Articles MILF

Jemaah Islamiyah (Analysis by Danjel L. Bout)

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Group Name: Jemaah Islamiyah

Principal ideology: Salifi Jihadist

Area of Operation: Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Philippines

Affiliated groups: Jamaah Anshurat Tauhid (JAT), Abu Sayyaf, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

Principal enemy: Indonesian Government

Tactics: Following the decimation of the organization’s leadership, JI senior leadership has focused on religious outreach. Several splinter groups oppose this shift in tactics and remain committed to violent attacks.


Executive Summary

The goal of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) is to create a Southeast Asian pan-Islamic State incorporating Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and portions of the Philippines and Thailand[1].

Historical Review

The antecedent of JI was an Indonesian Muslim militia that emerged in 1942 known as Darul Islam/Tentara Islam Indonesia (DI).[2] DI had its roots in Islamic resistance groups attempting to gain Indonesian independence from the Dutch Colonial government. Following Indonesia’s independence DI attempted to proclaim West Java as an independent Islamic State, but was crushed by the military of the fledgling Indonesian government. The first appearance of the name Jemaah Islamiyah can be traced back to the 1970’s, where it was used to describe proponents of Sharia law in Indonesia. In the 1980s Abu Bakar Bashir, an influential Islamic cleric that had fled Indonesia to avoid incarceration, gathered together exiled Indonesian Muslims and brought JI into being. In the late 1990s shifts in the political environment led to Bashir returning to Indonesia and heralded an increasingly violent operational philosophy. The apex of these violent attacks was the 2002 bombings in Bali, which resulted in 202 casualties.

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Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) (Analysis by Shawn Tupper)

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Group Name: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

Principal ideology: Ethno-nationalist Islamic separatist

Area of Operation: Southern Philippines

Leadership: Al Haj Murad Ebrahim

Affiliated groups: None Currently, Previously (publicly not since 2004) Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Abu Sayyaf Group

Principal enemy: Philippine government

Tactics: Insurgent but also traditional military tactics


The Moro (Muslim) Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is an ethno-nationalist religious insurgent group with approximately 11,000 members.[1] The MILF have previously used terrorist tactics to obtain control over their ancestral land in the Bangsamoro Region of Mindanao Island, located in the Southern Philippines[2]. The MILF is a more Islamic-focused nationalist group than their rival, the separatists-focused Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) insurgent group.[3] The MNLF was born out of long-held grievances harbored by Muslims living in the Southern Philippines. These grievances resulted from the displacement of the Moro people from their homes by Christian settlers on the island of Mindanao during four centuries of colonial rule.[4] The MILFs attempt at reclaiming their land from the Christian out-group is a classic example of the “in-group” (Moros) attempting to maintain “limited good” via land acquisition and honor restoration.[5][6]

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