ISIS Plans to Create ‘Distant Caliphate’ in Indonesia: Australia Warns

ISIS Plans to Create ‘Distant Caliphate’ in Indonesia: Australia Warns
Tue Dec 22, 2015 16:29:13

Australia’s attorney-general says ISIS/ISIL extremists plan to create a “distant caliphate” in neighbouring Indonesia.

Australia has warned that ISIS wants to create a “distant caliphate” in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

As Indonesian authorities were placed on “high alert” following three days of counter-terrorism raids, George Brandis, Australia’s attorney-general, said ISIS terrorists were strengthening across Indonesia in a development that poses a growing threat to Western interests.

“ISIS has ambitions to elevate its presence and level of activity in Indonesia, either directly or through surrogates,” he told The Australian newspaper.

“You’ve heard the expression the ‘distant caliphate’? ISIS has a declared intention to establish caliphates beyond the Middle East, provincial caliphates in effect. It has identified Indonesia as a location of its ambitions.”

The warning followed raids across Java which resulted in the arrest of nine extremists who allegedly planned to target shopping malls, police stations and minority groups during the end-of-year holiday period. The group had explosive materials and an ISIS-inspired flag.

Authorities in Indonesia have boosted security at airports, foreign embassies, the presidential palace and shopping malls, and will deploy 150,000 personnel to protect public places and churches across the country over the coming weeks.

"There is a possibility of other groups, and we will continue to pursue them,” said General Badrodin Haiti, the national police chief.

"This group [arrested at the weekend] has collaborated with those who returned from war in Syria. They want to perform a 'concert' to attract international news coverage of their existence here … Just like in the past they said "bride" to mean suicide bomber, maybe now they call it 'concert'.”

Indonesia has experienced a series of deadly terrorist attacks by extremists since the early 2000s, including attacks targeting Western tourists, hotels and embassies. The worst of the attacks, in Bali in 2002, killed 202 people.

However, the most active terrorist group operating in Indonesia which carried out the Bali bombings, has links with al-Qaeda and opposes ISIL.

Australian counter-terrorism officials reportedly believe that Indonesia, Australia’s northern neighbour, could become a hub in which extremists roam relatively freely. While Isil is not believed to have the capacity to create a caliphate in Indonesia, officials reportedly fear the group could establish a permanent foothold in the archipelago.

“The rise of ISIS in the Middle East is something that has destabilised the security of Australia, it’s destabilised the security of Indonesia and it’s destabilising the security of our friends and partners, particularly here in the region,” Michael Keenan, Australia’s justice minister, told The Australian,Telegraph reported.


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