Could Southeast Asia be Islamic State's new frontline?
Panel discussion

7pm, Wednesday June 21, 2017
Members: free, Non-members 450thb, Thai journalists and Students with VALID ID: 150thb
Late May saw the start of the bloody siege of Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Over 170 people have been killed, including 120 militants. With the terrorist crisis in the Philippines as a backdrop, one of the hottest topics at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, an annual regional security conference, was the terrorism threat in Southeast Asia and the significance of Islamic State's recent alliances with possibly as many as 30 much smaller militant groups in this region. The fighting in Marawi shook the Philippine government into declaring temporary martial law in the south following years of unsuccessful attempts to pacify an older homegrown Muslim insurgency. Observers believe the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been pitted against fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, and the Yemen. Islamic State is already communicating in local vernaculars, and reaching out to disenchanted and restive potential followers in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Some regional intelligence sources believe there may already be 1,200 militants with Islamic State links active in the Philippines alone. With recent bombings in Jakarta, regional governments have reason to be alarmed about what may be in store as Islamic State faces reversals in the Middle East and its surviving fighters disperse.

Confirmed panelists:

Endy Bayuni, a senior editor at The Jakarta Post, writes regular columns about Indonesian politics, evolving political cultures, Islam, democracy and foreign affairs. He has contributed to The New York Times, Foreign Policy magazine website, and the Washington Post/Newsweek Blog. He was a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center office in Washington DC in 2011. Bayuni is on the board of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, a Jakarta-based think tank that publishes reports explaining the dynamics of conflict in Indonesia, including the rise of Islamic extremism. Recent reports include 'How Southeast Asian and Bangladeshi Extremism Intersect', and 'The Re-emergence of Jemaah Islamiyah'.

Phill Hynes, the head of political risk and analysis of Hong Kong-based ISS Risk, leads a team monitoring rising terrorism threats across Asia. He has conducted investigations and risk assessments all over Asia, including in Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, North Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Hynes was a security consultant to major sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and for the Special Olympics in Shanghai. Over a 10-year career in the British army, he specialized in counter-terrorism, intelligence, and communications. He was a key player in community democracy programmes to integrate paramilitaries into the civil community during the Northern Ireland peace process.

Rungrawee Chalermsripinyorat is an independent analyst who has closely followed Thailand's southern conflict. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Australian National University's Department of Political and Social Change, and was formerly a political analyst with the International Crisis Group.

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