Abstract: The seminar will examine why Southeast Asians – and which Southeast Asians – have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, mostly with ISIS but also with other militias. While the numbers remain low compared with Europe, there are still more families trying to leave than fighters coming home. What is the impact these experiences have had on Southeast Asian fighters? Sidney Jones will examine them.
Also unlike Europe, the factors driving Southeast Asians to Syria are all pull, not push: Indonesia and Malaysia are Muslim majority democracies that are not under attack or occupation. Muslim supporters of IS in the Philippines, rather than going to Syria, are concentrating efforts on establishing a wilayat or province of IS in Mindanao that would be the nucleus of a regional Islamic state.
Sidney Jones is director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta. She previously worked for the International Crisis Group in Jakarta as senior adviser (2007-13) and Southeast Asia project director (2002-07). Between 1989 and 2002, Jones was executive director, Asia Division at Human Rights Watch in New York. An expert on conflict and extremism in South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia, Jones received an honorary doctorate from the New School in New York in 2006. She was awarded an MA (1976) in international relations and a BA (1974) in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
- Greg Fealy, Indonesian and Malaysian Involvement in the Islamic State, USAID report, 6 January 2016.
- Indonesians and the Syrian Conflict, IPAC Report No.6, 30 January 2014. (written before the declaration of a caliphate)
- Disunity among Indonesian ISIS Supporters and the Risk of More Violence, IPAC Report No.25, 1 February 2016.
- Pro-ISIS Groups in Mindanao and their Links to Indonesia and Malaysia, IPAC Report No.33, 25 October 2016.
Sidney Jones: Southeast Asians and the Syrian Conflict