakarta early this year was surprised by a major attack by Daish. An attack by armed Daish unit saw 2 police officers killed while Daish lost 5 men, 2 of them died in apparent suicide bombing to prevent their arrest. 1 civilian was also killed in the attack. 
Jakarta Attack

There is also a group which is currently being hunted by BRIMOB in Indonesia. 

MIT declaring their baiyah, or allegiance to
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
The group, called itself as MIT or Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, led by one Santoso, who goes by the nomme de guerre Abu Warda Santoso As Syarqi As Indunisi had been fighting a protracted battle against the Indonesian government and are believed to be quite well-armed. The group even have 2 Uyghur members.

Southern Thailand
Southern Thailand had been identified as potential hot zone. Daish has been identified trying to infiltrate into the region to foment further conflict there as this would be beneficial to the group. Another hot zone there would help Daish to have a new pool of recruits as they try to tap into the Southern Thai's Malay Muslim discontentment of being under Bangkok's rule.
Erawan Shrine - the aftermath

Thailand being the Land of Smiles also being targeted as they are a favourite tourist spots for foreign tourists. It is one of the favourite tourist destination for Russians and Australians.
4 year-old Malaysian Lee Jing Xuan
was killed in the Erawan bombing

The willingness of terror groups to target tourist spots in Thailand has been proven. Last year, a bomb was detonated at Erawan shrine, a major tourist spot in Bangkok killing around 20 tourists, 5 of them Malaysians, including one young girl.

To date, no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, though the man identified leaving the bomb-laden bag pack at the Erawan Shrine had since been arrested.

As for Malaysia, so far Special Branch has done a very good job. More than 100s of Daish sympathisers had been arrested and are on trials.

That being said, we Malaysians should not be relying solely on our security apparatus to protect our society.

That duty is ours and ours only. The police and the military could only operate efficiently to prevent any attacks on our country if each and every one of us work together. They (the police and military) are citizens too and they need our utmost help to defend our country.

Be damned the politicians for their selfishness. Most of them couldn't care less except for to get votes for the next election.

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