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Global Islamism Monitor - No. 39

Target: Manila;
Contextualizing ISIS' Afghan presence;
An incentive program for Palestinian terrorism;
England's enemy within

Edited by Ilan Berman and Rebekah Burgweger
May 31, 2017

Philippine officials are raising the alarm over what they view as an unprecedented influx of radicals affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group. In recent days, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte has waged a pitched battle with Islamic extremists in the country's south. While some of the radicals are homegrown (belonging to radical groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front), many are foreign fighters hailing from the nearby nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. This latter cadre has entered the country in significant numbers in what Philippine officials have termed an "invasion."

The renewed unrest buffeting the Philippines has raised worries in Manila that the country is now a significant focus of the Islamic State. "What's happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens," Solicitor General Jose Calida has told reporters. "It has transmogrified into invasion by foreign terrorists, who heeded the call of the ISIS to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq and Syria." (
Reuters, May 26, 2017)


The U.S. and Afghan governments are taking the offensive against the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The combined militaries of the two countries are said to have cumulatively killed some 750 ISIS extremists in the country in the past three months alone. By doing so, officials estimate, they have reduced the group's manpower and territory there by two-thirds. (
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 26, 2017)


During his recent visit to Washington, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace in his talks with President Trump. But new allegations suggest that Abbas' government is continuing to actively work toward the opposite outcome. According to one leading Israeli military expert, the Palestinian Authority has paid out $1.12 billion over a four year period to terrorists and their families. These payments function as salaries and are dispersed monthly, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and former chief of the army's intelligence and research division, has told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

In the past, Palestinian leaders have defended such payments as humanitarian in nature, and intended to assist the families of radicals "martyred" in the fight against Israel. But, Kupperwasser contends, the system is much more extensive - and more nefarious. The longer a terrorist remains in prison, "the higher the salary... Anyone who has sat in prison for more than 30 years gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month." The rewards, moreover, don't stop there. "When [the terrorists are] released, they get a grant and are promised a job at the Palestinian Authority," Kupperwasser noted, "[and] they get a military rank that's determined according to the number of years they've served in jail." (
Times of Israel, May 29, 2017)


In the wake of the May 22nd suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, England - a terrorist attack which claimed 22 lives - British authorities are working to unravel the contacts and networks of bomber Salman Ramadan Ibedi, with disturbing results. Britain's internal security service, known as MI5, has revealed that up to 23,000 potential jihadis now reside in the UK, with 3,000 of them under active investigation by law enforcement agencies. The scope of the problem has left British authorities taxed - and troubled. In the words of one official, "It is a balancing act - is the intelligence sufficient to push them up the list of priorities or should the focus be on someone else given the finite resources available?" In response, the British government has stepped up security around high profile potential targets, such as Parliament, and has put 27 of its leading hospitals and trauma centers on high readiness in anticipation of another terror incident. (London
, May 27, 2017)