Sdr, artikel ini dipetik dari Straits Times Singapura. Di dalamnya
ada disebut bahawa Al-Qaeda mempunyai hubungan rapat dengan PAS.
Saya harap sdr-sdr sekalian dapat mengambil perhatian.
AL-QAEDA: The Asian connection
By ROHAN GUNARATNA
AL-QAEDA'S network in the United States, Europe and East Africa has
been disrupted significantly as a result of investigations and
widespread arrests. In Asia, however, a network of cells and
support structures remains virtually intact, both before and after
Al-Qaeda's Asian network originated in the early 1990s and grew
rapidly, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, after Osama bin
Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan in May 1996.
Three developments drove the formation of the Asian network. First,
Al-Qaeda recruited Asian as well as Arab veterans of the Afghan
anti-Soviet jihad. Second, Osama campaigned on a pan-Islamic
platform that drew recruits from both Middle Eastern and Asian
states. Third, from the early 1990s, Osama developed links with two
groups, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf
group, which had already established terrorist and insurgent
capabilities in the Philippines.
The Philippine connection was forged when Osama met several hundred
Moros who arrived in Afghanistan from Mindanao. Osama developed a
strong relationship with the Abu Sayyaf founder, Abdurajak
Janjalani, and eventually sent his brother-in-law, Mohammad Jamal
Khalifa, to the Philippines to establish an Al-Qaeda presence in
Many leaders and members of the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF trained in
Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, and several Al-Qaeda trainers are
believed to have conducted training courses in the Philippines. The
Al-Qaeda input made a qualitative difference in Abu Sayyaf and MILF
combatants, both ideologically and operationally.
Militant Islamic organisations in Indonesia have come under more
intense scrutiny since November, when a transcript of telephone
communications from the Al-Qaeda cell in Spain indicated the
existence of an Al-Qaeda camp in Indonesia. However, security
forces and the intelligence community have failed to identify the
In July last year, an Al-Qaeda emissary hosted by Majlis Mujahidin,
an Afghan veterans' group, sought to develop ties with several
Indonesian Islamic groups, including Laskar Jihad. Leader Jaffar
Umar Talib refused to meet the envoy, claiming publicly that Al-
Qaeda was too radical. However, the chairman of the Islamic Student
Movement in Jakarta told Jane's Intelligence Review that Jaffar is
prepared to send Indonesians to fight for Al-Qaeda.
A foreign-intelligence agency has reported that key Osama
associates Ayman al-Zawahiri and the late Mohammed Atef visited
Indonesia in 2000, going to both Muluku and West Papua (Irian
Jaya), two islands affected by conflict. According to the agency,
Osama wanted to explore the possibility of expanding Al-Qaeda's
sphere of support and operational activities into South-east Asia.
To this end, Al-Qaeda appointed Ahmad Fauzi, alias Abdul al-Hakim,
to coordinate Al-Qaeda activities in the South-east Asian region.
Based in Malaysia, he has special responsibility for Malaysia,
Indonesia and the Philippines, three countries with large Muslim
He succeeds Osama's brother-in-law Khalifa, the previous Al-Qaeda
representative to the Far East, who was arrested in Saudi Arabia
after Sept 11.
Al-Qaeda also stepped up assistance to the Indonesian Islamic
Liberation Front (IILF). As well as receiving training in
Afghanistan, a foreign-intelligence agency reported that the IILF
has received training from Al-Qaeda members in Mindanao and on an
unknown Indonesian island, referred to as 'Panthbharat'.
In Malaysia, Al-Qaeda has established political ties with Parti
Islam Se Malaysia (PAS) and military links with the Kumpulan
Mujahideen Malaysia (KMM). The headquarters of PAS displays a
poster of Osama, reflecting the party's thinking on Al-Qaeda.
As in Indonesia, there are several Islamic groups in Malaysia that
support Al-Qaeda. Unlike in Indonesia, pro Al-Qaeda demonstrations
are controlled by the Malaysian government.
