JI was thought to be lying dormant after the arrests and killings of many of its top leaders. One analyst even asserts that the group is now defunct. However, recent activity in the Philippines, combined with JI’s alignment with ISIS, have renewed fears of the resurgent threat JI poses in Australia and the surrounding region. Australian PM Abbot concurs on this assessment, stating, “Jemaah Islamiyah have pledged their allegiance to the ISIL movement and that does indicate the potential for increased terror activity in our region.” In July 2014, JI leader Abu Bakr Bashir pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from an Indonesian prison.
In May of 2014, a spate of terror arrests in Java was thought to signal the return of JI to the country, possibly ushering in a new stage in JI’s history. According to a source within the National Police anti-terror squad, “The new JI cell is very neat and organized; they have a management, soldiers and an Amir. We estimate to have at least 3,000 soldiers and we think the Amir is a returning old player.” During the May arrests, it was revealed that the group had a makeshift arms industry. The particular cell is known for its weapons assembly skills. In addition to this the growth of support for ISIS, some analysts believe that the Indonesian jihadis see ISIS as an ‘embryo of an Islamic caliphate.’ The dangers of JI in the region have recently therefore greatly expanded.
In Their Own Words:
Many people do [believe] that it is a terrorist state, and who would possibly be a friend of Israel after you see the carnage that they carried out against Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and continue to do with the appropriation of properties? No one in their right and rational mind would support such a state [Israel].
Oct. 16, 2021