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9.

9
VOLUME

HUNGER TO ANGER IN
ACEH AND MINDANAO:

A POLITICAL

ECONOMIC
PERSPECTIVE
ON THE RESILIENCE OF

VIOLENT

RADICALISM
OCCASIONAL

PAPER

SEPTEMBER 2016

OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

02

HUNGER TO ANGER IN
ACEH AND MINDANAO:

A POLITICAL

ECONOMIC
PERSPECTIVE
ON THE RESILIENCE OF

VIOLENT
RADICALISM

VIOLENT RADICALISM
One consequence of the imbalance in the distribution of
wealth within the capitalist world-economy is the increased susceptibility
of peripheral states with significant Muslim populations
to the radicalizing influence of Islamist terrorism.

One intriguing puzzle in the realm of defense and security is


the resilience of violent radicalism.1 This years new wave of terror,
namely the series of bombings in Thamrin Street in Jakarta City,
Indonesia2; Hua Hin, Phang-nga, Surat Thani, Phuket, and Trang
provinces in Thailand3; and most recently, Roxas Avenue in Davao
City, Philippines4 reveal the continuing vulnerability of the Southeast
Asian region to homegrown and transnational terrorism. In light of
this fresh round of terror attacks, it is necessary to come up with
a fresh approach to explaining and addressing the resilience
of violent radicalism. This article uses the lens of international
political economy to meet three objectives:

to trace the relationship between weakening of state governance,


prevalence of poverty and economic underdevelopment, and
resilience of violent radicalism using Immanuel Wallersteins worldsystems theory;
to demonstrate the political economy-insurgency nexus by
examining the interplay of domestic separatism and transnational
Islamist terrorism in Aceh, Indonesia
to provide a critical reflection on President Rodrigo Dutertes
pivot to Mindanao strategy in light of the Aceh insurgency
experience
Image Credit: dunyanews.tv

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

* The views and opinions expressed in this Paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute.

OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

03

Reviewing the Westphalian Nation-State System


To understand the resilience of violent radicalism, we may
use the modern interstate system as the starting point of
analysis. The modern political system was born after the
Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the hostilities of
the Thirty Years War in Europe.5 The system rejected the
authority of the Roman Catholic Church over political units
and replaced the system of papal governance in the Middle
Ages with geographically and politically separate states
that recognized no superior authority.6 Under this system,
the rulers of the sovereign states enjoy equal legal rights,
namely: territory under their sole control, unrestricted control
of their domestic affairs, and freedom to conduct foreign
relations and negotiate treaties with other states.7
The Westphalian nation-state system was later exported
globally by the Western colonial powers beginning in the
Early Modern Period (ca 1500-1800) and transplanted in
non-Western societies as a consequence of the Wests
global exploration and empire-building activities.8 Since then,
the system has become the standard system of interaction
among independent territorial units across the world.9
Under the modern state system, the term state is defined
as a legal entity that comprises four elements: a permanent
population, a well-defined territory, a government,
and sovereignty.10 On the other hand, the term, nation
means a collection of people who, on the basis of ethnic,
linguistic, or cultural commonality, construct their
reality as to view themselves as members of the
same group, culminating in a single identity.11

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

The nation-state that is today the primary actor under


the Westphalian system implies a convergence between a
legally-defined state and the psychological identification of
people within that state.12 In reality, however, many states
are home to a multitude of coexisting nations.13 For example,
the Iraqi state rules over Sunni, Shia and Kurdish nations. In
some cases, nations are not states at all, owing to their lack
of sovereign power within their territories, such as the Native
Americans in the US, Sikhs in India or Basques in Spain.14
Francis Fukuyama articulates two dimensions to
the so-called stateness of the nation-state: scope and
strength. Scope refers to the various functions and goals
taken on by governments, while strength is defined as the
states institutional capacity to plan and execute policies
as well as to enforce laws cleanly and transparently.15
On the strength of a states institutional capabilities,
Fukuyama has several points for consideration. These are
the states ability to formulate and carry out policies and
enact laws; administrate efficiently and with a minimum of
bureaucracy; control graft, corruption and bribery; maintain
high level of transparency and accountability in government
institutions; and enforce laws.16 In Fukuyamas scheme,
a relatively strong state is one that is able to clearly define
its scope yet exercise considerable strength to effectively
implement public policies, notwithstanding the plethora
of competing private interests and multiplicity of
domestic- and external-driven pressures.

Structural Inequality in the Nation-State System


In principle, all nation-states enjoy the same legal rights,
such as having uncontested control over well-demarcated
territory as well as freedom of action to handle domestic
and foreign affairs. In reality, however, global power is
concentrated in the hands of a few nation-states with
highly effective civil and military bureaucracies as well
as technological capabilities. These states are better
capable of fostering an environment conducive
for capital accumulation for its firms.
To put this into perspective, Immanuel Wallerstein
advances a world-systems theory that provides
an alternative conceptual view of the world. His theory
subordinates relatively static nation-states to
relatively dynamic production processes, integrates
countries according to the international division of labor,
and places them into a three-tiered hierarchy,
namely core, semi-peripheral and peripheral
within the capitalist world-economy.17
Central to Wallersteins theory is the relational concept
of core and periphery. Core-like production processes
are those controlled by quasi-monopolies or firms which
enjoy relatively high levels of profitability.18 On the other
hand, peripheral production processes are those that are
competitive, and hence, suffer from relatively low levels of
profitability.19 In the act of exchange, quasi-monopolized
products are better positioned than competitive products.
In effect, the surplus-value constantly flows from the

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OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

