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The aftermath of the twin suicide bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo The aftermath of the twin suicide bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province in the southern Philippines, Jan. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Nickee Butlangan).

Is the Islamic State Gaining Ground in Southeast Asia?

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019

It’s been six months since the Islamic State lost the last slice of its territory in Iraq and Syria, where it once controlled a land mass roughly the size of the United Kingdom. This loss dealt a serious blow to the terrorist group, but not a fatal one. As many different counterterrorism analysts have written, ISIS continues to spread its message and gather adherents who carry out attacks in its name across the globe.

One area where a metastasizing ISIS could seek to establish a greater foothold is Southeast Asia. In recent years, a number of countries in this diverse region, including the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, have had to confront militant Islamist insurgencies to varying degrees, and a number of ISIS-inspired attacks have taken place in the region this year.

For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by Zachary Abuza, a professor of national security strategy at the National War College in Washington, to discuss the Islamic State’s encroachment into Southeast Asia. Zach is a leading authority on Southeast Asian politics and security issues, and he recently co-authored an article in Foreign Affairs entitled “The Islamic State Meets Southeast Asia.”

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Abu Sayyaf Is Bringing More of ISIS’ Brutal Tactics to the Philippines
With Autonomy in the Southern Philippines, Muslim Rebels Must Learn How to Govern
Will the U.S. Chase the Islamic State as It Moves Into Central and Southeast Asia?
Islamic State Returnees Reawaken Extremist Threat for Southeast Asia

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com.