Both terrorist groups and radical Islamic parties operate together
in the region. For instance, KMM operates both in Malaysia and
Indonesia, and has extensive ties with the Abu Sayyaf and MILF.
In addition to supporting the anti-Christian violence in Muluku,
KMM members have conducted a few terrorist operations in Jakarta.
For instance, Indonesian authorities in September arrested KMM
member Zid Sharani, along with 12 other Indonesians and another
Malaysian, for two bombings in the country.
At the time of the arrest, they were undergoing military training
in Padeglang, West Java. Zid, to be deported to Malaysia, is an
associate of Malaysian bomber Taufik Abdul Halim, who was seriously
injured when the bomb he planted at a Jakarta shopping mall in
August detonated accidentally.
Al-Qaeda maintains its links through several front and sympathetic
organisations, including the International Islamic Relief
Organisation and Mercy International in the Philippines, which is
headed by Khalifa.
As terrorist support networks do not pose a direct and imminent
threat to the security of host countries, many tolerate their
presence and are reluctant to act against them. For instance,
Indonesia permits the operation of several groups that are openly
and actively supporting Al-Qaeda. Even Japan and Australia have
been slow to act against terrorist support networks functioning on
In Central Asia, Al-Qaeda has developed an extensive reach by
cultivating Islamic groups, especially in the Ferghana valley, the
heartland of Islamic radicalism even during the Soviet period.
Under Al-Qaeda influence, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
transformed into a pan-Islamic organisation - the Islamic Party of
Turkestan. Apart from trying to topple Uzbekistan President Islam
Karimov, and a series of bombings in February 1999, the IMU poses a
threat to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, where there are several
Islamic groups that support Al-Qaeda and the IMU. By associating
with the IMU, Al-Qaeda has been able to recruit several hundred
FINANCE AND TRAINING
IN SOUTH Asia, Al-Qaeda operates in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Al-Qaeda has offered finance and training to several anti-Shi'a
groups in Pakistan, to Kashmiri groups targeting Indian security
forces, and to Bangladeshi groups, notably the Bangladeshi
Mujahideen. Al-Qaeda's assistance has enabled these groups to build
a core training and operational cadre.
Furthermore, Al-Qaeda veterans have planned several operations for
the groups, advised on their operational viability and even
provided mission-specific training (model training).
The armed Sunni organisation, Army of the Prophet's Companions
(Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, or SSP), openly advocates attacks on
Shi'a mosques and supports the murder of Shi'a community and
religious leaders. Several hundred Shi'as have been killed in SSP
attacks during the last 15 years.
Since the rise of the Taleban in Afghanistan, these attacks have
increased in intensity. SSP leaders accused of involvement in
assassinating leaders and conducting terrorist attacks against
civilians have taken refuge in Afghanistan and continue to operate
In response, the Shi'as built their own armed group - Army of
Mohammed (Sipah-e-Muhammad, or SM). SM has carried out retaliatory
attacks against Sunni preachers, including the murder of the SSP
The two main Sunni extremist parties are Sipah-e-Sahaba and its
underground splinter Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
From being a fringe group only two years ago, Sipah-e-Sahaba has
grown in mainstream popularity. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is responsible
for assassinating several prominent Shi'as last year. Both the
Sunni parties are on the offensive and have killed Shi'as in
Side by side with the Kashmiri groups, the two parties fight
against Indian security forces in Kashmir. Inside Afghanistan,
these two parties are responsible for some of the worst anti-Shi'a
killings. Lashkar's entire leadership is based in Kabul and its
members ran several training camps along with the Taleban and Al-
Of two dozen Kashmiri groups, Al-Qaeda has provided extensive
assistance to Harakat-ul-Mujahideen and to Jayashee Mohammed.
Today, the strength of these groups is estimated at 5,000 and 2,000
In addition to numerous attacks against the Indian military in
Kashmir, both these groups have conducted hijackings as well as
suicide attacks. Harakat-ul-Mujahideen is now recruiting outside
Kashmir in an effort to increase its operational reach and widen
For example, the Indian police have arrested a number of Assamese
Muslims trained in Harakat-ul-Mujahideen camps in Afghanistan. At
the behest of Al-Qaeda, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen provided weapons to
the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.