04

producers of peripheral products to the producers


of core-like productsthereby leading to an unequal
exchange.20 These two production processes
lead to the emergence of two geographically and
culturally divergent yet interdependent regions,
core and periphery, with the former being laborintensive and the latter being capital-intensive.21
For Wallerstein, core states are those that
possess the lions share of core-like processes
within a given period of time. These states tend
to protect their quasi-monopolies of core-like
processes.22 Conversely, peripheral states are those
which contain a disproportionate share of peripheral
production processes and are highly disadvantaged
in the international division of labor.23 In the middle
are the semi-peripheral states or buffer states
that are challenged in moving up the development
ladder. Semi-peripheral states protect their
infant industries that export products to
peripheral zones and simultaneously import
advanced products from core zones.24

taxation and, when firms based within their state borders may
be affected, by choosing to use their power to affect the decisions
of other states.25 State leaders political decisions on these arenas
translate into state policies. These in turn impact the overall
domestic climate for wealth generation and redistribution, as well
as regulate the flow of trans-boundary transactions, namely
the movement of goods, capital and persons.26

Echoing Fukuyamas scope of state functions,


Wallerstein identifies several arenas wherein nationstates assert sovereignty over firms. States assert
their sovereignty by setting rules, such as on the
conditions under which commodities, capital, and
labor may cross their borders; on property rights; on
employment and the compensation of employees;
on which costs firms must internalize; on what kinds
of economic processes may be monopolized, and to
what degree. States also assert sovereignty through

More often than not, state leaders probability of success or


failure in implementing these policies is contingent on the institutional
strength of their state apparatuses. On the aggregate, the
outcome of state intervention in the market largely determines the
nation-states dominant production process, and hence, its
strategic positioning within the capitalist world-economy.
Here, Fukuyamas strong state is more institutionally adept at
supporting Wallersteins core-like production processes.
Conversely, a weak state is rigged with institutional impotence,
and hence, stuck with peripheral-like production processes.

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

Violent Radicalism as Revolt from the Periphery

Image Credit: sofrep.com

One consequence of the imbalance in the distribution of


wealth within the capitalist world-economy is the increased
susceptibility of peripheral states with significant Muslim
populations to the radicalizing influence of Islamist terrorism.
The combination of endemic institutional vulnerability and the
predatory nature of the ruling elite in peripheral states incapacitate
their pursuit of policies to kick-start the painstaking process of
industrialization. The failure of core processes to transfer to peripheral
from semi-peripheral and core-like states impedes peripheral states
capacity to generate employment opportunities, support sustainable
livelihood programs, reduce income inequality, and raise quality
of life. As a result, marginalized sectors of the peripheral states
populations become more prone to radicalization, especially by
Islamist insurgent groups that envision an alternative state of affairs
and promise a more equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity.

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For Ajai Sahni, Islamist terrorism is the most


destabilizing and lethal, and the one with the
greatest global impact.27 Islamist terrorism may
be defined as the overall militant movement of
members of mujahideen (Muslims doing the
jihad) to engage in violent acts against Western
[and non-Western] infidels in order to build a
new Islamic world order and re-establish the
Caliphate (great Arab-Muslim state).28
The Islamist ideological stream is a global
civilizational project with the grand ambition of
overhauling the interstate system at the bedrock
of the capitalist world-system. It aims to destroy
the core principle of the nation-state as the
universally-accepted political system as well
as the logic of capital accumulation which the
nation-state perpetuates.29 It is bent
on abolishing the bordered and stable nationstate and replacing it with a borderless and
ever-expanding Caliphate, especially in
regions with significant number of
disenfranchised Muslim populations.
Based on the latest Global Terrorism Index,
all of the five deadliest terror organizations in
the world in 2014 are Islamist. These
organizations are Boko Haram, ISIS, the Taliban,
Fulani militants, and Al-Shabaab.30 Four of
the five countries that suffered the highest
human casualties, namely Nigeria, Iraq,
Afghanistan, and Syria are failed states which
have become major operating bases of the
abovementioned Islamist organizations.

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

Source: Global Terrorism Index 2014

Source: Global Terrorism Index 2014

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Separatism and the Economic Exploitation of Aceh

election year of 1953 and sparked the Acehnese insurgency.39

The Aceh examples illustrates how the relegation of nation-states


into peripheral status may contribute to the resilience of violent
radicalism. In Aceh, the main cause of insurgency is the desire for
political autonomy from the central government in Jakarta. This
desire stems from the peoples adherence to a strong sense of
Acehnese cultural identity, a collective memory of struggle against
Dutch colonialism, and a distinct form of Islam.31 This historical
grievance is further compounded by the prevalence of poverty
and economic underdevelopment in the restive region.

The secularism-Islamism divide was further aggravated by


the issue of control over Acehs abundant natural resources.
The restive region lies atop vast fields of natural gas, gas
condensate, and oil. Kirsten Schulze lamented that, under former
Indonesian President Suhartos New Order based primarily on
the centralization policy and ideology of developmentalism, the
Acehnese enjoyed very little of the natural resource boom: from
1980 onward, Aceh contributed between $2 and $3 billion annually
to Indonesian exports but the bulk of revenues flowed to Jakarta
and then were redistributed to other parts of Indonesia.40 Only
a small amount of Acehs export surplus was recycled
through central government expenditure in the province.41

Indonesias history of the debt crisis may be traced back in the


1970s. During that decade, massive private foreign capital poured
into Asia, as Indonesia in general and Aceh in particular had vast
petrochemical assets to pay off the loans.46 Matthew Davies
notes that state-owned and state-supervised Pertamina firm took
the lead in exploiting Acehs resourcesPertamina represented
Jakartas intense corporate interests in northern Aceh, as it
became the beneficiary of the worlds single largest source
area for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and made up to
30% of Indonesian oil and gas exports.47

The discovery of gas in 1971 led to massive dislocation,


industrialization, pollution, the influx of foreign corporations,
urban-rural migration, the arrival of non-Acehnese workers,
enclave development in North Aceh, and the dispossession
of farmers and fisher folk.42 These phenomena altered Acehs
demographics, social fabric, and ecology. The developments
led to price hikes and endemic poverty which furthered
Acehnese belief that outsiders had gained a
disproportionate share of the benefits of industrial growth.43

