The Jakarta Post, 9/28/2005 4:15:07 PM
Jamaah Islamiyah less of a threat but still capable of attacks:
SYDNEY (AP): Southeast Asian terror group Jamaah Islamiyah is weakened and
could be splitting but is still capable of attacks, an Australian think tank said in a
report on Wednesday.
The al-Qaeda-linked group has been blamed for bomb attacks on Indonesia's Bali
island in 2002 that killed 202 people as well as for deadly blasts at the J.W. Marriott
hotel and Australian Embassy in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, in 2003 and 2004.
Aldo Borgu of the respected Australian Strategic Policy Institute said Jamaah
Islamiyah has been hard hit by a wave of arrests and prosecutions that followed the
"But, importantly, it's still got the capability ... to undertake annual attacks," he said.
"There is still a possibility that one might be in the offing some time soon."
Australian National University Indonesia expert Greg Fealy, who co-wrote the report,
said extremists likely were moving away from Jamaah Islamiyah and toward other
groups within Indonesia.
"JI is becoming less of a lethal threat. The threat is now in other kinds of networks
that the bombers have moved to," he said.
"They are recruiting from groups who have been closely involved in the
Muslim-Christian conflicts in places like Malukuand Central Sulawesi," he added.
He said a split appeared to be emerging in Jamaah Islamiyah between those seeking
a Southeast Asian Islamic state by violent means and those looking for a more
If the advocates of a gradual approach win the power struggle, they would likely push
for an Islamic state using preaching, education and military training to defend against
attacks from what they consider infidel forces, Fealy said.
"However, there is a risk here. Once you give people military training in how to make
bombs and do assassinations, they may not be patient enough to wait for the
realization of your 30-year plan," he said. "They may want to go out and do something
nextmonth. They may well be very angry and alienated people."
Fealy said that migration of terrorists to new groups also would pose a fresh challenge
to security forces.
"They have to be open to the possibility that people they've never heard of before can
in a very short space of time be recruited to an operation and become the foot soldiers
in a major terrorism attack," he said. (**)
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