Is the Islamic State a “Geopolitical Tool”? US Looks to Southeast Asia to Unleash Its ISIS-Daesh Hordes | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Is the Islamic State a “Geopolitical Tool”? US Looks to Southeast Asia to Unleash Its ISIS-Daesh Hordes

Western think tanks have been increasingly busy cultivating a narrative to explain the sudden and spreading presence of militants linked or fighting under the banner of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) across Southeast Asia.

This narrative – these think tanks would have audiences believe – entails militants fleeing Syria and Iraq, and entrenching themselves amid supposedly sectarian conflicts in Southeast Asia. The think tanks conveniently never mention how tens of thousands of militants are funding the logistical feat required to move them to Southeast Asia or sustain their militant operations in the region once they arrive.

Among these think tanks is the so-called International Crisis Group (ICG). In its report, “Jihadism in southern Thailand – A phantom menace,” it claims:

The decline of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the advent of ISIS-linked violence in South East Asia evince the possibility of a new era of transnational jihadist terrorism in the region.

Recurring, albeit unsubstantiated, reports about ISIS activity in Thailand have prompted questions about the vulnerability of the country’s Muslim-majority deep south and, in particular, its longstanding Malay-Muslim insurgency to jihadist influence.

While ICG claims that “to date” there is no evidence that ISIS has made inroads in southern Thailand, it warns:

But the conflict and a series of ISIS scares in Thailand are fanning fears of a new terrorist threat. Such fears are not irrational, though they are largely misplaced and should not obscure the calamity of the insurgency and the need to end it.

Direct talks between insurgent leaders and the government are a priority; a decentralised political system could help address the principal grievances in the south while preserving the unitary Thai state.

In essence, ICG is warning of a crisis it itself admits is unlikely, then recommends that Bangkok pursue a course of action it already is taking – talking with militant leaders in its southern most provinces.

The lengthy ICG report – in reality – is just one of many reoccurring and premeditated attempts to place the notion of ISIS militancy taking root in Thailand into the realm of possibility. Just as the US and its allies have used ISIS as a geopolitical tool elsewhere in the world, and more recently, in Southeast Asia itself – particularly in the Philippines – a longstanding US goal in Thailand is to find and exploit sociopolitical and sectarian fault lines across which to divide, destroy, and control the Thai state.

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