Along with Pertamina, international firms equally played a


tremendous role in exploiting Acehs petrochemical assets:
US-based Mobil, forerunner to the merged Exxon-Mobil
corporation (ranked by The Ecologist as the largest firm on the
planet in 2001) held contractual rights for petrochemical exploration
of Aceh since December 1965.48 Moreover, international energy
interests in northern Aceh ventures extended to Japan,
South Korea (Poten.com.nd.), and in fertilizer production,
Malaysia (Petronas), Thailand, and the Philippines.49

Moreover, Luke Fletcher explains that Acehs natural


resources were of critical value because the revenues
helped service Indonesias overseas debts:44

To further complicate matters for Jakarta, Fletcher cites that less


favourable terms of trade developed, especially after the global
oil price shock in 1979.50 Under the Suharto regime, money from
foreign loans was invested unwisely.51 Domestic industry failed to
generate sufficient finances to pay for the governments increasing
levels of borrowing which led to the increase in Indonesias external
debt.52 Between 1970 and the late 1990s, Indonesias Gross

Aceh was the first independent and thriving Muslim Kingdom


established in Southeast Asia.32 By the 16th and 17th centuries,
the Sultanate of Aceh had expanded territorially, built an extensive
maritime trade network, and thrived as the center of Islamic culture
in the region.33 By 19th century, however, Aceh fell into the hands
of Netherlands, but the Acehnese continued to wage guerilla
warfare throughout the colonization period.34 The Japanese gained
control of Aceh in World War II, from 1942 to 1945.35 Following
the Japanese withdrawal, the Dutch reestablished the colonial
regime, leading to a renewed war for Acehs independence
within the newly established Republic of Indonesia.36
Shortly after Indonesia gained full independence from the Dutch,
however, the ideological rift between Aceh and the central
government in Jakarta grew, spilling over into the political sphere.37
The ulama or Islamic clerics, which at that time were the supreme
principle leaders in Aceh, wanted an autonomous Islamic State and
rejected the secular political vision and thrust of Jakarta.38 Such
disagreement between the advocates of secularism in Jakarta
and Islamism in Aceh reached dangerous proportions during the

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

In many respects, Jakartas rule was a debt regime, with


servicing of foreign debt taking an enormous toll on the
Indonesian economy. [...] Despite their pledges about

poverty reduction advertised to the general public,


international banking bodies made reliable profits for their
investors in the unequal relationship with the Jakarta regime.45

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National Product grew annually at 8.6%.53 Such gains, however, were


nullified by the continuing rise of Indonesian debt stocks; by 1996,
Indonesia owed over US$50 billion in foreign public debt.54

Although the Indonesian economy has shown signs of recovery in


recent years, the debt situation that began in the 1970s and 1980s,
and skyrocketed in the late 1990s, remained in place.55 Based on
2005 Bank of Indonesia figures, the Indonesian government had an
outstanding debt worth $151 billion, of which $76.9 billion is owed to
external creditors.56 Approximately $27.5 billion stems from bilateral
Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) lending (mainly
from Japan) while US$26.5 billion comes from multilateral ODA
lending (about a third each from the IMF, the World Bank and
the Asian Development Bank).57 Most of the remaining
$25 billion debt is owed to foreign export credit agencies.58
Jakartas combined centralization policy and ideology of
developmentalism on the one hand, and indebtedness as a
peripheral state to foreign corporate interests among core states
on the other hand, reduced the budget allocation for other critical
sectors. These sectors include health and education, both of
which could have significantly improved living standard and
facilitated upward social mobility of the ordinary Acehnese.59
The relative deprivation of the Acehnese of the revenues
generated from the exploitation of their finite vital natural resources
perpetuated endemic poverty and economic underdevelopment.
Along with identity and ideological issues, as well as other
historical grievances, Acehs economic exploitation provided
a compelling justification to rally the local population
behind the decades-long separatist movement.

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

The Aceh Insurgency


Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or Free Aceh Movement (GAM) emerged
as a secessionist movement for Aceh in December 1976 after its
founding father, Teungku Hasan di Tiro, issued the Declaration of
Independence of Aceh-Sumatra.60 GAMs ideology is one of national
liberation which is aimed at freeing Aceh from all forms of political
control of the foreign regime of Jakarta.61 GAM sees itself as the heir
of the proponents of anticolonial uprising against 1873 Dutch invasion
and subsequent occupation of the sovereign Sultanate of Aceh.62
It argues that Aceh did not voluntarily join the Republic of
Indonesia in 1945 but was illegally incorporated under
the rule of former Indonesian President Sukarno.63
In the economic realm, GAM harbored deep resentment against the
oil and gas industry. It viewed the industry as exploiting Acehs natural
resources and collaborating with the Indonesian military, because the
latter was securing premises and receiving funds for this service
from state oil company Pertamina.64 GAMs spokesman Isnander
al-Pase explained back in April 2003 that: Exxon-Mobil is a legitimate
target of war. Why? Because it helps the opponents military and
now Exxon is housing a military base within its complex. And the
people living next to Exxon tell us that they do not get
anything from Exxon while Exxon takes our oil.65
The insurgency movement underwent various phases of operation.
During the first phase (1976-1979), GAM produced and distributed
pamphlets to the Acehnese population outlining the movements
separatist aims and ideals.66 This led the Government of Indonesia
to suppress GAM through mass arrest, killing, exile, or incarceration
of GAM leaders and members.67 Between the first and second
phases, GAM underwent internal consolidation by developing
their ideological rhetoric, methods and strategy, sending their
members to Libya for military training, and garnering
support from the international community.68

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GAM resurged in its second phase (1989-1996).


