ISIS marches into SE Asia as threat hits home

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION -

IS­LAMIC State is push­ing to es­tab­lish a caliphate on Aus­tralia’s doorstep as the ji­hadists are beaten back across Iraq and Syria, a top de­fence strate­gist has warned.

For­mer Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment se­cu­rity ad­viser and army of­fi­cer Dr Alan Dupont said the rais­ing of the IS flag in the city of Marawi in south­ern Philip­pines and var­i­ous in­tel­li­gence re­ports pointed to a clear plot to es­tab­lish a war front in South- East Asia.

“I think the sit­u­a­tion is far more se­ri­ous than most peo­ple in Aus­tralia un­der­stand,” Mr Dupont said.

“I think we have com­pletely missed what has been go­ing on there.

“This is def­i­nitely an at­tempt by the Is­lamic State to es­tab­lish their South­East Asian caliphate.”

Dr Dupont, chief ex­ec­u­tive of strate­gic risk con­sul­tancy The Cognoscenti Group, said the scale of the Marawi up­ris­ing, in which al­most 100 troops, 50 civil­ians and 400 ter­ror­ists have so far been killed, showed it was sig­nif­i­cantly planned and fi­nanced.

“My con­cern is that the in­sur­gency in Min­danao is to spread to other South- East Asian coun­tries, par­ticu- larly In­done­sia, and that’s a con­cern for Aus­tralia,” he said.

“What is the like­li­hood of that hap­pen­ing? Well, I think it’s a lot higher than be­fore Marawi.

“There are a lot of con­nec­tions be­tween ji­hadists in In­done­sia and the Philip­pines, this will be seen as a call to arms by those who are well dis­posed to the IS kind of line.” crit­i­cal

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