By Andrew T. H. Tan (auth.)
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Additional resources for Security Strategies in the Asia-Pacific: The United States’ “Second Front” in Southeast Asia
15 Eventually, three of the Bali bombers, Amrozi Nurhasyim, Ali Gufron, and Imam Samudra were sentenced to death in 2003 and executed in November 2008. Investigations revealed that there were other key ﬁgures involved in the Bali bombing, such as Azahari Husin, the JI’s top bomb-making expert who had assembled the Bali bombs; Noordin Mohammad Top, another bomb-maker and self-styled leader of the militant JI wing known as “Al Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago”; and electronics expert Dulmatin. 19 The violent militancy of a small minority of local Muslims, however, should not have come as a surprise, given the context of severe economic stress, social strains, and political instability in Indonesia during the late 1990s.
69 In sum, the JI has functioned very much like a Southeast Asian version of Al Qaeda. It has provided a revolutionary vanguard that has spread radical ideology and built a regional network of militants. This work of nurturing jihad has been surprisingly effective, the result being that the terror threat has evolved beyond the JI to encompass an amorphous swathe of radical groups and cells that subscribe to violent radical ideology and are ready to carry out terrorist attacks. Instead of posing a threat through a unitary, structured organization, the JI has evolved into a much more amorphous challenge through its loose networks and linkages among radical elements.
55 The arrests in both Poso and Java severely degraded the JI’s operational capabilities in Sulawesi and Maluku. Counterterrorism and the JI Since late 2001 hundreds of alleged JI operatives have been arrested throughout the region. S. custody. Hambali’s arrest was especially signiﬁcant as he had been involved in directing a number of terrorist attacks, including the Bali bombing in 2003, and was regarded as the Southeast Asian equivalent of Osama bin Laden. ”56 These arrests signiﬁcantly weakened the Al Qaeda–JI nexus in the region.