Its fighters trained local volunteers, bought more
advanced military equipment, and launched
military campaign.69 In response, the Government
of Indonesia declared Aceh as Daerah Operasi
Militer (Military Operations Area or DOM) and
conducted intensive counter-insurgency operations
(i.e. interrogations, intimidation, arrests, and
indiscriminate killings) leading to the death or
capture of most of its top leaders and commanders
as well as civilians.70 Although the Government
of Indonesia announced in 1996 that its military
operations had succeeded in destroying GAM,
the insurgency regained traction by 1999,
expanding in both membership and territory.71
The so-called second revival of GAM is due
mainly to the failure of Jakarta to address the
underlying economic and social grievances of the
Acehnese.72 Succeeding developments such as
the Asian financial crisis in 1997, termination of
Acehs DOM status in 1998 and subsequent
withdrawal of Kopassus (Indonesian Special Armed
Forces), and the collapse of Suhartos authoritarian
New Order regime also in the same year precipitated
a shift in the countrys political atmosphere
towards [the possibility of] greater
accommodation of Acehnese interests.73
Indonesias transition to democracy raised hopes
among the Acehnese that at least some of the
major incidents during DOM would be investigated
and that the perpetrators be brought to justice.74
However, notwithstanding the formation of a special

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

commission, only five cases were investigated, of


which only one made it to the court.75 Hostilities
resumed when two more counterinsurgency
operations were launched, leading to more civilian
casualties and dashed hopes for peaceful resolution
of the Acehnese quest for political autonomy.76

On 26 December 2004, Aceh suffered from its
worst natural disaster in recently memory: a
powerful earthquake and then tsunami struck the
region and claimed more than 200,000 lives.77 The
natural disaster catalyzed the resumption of peace
talks between the Indonesian government and
GAM.78 After a series of rigorous negotiations, both
parties agreed to officially sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) on 15 August 2005.79
The MOU stipulated for GAM to decommission an
agreed number of weapons and to demobilize its
guerrilla forces.80 In turn, Indonesia would withdraw
its non-organic police and military, grant general
amnesty for GAM, provide compensation in the
form of money and land for GAM, compensate
the Acehnese population for the loss of property
resulting from the conflict, provide rehabilitation
program for GAM, change legislation to foster
the formation of local political parties, and set
up a truth and reconciliation commission.81
Today, the 2005 Helsinki Peace Agreement remains
in effect in Aceh, although it fell short in fully
integrating former GAM fighters into mainstream
society through sustainable livelihoods. Although
GAM members fought a war of national liberation

throughout most of its history of resistance against


Jakarta, a number of them gravitated towards
transnational terrorism under ISIS.

The Islamicization of Acehnese Insurgency?


ISIS rose to greater heights in 2014, finding
success in carving out territory in the heart of the
Middle East to seve as the citadel of its envisioned
Islamic Caliphate. Its relative success reinvigorated
the international jihadist movement and eclipsed
Al Qaeda for global jihadist leadership. During
its first two years, ISIS drew sympathizers from
more than 40 organizations in different
countries, including Indonesia.82
By early 2016, ISIS had formally incorporated
groups in eight countries, with a total of 15,000
fighters in addition from its own army in Iraq and
Syria.83 These groups were soon referred to by
ISIS as semi-independent wilayats or provinces
that expanded the groups geographic reach and
strategic depth.84 The wilayats, however, vary in
power and influence. In early 2016, the strongest
affiliates were located in Egypt and Libya.85 Those
which posed substantial threat to the stability of their
countries were in Yemen, Nigeria, and Afghanistan.86
Those in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the North
Caucasus, however, still lacked the military strength
and administrative power to hold territory.87
The success of ISIS and its wilayats bolstered some
remnants of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and radicalized

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other insurgents in Southeast Asia, particularly


those in Aceh. On 7 July 2015, for example, former
GAM combatants expressed their intention to join
ISIS given a lack of income or salary in their present
state.88 With 90 other GAM activists under his
command, Deputy Commander of Sagoe Fakruddin
a.k.a. Din Robot told that it is better to join
the ISIS group, especially considering the high
salary that is being offered.89 He also stated
that the peace deal had not benefitted everyone,
and many former GAM fighters could not
provide for their families basic needs.90
The 2015 formation of Katibah Nusantara, the
Southeast Asian wing of ISIS in Syria, composed
of Indonesian-speaking fighters, further raises the
specter of ISIS in Indonesia.91 Katibah Nusantara
provides a social network to help other Southeast
Asian recruits settle in Syria, undergo military
training, and build communication links with other
pro-ISIS groups.92 It is likely that ideologically
fortified and battle-hardened Katibah Nusantara
rebels may, at some point in the future, return to
Indonesia, reinforce the former GAM fighters and
other radical and ISIS-leaning groups, as well as
motivate self-radicalized individuals in the region.93
Jasminder Singh opines that, given the local
conditions in Aceh vis-a-vis economic, political
and ideological pull of ISIS, there is now the

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

possibility of Aceh becoming an ISIS wilayat


aside from Poso in Sulawesi.94

Poor Economic Status and Weak Institutions


as a Platform for Radicalism
The Aceh insurgency arguably demonstrates that
peripheralization within the capitalist world-economy
contributes to fomenting violent radicalism--whether
domestic or transnational--in fragile communities.
The inevitable flow of surplus-value from Aceh to the
US and other core states helps explain the endemic
poverty and economic underdevelopment of Aceh.
To complicate matters, the Suharto regimes
misallocation of borrowed funds to less productive
industries, along with the ballooning of public debt
reflected Indonesias institutional weakness to shield
the state from predatory interests from within and
renegotiate for a more equitable debt restructuring
with foreign lending institutions from without.
Ill-conceived industrial and fiscal policies
diminished state allocation for critical sectors
such as health and education, essential in
promoting human development.
Hence, the hollowness of the trickle down effect
in an unequal exchange between the core state

(US and other developed countries) and peripheral


state (Indonesia) as well as lack of equitable wealth
redistribution mechanisms and provision of basic
social services to the Acehnese helped fuel mass
discontent and gave rise to GAM separatists. These
insurgent groups exploited Indonesias stratification
in the capitalist world-economy to garner domestic
support and advance their radical political agenda.
Should the Indonesian government fail to address
endemic poverty and economic underdevelopment
in Aceh along with other social and political issues,
communal tensions will continue and ISIS may
exploit the opportunity to further spread its material
and ideological influence among some Acehnese
insurgents, co-opt the domestic insurgency
movement at least from a strategic perspective, and
gain a new territorial foothold upon which to launch
transnational terror attacks in Southeast Asia.

