Rise of ISIS concerns Asia-Pacific

Rise of ISIS concerns Asia-Pacific
File photo of ISIS supporters.

The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) concerns everyone, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) commander said.

Delivering his speech at the reception for Chiefs of Defence Conference 2014, Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Paduka Seri Mohd Tawih Abdullah said three security concerns will set the mood for the conference including extremism.

He said extremism and radicalism have been at the forefront following the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the Asia-Pacific region was not immune to implications of ISIS's rise.

"ISIS soiled its roots in the Middle East, but nevertheless it's gained traction in the region via the spread of radical Islamic ideology from extremist movements such as Jemaah Islamiyah.

"Radicalisation has spread its claws to the West - and the challenge for anyone of us is its ability to attract our citizens. For example about 1,000 jihadist militants fighting in Iraq and Syria were drawn from Western nations with estimated numbers as high as 3,000," added Pehin Major General Dato Mohd Tawih.

He further said the Ebola virus is another international security concern due to its high mortality rate.

"In the fight against the virus, military efforts have been considered by the United States, United Kingdom and also a consideration for countries such as Australia and Philippines."

The commander went on to say that the region, which mostly comprised developing countries, relies on collective capacity to recover from natural disasters, as evident in the 2004 tsunami and Typhoon Haiyan.

"Natural disasters and transnational crimes are becoming a challenge lately, and military aid to civilian authorities has fallen upon our respective armed forces to assist in subduing situations."

"Be it in robust counter-terrorism operations, aid to disaster-struck areas; our capabilities have proven to be assets as these operations bring more complexity than we are traditionally trained for."

The RBAF commander said the intensity of the three threats was capable of creating havoc regionally more so than individual states.\

"Therefore assistance in whatever forms such as intelligence, experience to assist or deal with a crisis would be a much welcomed endeavour," he said.

The RBAF commander said effective cooperation can synchronise efforts to tackle threats and protect their countries' interests - to thrive politically and economically.

"The pressures we face today are greater than ever before as our nation calls upon the military to conduct multiple combat operations, counter-terrorist threats and deal with more inter-agency operations."

"There is so much we can learn from each other but the first step to any effective collaboration first starts with getting to know one another and finding the crucial common ground to work together."

The conference is themed 'Multilateralism Practical Cooperation towards Shared Responsibility', which Pehin Major General Dato Mohd Tawih found fitting as he believed multilateralism could be the solution to addressing issues.

The three-day conference, which starts today, was initiated in 1998 to serve as a platform for nurturing trust among countries in the Asia-Pacific region and enhance security ties through exchange of opinions on regional security and bilateral dialogues.

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