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Asean should unite vs IS, Abu Sayyaf—int’l security expert

/ 05:06 PM August 18, 2016
 Abu Sayyaf stronghold captured by Joint Task Force Basilan in intensive military offensives. Photo by CPIO WESTMINCOM

Abu Sayyaf stronghold captured by Joint Task Force Basilan in intensive military offensives. Photo by CPIO WESTMINCOM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Asean should confront Abu Sayyaf and Islamic State as a unified force because these terror groups have become a common threat to the region, said an expert on terrorism.

There was a need for the regional grouping to unanimously decide on action to be taken against these militant groups, said associate professor Dr. Aruna Gopinath, desk officer on South-East Asian Studies at the Centre for Defence and International Security Studies of Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia.

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A united stand is important especially against Abu Sayyaf, which has been recognized by Islamic State as “a caliphate in the region”, she said.

“Asean has to decide whether there is a need for a military offensive against the Philippine terrorist group.

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“We believe in the Asean non-interference policy but this is a common threat now because Abu Sayyaf is not just attacking Malaysia. It’s going everywhere from Thailand to Singapore and we don’t know what their next move is,” she said.

On the non-interference policy, Dr. Aruna said negotiations can only take place when you are able to talk to somebody but when diplomacy fails, “the ultimatum is war”.

“I believe if these people are not cooperating, we should go on the military offensive,” she said, referring to the recent rise in abductions by the group.

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf, ASEAN, Dr. Aruna Gopinath, IS, ISIS, Islamic State, regional security, Terrorism, terrorists
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