Critical Reflection on the Case of


Mindanao, Philippines
The Philippines draws many parallels with
Indonesia, particularly insofar as Moro separatism
and Islamist terrorism is concerned. Much of the
internal violence in the Philippines is caused by
the previous failure of the predominantly Christian

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Filipino polity to address the historical grievances of Bangsamoro


Muslims in Mindanao.95 Distinguishing themselves on the basis
of their unique ethno-religious Muslim identity, the Bangsamoro
endured persistent attempts of the Spanish, then the Americans
and finally the Catholic Filipinos to assimilate them into the
wider Philippine political, economic and societal framework.96
Their mass disenfranchisement became more pronounced under
the regime of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos who
explicitly enacted the state policy of transmigration that dramatically
altered the demographic balance in Mindanao.97 Such state policy
systematically expelled the Bangsamoro from huge tracts of their
so-called ancestral lands throughout Mindanao, paving way to the
influx of mostly Christian Filipinos from Luzon and Visayas.98
Further exacerbating the situation were the actions of Christian
vigilantes who committed numerous acts of violence against
local Muslim populations, often with the direct support of state
security forces.99 The confluence of such historical factors
coupled with endemic poverty and economic neglect by the
Manila-based central government ingrained a deep sense
of oppression and victimization among the Bangsamoro
which eventually sparked the armed rebellion in 1972.100

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

University of the Philippines professor, the MNLF desires to achieve


political autonomy as essential precondition for the implementation
of Islamic institutions in a future Bangsamoro republic.101
The MNLF launched a protracted guerilla war against the Philippine
government that lasted until 1996, when Misuari agreed to
sign a peace deal with former President Fidel Ramos
dubbed as the Davao Consensus.102
The consensus led to the creation of a limited Autonomous Region
of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) consisting of four (4) noncontiguous
provinces: Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur,
including the city of Marawi.103 In addition, the agreement
called for the creation of a wider Special Peace and Development
Council (SPDC) which is tasked to implement and oversee
infrastructure development in all 14 provinces of Mindanao.104
The MNLF governed the ARMM while Misuari
assumed chairmanship of SPDC.105

Fractures in Philippine Insurgency

The dual tracks of political autonomy and economic development


of the Davao Consensus, however, failed to bring about lasting
peace and prosperity in the ARMM.106 Manilas persistent
interference in the autonomous regions affairs stripped
the arrangement of any credible claim to self-rule while
corruption and financial mismanagement at the hands of
both the MNLF and the central government eroded
the institutional capability and legitimacy of SPDC.107

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was the first insurgent
group to carry out the Moro struggle for self-determination.
Established in 1969 by Nur Misuari, an ethnic Tausug and former

The dubious success of the consensus later on stirred an intense


debate within the MNLF leadership, eventually resulting in the
emergence of two competing blocsboth seeking the full

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implementation of the 1996 accord but employing


different tactical approaches.108 The mainstream
MNLF has continued to pursue its aims within
the sphere of the Philippine political process.109
The dissident faction, referred to as the Misuari
Breakaway Group (MBG), has reverted to armed
struggle to violently secure its political objectives.110
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was
the second insurgent group to push for selfdetermination of the Moros. Founded in 1984
by Hashim Salamat, the MILF emerged as a
breakaway group of MNLF owing to ideological
and ethnic differences.111 Originally, MILF called
for the creation of an independent Islamic state
to be governed by Sharia Lawin all areas
of Mindanao where Muslims have traditionally
been in the majority.112 This is contrary to the
largely secular and nationalist goals of MNLF.
Furthermore, the MILF is mostly composed of
Maguindanaons, and to a lesser extent, Maranaons,
who reside in mainland Mindanao, particularly in
the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.113
In contrast, the MNLF has traditionally been led by
the Tausugs who hail from the Sulu archipelago.114
Over the years, the MILF has scaled down its
political aspiration from secession to autonomy.115
Furthermore, it has downplayed the Islamization
aspect of its agenda and shifted its focus
to the advancement of the political and
economic interests of the Moros.116

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

The dual tracks of political autonomy


and economic development
of the Davao Consensus, however,
failed to bring about lasting peace
and prosperity in the ARMM.
Acknowledging that comprehensive self-rule was the most realistic
outcome in any political negotiation with Manila, Al Haj Murad
Ebrahim, successor of Salamat, committed to a mutual cessation
of hostilities agreement in 2003 (monitored by a 59-strong
Malaysian-led international monitoring team) and vowed to crack
down on renegade commanders who either violated
the truce or engaged in actions that contravened its terms.117
In November 2007, the MILF and the Philippine government
reached an agreement on a number of consensus points that laid
down the framework for the creation of the so-called Bangsamoro
Judicial Entity (BJE). The BJE would be a newly envisioned
autonomous region for Muslims within the constitutional ambit
of the Philippine state.118 However, the operationalization of BJE
stalled as the Philippine Supreme Court declared the 2009 signing
of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoAAD)that determined the metes and bounds of ancestral domains

to demarcate the territorial extent of the proposed entityfully


unconstitutional.119 This led to a new round of hostilities between
the AFP and hard-line MILF base commands.120
In March 2014, the MILF and the Philippine government went
back to the negotiating table and signed the Comprehensive
Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).121 The CAB would serve
as the basis for implementing the proposed Bangsamoro Basic
Law (BBL)a law that will give birth to a new Bangsamoro political
entity which will supersede the ARMM.122 Notwithstanding the hard
lobbying of MILF and Malacanang to pass the BBL before the
end of President Benigno Aquinos term in 2016, Philippine Congress
failed to pass the bill due to incompatibilities between the
Senate version and the Office of the Presidential Adviser
on the Peace Process (OPAPP) versions of the bill.123

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OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

