Leaders call for more intelligence sharing to combat ISIL
Australia’s prime minister has joined a growing number of Indo-Asia-Pacific leaders calling for more intelligence sharing among security officials to curtail the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) threat.
“From an Australian perspective, we see a real risk that terrorist groups in the region might be inspired by attacks such as we have seen in Ankara, Beirut, Bamako and Paris, and we are very mindful of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Australians visit Southeast Asia every year for business, study or holidays,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in November 2015, according to Reuters.
Just days before Turnbull’s comments, Saud Usman Nasution, head of Indonesia’s National Counter Terrorism Agency, made a similar plea. He asked neighboring Southeast Asian countries to “step up” intelligence sharing as concern grows about foreign fighters returning home. National security officials fear they could potentially execute a terrorist attack like the one in Paris on November 13, 2015.
“We have to anticipate returnees, and that must be done through cooperation and intelligence sharing with many countries in the region,” Nasution told Reuters. “If these countries have information about the movement of jihadis there, then it must be shared.”
Sounding the alarm to rally together isn’t the only measure these countries have taken.
While Turnbull said Australia has no plans to adjust its military strategy for battling ISIL, he recently ordered Australian law enforcement officers to review their readiness for responding to a mass casualty terror attack, according to Reuters.
Indonesian officials have increased security at foreign embassies in Jakarta, Reuters reported, and Nasution said citizens can expect to see more security and greater surveillance across Indonesia’s provinces.
“Some people here have the intention to launch an attack, so if they have the chance, they will do it,” Nasution told Reuters. “Our responsibility now is to minimize their chances.”
Indonesian authorities believe that between 400 and 500 of their citizens are fighting in Syria, according to the Financial Times newspaper.
Reuters reported that as many as 120 Australians could be fighting with ISIL and other violent extremist organizations in Iraq and Syria.