Fears are growing an Islamic State stronghold is emerging in Indonesia after 63 terror groups in the region pledged allegiance to the ISIS leader. Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has warned lives could be lost unless action is not taken. Mr Ryacudu is calling for the sharing of intelligence to be improved in order to protect the lives of civilians, The Australian reported.
Mr Ryamizard scheduled a meeting with Australian Defence minister Christopher Pyne in Jakarta on Thursday. He urged Australia to support Asia’s Five Eyes counter-intelligence initiative, called Our Eyes. Mr Ryamizard spoke to the public in Singapore last week, and states Our Eyes has the potential to ‘grow and surpass’ the Five Eyes intelligence initiative. He claimed the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan had agreed to join as regional partners, although it is unconfirmed whether there is a formal agreement.
Mr Pyne said he hoped his visit to Indonesia would expand counter-terrorism co-operation between Jakarta and Canberra. ‘The strategic environment also presents new opportunities for both countries to co-operate more,’ he said. ‘Militaries cannot defeat terrorism, but they can defeat terrorists. Australian and Indonesian military forces have provided support to law enforcement agencies domestically, and both have contributed to counter-terrorism efforts beyond their borders.’ In his speech, Mr Ryamizard said that intelligence sharing between the United States and Southeast Asia lead to the halt of terror plots.
US counter-terror operations foiled plots to fly drones filled with explosives into police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, carry out suicide attacks in the State Palace in Jakarta and fire a rocket at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Mr Ryamizard also said 63 groups in Southeast Asia pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Countries in Southeast Asia responded last year after ISIS inspired terror groups attacked the Philippines city of Marawai, leaving more than 1,000 innocent people dead. When he spoke at the Southeast Asia Counter-Terrorism Symposium last week, Mr Ryamizard said Sulawesi in Indonesia was the original target.