12

Currently, both the MNLF and the MILF have existing


peace agreements with the Philippine government,
namely the Davao Consensus of 1996 and CAB
of 2014, respectively. The CAB will pave way for a
new autonomous Bangsamoro region in Mindanao
that will supplant the ARMM, the by-product of
the Davao Consensus, raising concerns that the
MNLF might be marginalized in the newly proposed
political setup. To address this, both the MILF and
the MNLF agreed to conduct negotiations under
MILF-MNLF Bangsamoro Coordination Forum
(BCF) brokered by the Organization on Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) to find a common ground
between the peace agreements entered into by
the two insurgent groups and synergize their
efforts to achieve long-term political solution
to the decades-old Moro question.124

Dutertes Pivot to Mindanao Strategy:


Will it Work?
Despite the positive developments between the
MNLF and MILF, however, splinter groups continue
to reject any peaceful dialogue with Manila that
would lead to autonomy and insist on continuing
the protracted armed struggle for independence
from the Philippine government. On the side of MILF,

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

the most notorious of which is Commander Umbra


Katos Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)
which expressed open opposition to peace talks.125
On the side of MNLF, former ARMM Governor Nur
Misuaris Misuari Breakaway Group (MBG) is the
most vocal that he even attempted self-declaration
of independence of a Bangsamoro Republik
in Zamboanga City in August 2013.126
The most alarming development in Mindanao
insurgency has been the pledging of Filipino jihadist
leaders Isnilon Hapilon (Abu Sayyaf Group), Abu
Annas Al Muhajir (Katibat Ansar al Sharia), and Abu
Harith Al Filibbiendi (Katibat Marakah al Ansar) to
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, followed by ISIS
recognition of Hapilon as the new leader of the
Harakatul Islamiyah (Islamic Movement), the new
name of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).127
Some international terrorism experts such as Rohan
Gunaratna argue that the political and military
consolidation of these terror groups into a single
force under Hapilon shall serve as the prelude to the
declaration of an ISIS wilayat in Southeast Asia.128
Upon assuming office, President Rodrigo Duterte
promised to resolve the so-called Mindanao
insurgency problem once and for all. He expressed
his intent on pursuing a dual-track approach to

the insurgent movements in Mindanao. On the


one hand, he sought to uphold the existing peace
processes in preparation for the establishment of a
new autonomous Bangsamoro region. On the other,
he gave marching orders to escalate the Philippine
governments war against the Islamist terrorists,
particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Duterte viewed the first two insurgent groups as
legitimate entities with ethno-nationalist aspirations,
which the Philippine government could deal with
through political negotiations to forge lasting peace
in the war-torn region. At the same time, he
viewed the third group as peace spoilers or
criminal gangs. For this group, he has adopted a
heavy-handed approach making use of
intensified military and police operations.
Will Dutertes dichotomization approach to the
political-security aspect of Mindanao insurgency
problem lead to long-term peace and stability?
Using Wallersteinian lens, for so long as the
Philippines is in a structurally disadvantaged
position as mere host of peripheral production
processes within the capitalist world-system, the
insurgency problem will remain and merely undergo
series of revivals and permutations. In other words,
as long as Mindanao remains a peripheral region

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OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

13

devoid of employment-generating and high-value-added industries


and loosely integrated into the dynamic global economy, endemic
poverty and economic underdevelopment will persist in the region.
As a result, disenfranchised sectors of the Mindanaoan population
who lack access to basic social services and decent economic
opportunities for upward social mobility will more or less
continue to gravitate to either domestic or transnational terrorist
movements, promising short-term, lucrative sources of income
albeit from illicit activities, such as kidnap-for-ransom,
human and arms trafficking, and drug trade.
Nevertheless, Dutertes recent pronouncements may be a
source of cautious optimism: his renewed emphasis on
manufacturing, agriculture and tourism to support his bid for
nationwide industrialization and shift to parliamentary-federalism
is a welcome development, especially for the political economic
aspect of the Mindanao insurgency. A clear departure from the
Aceh case, the Philippine governments new developmental
thrust may hold one of the keys to drastically mitigating, if not
totally ending, the perpetual cycle of violence in the region. By
fundamentally restructuring the countrys political economy at the
macro-level and generating domestic jobs and enterprises at the
micro-level particularly on the countryside, Duterte is arguably wellpositioned to facilitate the Philippines transition from the peripheral
to semi-peripheral status at least in the short- to medium-term.

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

Recommendations
To ensure the success of the countrys transition to semi-peripheral
status, the Philippines should simultaneously expand its functional
scope and strengthen its institutional capabilities. In other words,
it ought to assume more activist roles (i.e. industrial policy-making
and wealth redistribution), and at the same time, strengthen
the administrative capacity of its envisioned decentralized state
agencies. As the Manila-based central government devolves its
administrative functions to the future federal states, it must put
in place new systems of transparency and accountability--similar
to what New Zealand did after enacting liberalization reforms
in mid-1980s--to ensure inclusive growth for all federal states
and curb corruption and financial mismanagement by provincial
bureaucratic elites. The Duterte administration ought
to prevent the repeat of the SPDC scandal which
undermined the spirit of the Davao Consensus.
Already during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA),
Duterte fleshed out his developmental plans to boost the local
economy of Mindanao and further integrate the region into
the greater Philippine political economy. These include the
implementation of Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network
and other road network master plans, the improvement of the
countrys cyber infrastructure through the National Broadband Plan,
the introduction of free irrigation to farmers and modern harvest
and postharvest facilities, and the reduction of red tape within
government bureaucracy.129 It remains to be seen whether or not
his plans will materialize. It should be noted, however, that the
success or failure of his industrialization and federalization initiatives
for the national economy will have repercussions directly on the
socio-economic well-being of the Mindanaoan population,
and indirectly, on the self-reproduction of both homegrown
and transnational terrorism in Mindanao.