Several hundred Muslims from other Asian countries have trained in
Al-Qaeda camps. On their return to their own countries, however,
they have not initiated violent political campaigns.
Nonetheless, Al-Qaeda has maintained a list of their biographical
data obtained at the time of recruitment. In case of need, Al-Qaeda
may employ them as a reserve strike force or as helpers.
With the prospect of exploiting them and harnessing their resources
whenever there is a need, Al-Qaeda has developed a strategic depth
even in countries currently unaffected by conflict.
AN AL-QAEDA cell in New Zealand attempted to target a nuclear power
plant in Australia just before the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The plan
was detected and the two Al-Qaeda members are currently in
detention in New Zealand.
In the event Al-Qaeda seeks to conduct other operations in Asia, it
is likely that it will consider targeting non-Muslim countries, and
countries that have supported the US-led anti-terrorist campaign
would feature prominently.
Although Al-Qaeda attacks have killed Muslims, it would prefer not
to do so in the current environment. In that context, the threat to
countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines,
Singapore, South Korea and Japan is considerable.
However, considering the ease with which Al-Qaeda could mount an
operation in a Muslim country, or a country with a substantial
Muslim population, countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
and the Philippines become vulnerable.
In South Asia, South-east Asia and Central Asia, Al-Qaeda and Al-
Qaeda affiliate groups such as the IMU, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen,
Jayashee Mohammed and the Abu Sayyaf have staged several
operations. These include several bombings in Uzbekistan, Kashmir
and the Philippines.
Intelligence agencies assess Al-Qaeda also to have conducted
several unclaimed small- to medium-scale bombings in the
Philippines and Indonesia.
Al-Qaeda has also planned and prepared several operations that have
either been postponed or cancelled. For instance, Al-Qaeda members
in Singapore are believed to have been about to launch an
operation, but were stopped by Osama for a reason that is not yet
clear to outsiders.
There needs to be greater counter-terrorism cooperation and
coordination between Asian countries. Largely due to the Indo-
Pakistan conflict over Kashmir, there is little regional sharing of
information in South Asia.
In contrast, security, intelligence and judicial cooperation in
South-east Asia - especially within Asean - is making an impact.
The Philippines, having suffered from terrorism over the years,
leads the list.
The Chinese security and intelligence agencies are cooperating
primarily because of the Al-Qaeda threat to western China. Largely
due to arrests in Xinjiang, the Chinese service has developed
reasonably good intelligence on Al-Qaeda.
DECISIVE ACTION NEEDED
CONSIDERING the escalating threat facing Asia, it is important for
Asian governments to act decisively against Al-Qaeda.
Under pressure from the US-led campaign against Al-Qaeda, the
formal Al-Qaeda structures, established during Osama's time in
Sudan and Afghanistan, are likely to disintegrate. With the
increased threat to Al-Qaeda support and operational networks in
North America, Europe, East Africa and the Middle East, Asia is
likely to become its last bastion.
It is important that Asian states take pre-emptive action against
known Al-Qaeda members and supporters currently living in these
Had Malaysia disrupted the Al-Qaeda cell in Kuala Lumpur in Dec
2000 visited by one of the suicide hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar, Al-
Qaeda's multiple attacks against US targets on Sept 11 may have
been prevented. The cell Khalid visited was responsible for
planning and preparing the Al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in
Although Khalid was videotaped by a Malaysian surveillance team and
it was turned over to the Central Intelligence Agency, both
governments failed to arrest him. Malaysia believed that by
watching him, they would discover more about his associates in
Despite being put on a watch-list, the US Immigration and
Naturalisation Service did not detect Khalid's entry to the US.
Finally, he flew on the fatal American Airlines Flight 77 under his
own name to participate in the biggest terrorist attack in human