Talking about terrorism is igniting wider discussions about fear, created by an individual or a group who ensconced within organisation, sectarian and religious affiliation. Certain struggle and ideology could be in a form of religious affiliation, anti-ethnocentric group, environmental society, and political purposes. The victims of terrorism are not just certain society but also relatively random. The target of attacks might be aimed on person or places, such as public space, mall, hospital, police station and even religious place.
Terrorism is not an ordinary crime. All crimes might inflict damage, but terrorism does not only cause physical damage but also mental and ideology. They increase the level of fear, injuring people, panic and, terrors. Those are just acts of showing off. Indeed, the political purpose with the diverse dimensions of the motive is what will become a more frightening ideological belief. In addition, terrorism as an extraordinary crime, has intimidate all countries by creating fears.
In 2017, many attacks continue to hit various countries including in Indonesia. The actors came from certain groups and networks, as well as with individual new pattern known as lone wolf. Target of attack varies from authority, public facility and common people. In global record of terrorism, in this year there were many forms of terror used by groups of terrorist as such shootings, hostage, bombing, suicide bombing up to truck or car collision which apparently is trending as a method of terror.
Then, what are the potential threats of terrorism in 2018? Of course we need to frame many aspects in analyzing potential ahead. However, escalation of terrorism in general is affected by the strength of its network in various territory. Therefore I would like to foresee this network map as a basis in predicting potential threats of terrorism in the future.
Terrorism After Osama bin Laden and Existence of Daesh
Discussion on terrorist network may focus on at least ten organizations which were existed or still in developing nowadays. There are as follows: al Qaedah Magribi (AQIM), Al Qaedah, Al Qaedah Arab Peninsula (AQAP), Taliban, Taliban Pakistan, Al Nusra Front, Boko Haram, Jamaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf and Lashar e Tayibah. After Osama bin Ladeen died, group of Al Qaedah which was only AQAP, al Shahab in Somalia, Al Qaedah Iraq and AQIM emerged dominantly, thus there are many claims on merging of terrorism network cells into Al Qaedah.
For instance AQIM, Jabhat al Nusra, Egypt radical group and Sinai Peninsula, Jund al Khilafah, IMU/IJU, LET, TTP from South Asia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Sahel in Mauritania Mali and Nigeria. Meanwhile since the establishment of ISIS, there are some developments of their network in Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Al Jazair, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Caucasus.
Although radical group movement works in clandestine and more likely local-domestic, the movement may have an impact on regional and global basis. Take al Shabaab Somalia for instance, in June 2017 aggressively attacked military headquarters and killed 70 people whereas in April 2015, this group attacked Garissa campus with 147 dead victims. Also Boko Haram, for 9 years only, this takfiri group could put 10,000 innocent people into extinction. In Indonesia, terrorist monstrosity had been recorded for attacking masjid, the house of Allah, a holy place for Muslims.
As a part of world community which takes the worst impact of act of terrorism, Indonesia should recalculate on terrorism activities during 2017. Countermeasures on terrorism with hard approaches have been done in parallel, sustainable and massive as soft ones. Domestic and homegrown across generation terrorism network has been identified and mapped. It is worth to be calculated that acts of terror in Indonesia is an inseparable account of radical movement on terrorism as in regional and global scope, using significant issues such as religion, social and economic oppression and marginalization.
In the writer’s record, at least in 2017, critical months of the highest terrorist attacks were in May to September. It was at top in July with 191 cases, in August with 177 cases, September with 107 cases. The number was decreasing at the end of the year. There were only 43 cases in October, 39 cases in November, and 31 cases before christmas 2017.
Meanwhile it was precisely reversed in the matter of victims. The highest injuries happened in May with 1,803 people, in June with 1,402 people. The highest death from terrorism occurred in November with 1,179 people, in May with 1,001 people, and January with 855 people. This is very different from when Osama bin Laden was alive where number of death was much higher compared to injured victims. The area or region which experienced the most attacks are Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia, when North America experienced the least terror.
With many defeats undergo by terrorist groups especially ISIS in Iraq, Syria, in Walayat Poso, Walayat Philippines, Marawi and the more networks in many countries were being revealed, and with the capture and the detection of terrorist network which crossing over from Magribi to many places in Europe, the writer tried to elaborate several possibilities of global, regional and domestic terrorism attacks with some predictions, as follows:
First of all, possibility of the birth of new sentiment caused by the evacuation of the nation’s capital of Israel against United States of America and its allies all around the world. This will bring out of sleep the so-called sleeping cells in the whole world, including Indonesia. Second, Al Qaeda which is more likely to lay low, will begin to move and emerge. Third, the defeat of ISIS will be a unique problem when the combatants return to their own country in clandestine mode. Fourth, radicals of Uighur tribe in China which has been spreading everywhere in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, combined into active cells, will be a significant impact if not handled immediately. Fifth, cooperation system between regional countries if not massively followed up with MoU, experience sharing and best practice, will be a security problem as well as Indonesia and Myanmar, Philippines, Malaysia etc. Sixth, dissemination of radical terrorism propaganda and credo on the Internet is still trending. This phenomenon should be monitored since there are a lot of people who are self-exposed by radicalization during their surfing time.
In facing some challenges ahead, there are several thoughts to look forward to.
First, soft approach program via deradicalization and contra-radicalization has been done. Hundreds of ex convicts of terrorism acts are returning back into Pancasila as the nation’s ideology. Nonetheless, senior figures of Indonesia Al Qaeda from al Jamaah al Islamiyah (JI), e.g. ex “amir darurat” or the ex highest leader al Jamaah al Islamiyah, ex Panglima Askari JI, NII figures, Laskar Jundullah etc, have been released, they are less provided with touch and attention. Some.of.them are refused to be covered by the media. However the state may not stop and only focus on mid-low level.
Second, there are Indonesian citizens who are involved in radical terrorism, in prison abroad as in Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Europe. They can be targeted with soft approach intensively. Therefore, strong cooperation between countries, particularly on deradicalization program is needed. The successful approach of deradicalization in Indonesia should provide impact to them abroad as well.
Third, existence of ex terrorism convicts across generation shall be kept in monitor and accompaniment for the implementation of soft approach, for instance, the existence of J Rose, ex leader of Mantiqi IV Parlindungan Siregar.
Fourth, intersectoral integrated handling on the phenomenon of the return combatants from Iraq and Syria is needed. This is an every state problem, hence there should be internal organization strengthening as well as strengthening for cooperation between countries in anticipating the return waves of those combatants.
Fifth, contra radicalization program involving all elements of society is important to be developed in order to suppress the dissemination of terrorism credo, doctrine and ideology into the society, moreover in the Internet. A cross-ministerial cooperation is needed by involving the society, particularly religious figures and organizations.