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OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

14

Conclusion
Over the past years, violent radicalism has shown significant level of resilience albeit the previous military, political
and diplomatic efforts of concerned nation-states. This perennial defense and security issue has been explained
mostly from the perspective of strategic or cultural studies often with divergent starting points of analysis,
assumptions, and predictions. However, the corpus of knowledge from international political economy
in general and Wallersteins world-systems theory in particular provides a fresh new way of understanding the
entire phenomenon of resilience of violent radicalism. Its due emphasis on the structural inequality of the
Westphalian nation-state system which is the logical by-product of the capitalist world-system reveals
that underlying socio-economic drivers help sustain local and global insurgency movements.
While counterinsurgency operations to decapitate enemy leadership as well as degrade and destroy remaining terror
infrastructure/networks may successfully neutralize the terror threat in the short-term, there is no guarantee that
the reestablished societal normality will remain so in the medium- or long-term. Relative institutional weakness to
alleviate endemic poverty and economic underdevelopment in the peripheries of already peripheral nation-states
usually aggravate unresolved political and ethno-cultural tensions, as the case of Aceh, Indonesia would show.
Faced with a similar problem within its own backyard, the Philippines must therefore strengthen the state (widen its
functional scope and boost its institutional capabilities in a decentralized federal structure) to effectively pursue its
twin goals of industrialization and federalization. This will facilitate the countrys transition into semi-peripheral status,
complement the ongoing peace talks with the MNLF and MILF and counterinsurgency operations with
the ASG, and eventually address the socio-economic underpinnings of insurgency in Mindanao.

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

www.stratbase.ph

OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

15

endnotes

Violent radicalism or terrorism is defined by Prof. Peter Neuman (2010) in
The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Political Thought as any political ideology that
opposes a societys core values and principles and is later on imposed through the
brutal use of force. Here, terrorism may be understood as a synergy of fundamentalist
theory and violent praxis, a proactive negation of the existing economic, political and
social order. Peter. Neuman, Prisons and Terrorism Radicalisation and De-radicalisation in 15 Countries, A policy report published by the International Centre for the Study
of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), (2010), 12.

19

Ibid.

Marianne Heiberg et al. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007, p. 85.

20

Ibid.

41

Ibid.

42

Ibid.


Walter L. Golfrank, Paradigm Regained? The Rules of Wallersteins
World-System Method, Journal of World-Systems Research (2000), Vol. 6 N.2, pp.
150-195.

21


Amnesty International, Shock Therapy: Restoring Order in Aceh, 19891993, London: Amnesty International, 1993, p. 4.

43

22

Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduciton, p. 29.


Jakarta attacks: Bombs and gunfire rock Indonesian capital, BBC
News, 14 January 2016, accessed 18 April 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/worldasia-35309195.

23

Ibid.

24

Ibid.

45


Kocha Olarn et al., Thailand rocked by 11 bombs in one day, CNN Asia,
12 August 2016, accessed 04 September 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/12/
asia/thailand-explosions/.

25

Ibid, p. 46.

46

26

Ibid.


At least 14 killed as blast rocks night market in Davao City, CNN Philippines, 04 September 2016, accessed 07 September 2016, http://cnnphilippines.com/
regional/2016/09/03/Blast-night-market-Davao-City.html.

27


Charles W. Kegley, Jr., Interpreting World Politics, World Politics: Trend
and Transformation, 12th edition, California: Cengage Learning, 2009, p. 12.

28

Ibid.

Ibid.


European Colonialism, Essential Humanities, accessed 18 November
2015, http://www.essential-humanities.net/history-supplementary/european-colonialism/.


Charles W. Kegley, Jr., Interpreting World Politics, World Politics: Trend
and Transformation, 12th edition, California: Cengage Learning, 2009, p. 12.


Ajai Sahni, Terrorism and the Global Powershift, Terrorism in South and
Southeast Asia in the Coming Decade, ed. by Daljit Singh, New Delhi: Macmillan Publishers India Ltd., 2009, p. 13.

Jeffrey Alexander, From the Depths of Despair: Performance, Counterperformance, and September 11, Sociological Theory, 22(1), 2004, pp. 88-105;
Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.

Sasha Safonova, Relevance of the Westphalian System to the Modern
World, Article Myriad, 15 January 2012, accessed 09 September 2014, http://www.
articlemyriad.com/relevance-westphalian-system-modern-world-sasha-safonova/.

29


Rose Troup Buchanan, ISIS overtaken by Boko Haram as worlds deadliest terror organization, Independent, 18 November 2015, accessed 19 November
2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/boko-haram-overtakes-isisas-worlds-deadliest-terror-organisation-a6737761.html.

30

10

Ibid.

11

Ibid.

Ibid.

32

Ibid.

33

Ibid.

34

12
13
14


Robert Shaw, Acehs Struggle for Independence: Considering the Role
of Islam in a Separatist, Al Nakhlah (2008): 2, accessed 20 May 2016, http://fletcher.
tufts.edu/~/media/Fletcher/Microsites/al%20Nakhlah/archives/pdfs/Aceh.pdf.

31

Ibid, 2.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid, 3.

Ibid.


Francis Fukuyama, The Missing Dimensions of Stateness, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2004, p. 7.

35


Francis Fukuyama, The Missing Dimensions of Stateness, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2004, pp. 8-9.

37

Ibid.

38

Ibid.


Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction, Durham
and London: Duke University Press, 2004, p. 23-24.

39

Ibid, 4.

15

16

17

18

Ibid, p. 28.

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

36


Kirsten E. Schulze, GAM: Indonesia, GAM, and the Acehnese Population
in a Zero-Sum Trap, Terror, Insurgency, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts, ed.

40


Matthew N. Davies, Indonesias War over Aceh: Last stand on Meccas
porch, New York: Routledge, 2006, p. 15.

44

Ibid, pp. 15-16.


Luke Fletcher, A Debt for Development Swap in Indonesia, Jubilee Australia (2007): 5, accessed 06 September 2016, file:///C:/Users/Mark%20Davis/Downloads/Debt2Health_PolicyPaper.pdf.

Matthew N. Davies, Indonesias War over Aceh: Last stand on Meccas
porch, p. 13.

47

48

Ibid.


Matthew N. Davies, Indonesias War over Aceh: Last stand on Meccas
porch, p. 13.

49


Luke Fletcher, A Debt for Development Swap in Indonesia, Jubilee Australia (2007): 5.

50

51

Ibid.


