Jemaah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia: Still Active

A year on from the Bali nightclub bombing in which more than two hundred people died, there is still a reluctance to accept the extent of extremists’ reach in Southeast Asia.

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 October 2003 4 minute READ

David Martin Jones

Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London

Mike Smith

Reader, War Studies, King's College London

Despite recent convictions including two death sentences against those involved, states have been in denial about how far groups like Jemaah Islamiyah have capitalised on local grievances. Further violent attacks and recent arrests now challenge this complacency.

In the aftermath of the Bali bombing, international pressure belatedly focused regional attention on Jemaah Islamiyah, which had been largely untroubled in developing a dangerous regional terror network stretching from the Thai-Malay border, through the southern Philippines and Indonesia, to sleeper cells in Australia. At first glance, it appeared that when regional states coordinated their internal security arrangements, and the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) focused its traditionally fragmented approach, the network could be exposed and disrupted.

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