International NGO forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), Debt Swaps
for Indonesia: A Proposal for Their Affectiveness, INFID, 2006, pp 1-2.

52


Luke Fletcher, A Debt for Development Swap in Indonesia, Jubilee Australia (2007): 5.

53

54

Ibid.

55

Ibid.

56

Ibid.

57

Ibid.

58

INFID, Debt Swaps for Indonesia, p 4.

59

Ibid.


Mohammad Hasan Ansori, From Insurgency to Bureaucracy: Free Aceh
Movement, Aceh Party and the New Face of Conflict, Stability: International Journal of
Security and Development (2012): 32.

60


Kirsten E. Schulze, GAM: Indonesia, GAM, and the Acehnese Population
in a Zero-Sum Trap, Terror, Insurgency, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts, p.
86.

61

62

Ibid.

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OCCASIONAL PAPER SEPTEMBER 2016

16

Ibid.

Ibid, p. 95.

Ibid.

63
64
65


Mohammad Hasan Ansori, From Insurgency to Bureaucracy: Free Aceh
Movement, Aceh Party and the New Face of Conflict, Stability: International Journal of
Security and Development (2012), 33.

66


Dozens of Former GAM Fighers in Aceh Plan to Join ISIS,
Tempo.co, 07 July 2015, accessed 02 May 2016, http://en.tempo.co/read/
news/2015/07/07/055681771/Dozens-of-Former-GAM-Fighters-in-Aceh-Plan-toJoin-ISIS.

88


Jasminder Singh, Luring Southeast Asian Fighters to IS: The Case of
Former GAM Fighters, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Commentary
(2015), accessed 03 May 2016, file:///C:/Users/Admin/Downloads/CO15157.pdf.

90

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

92

Ibid.

93

Ibid, 34.

94

Ibid, 33-34.

95

67
68
69
70
71
72
73


Kirsten E. Schulze, GAM: Indonesia, GAM, and the Acehnese Population
in a Zero-Sum Trap, Terror, Insurgency, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts, pp.
85-86.

74

Ibid.

89


Joseph Chinyong Liow, ISIS in the Pacific: Assessing Terrorism in Southeast Asia and the Threat to the Homeland, (testimony presented before the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Committee on Homeland Security, United
States House of Representatives, Washington D.C., 27 April 2016).

91


Peter Chalk et al., The Evolving Terrorist Threat to Southeast Asia, RAND
National Defense Research Institute (2009): 33, accessed 20 May 2016, http://www.
rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG846.pdf.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid, 33-34.

96

Ibid.

100

Ibid, p. 110.

101

Ibid.

102

Ibid, pp. 110-111.

103

Ibid, 34.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid, 35.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

104
105

Ibid.

106

Ibid.

107

Ibid.

108

Ibid.

109

Ibid.

110

83
84
85
86
87

C 2016 ADRiNSTITUTE for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

Ibid.

Ibid, 38.

Ibid.

Ibid, 39.

Ibid.

Ibid, 40.

117
118


Highlights: Signing of the Bangsamoro, Rappler, 27 March 2014, accessed 20 April 2016, http://www.rappler.com/video/specials/53996-signing-of-thebangsamoro-cab.

Ibid, p. 108.


Bardia Rahmani and Andrea Tanco, ISISs Growing Caliphate: Profiles
of Affiliates, Wilson Center, 19 February 2016, accessed 29 April 2016, https://www.
wilsoncenter.org/article/isiss-growing-caliphate-profiles-affiliates.

116

Ibid.

82

Ibid, 37.

99

81

115

Ibid.

98

80

Ibid, 37-38.

Ibid.

79

114

120

78

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid, p. 86.

77

113

76

Ibid, 37.

112

119

97

75

111

121

122

Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Primer on the Proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Philippine Government.
123

Jeoffrey Maitem et al., Congress adjourns, fails to pass BBL, Inquirer.
net, 04 February 2016, accessed 20 April 2016, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/761319/
congress-adjourns-fails-to-pass-bbl.
124

Rohan Gunaratna, Annual Threat Assessment, RSIS Counter Terrorist
Trends and Analysis (2016): 30, accessed 20 May 2016, https://www.rsis.edu.sg/wpcontent/uploads/2014/07/CTTA-January-2016.pdf.

Ibid.

Ibid.

125
126


Moh Saaduddin, Abu Sayyaf rebels pledge allegiance to ISIS, The Manila
Times, 11 January 2016, accessed 29 April 2016, http://www.manilatimes.net/breaking_news/abu-sayyaf-rebels-pledge-allegiance-to-isis/.
127

128

KD Suarez, ISIS recognizes Philippine-based extremist groups, Rappler, 17 February 2016, accessed 19 February 2016, http://www.rappler.com/
nation/122649-jihadist-groups-allegiance-isis.
129

Full Text: President Dutertes first State of the Nation Address, Inquirer.
net, 25 July 2016, accessed 06 September 2016, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/799060/
full-text-president-rodrigo-duterte-first-sona-state-nation-address-2016.

www.stratbase.ph

9.8
VOLUME

ABOUT
Mark Davis M. Pablo
is a Research Analyst at the ADR Institute. He graduated Cum Laude from
the Ateneo de Manila University in 2012 with a bachelors degree in Political
Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining the ADR Institute, Mr. Pablo
specialized in Strategic Studies. He began his career as a Defence
Researcher/Analyst in the Office for Strategic Studies and Strategy
Management (OSSSM), the think tank of the General Headquarters,
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from 2013 to 2015. During his
two-and-a-half year stint, he engaged in strategic research, analysis and
assessment, policy formulation, event organizing, academic lecturing, and
public relations for the armed forces. His fields of interest include: Chinas
defence and foreign policy; South China Sea conflict; maritime security;
ASEAN multilateral security and defence cooperation; and terrorism
and political violence in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Stratbases Albert Del Rosario Institute


is an independent international and strategic research
organization with the principal goal of addressing the
issues affecting the Philippines and East Asia
9F 6780 Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Philippines 1200
V 8921751
F 8921754
www.stratbase.ph
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