The Islamic State’s Global-Localization Strategy in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines

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Pak Nung Wong Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Politics & International Relations, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath, Bath, UK

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Despite the United States and its allies recently declaring the utter defeat of the terrorist organization Islamic State’s (IS) strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the 2019 Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka highlights IS’s successful transformation into a globally networked organization. This paper examines IS’s global-localization strategy by identifying the common patterns in its terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Through global-localization, the so-called IS caliphate in the Middle East is able to effectively connect with Muslim communities in the peripheral Global South and command supremacy over them. I will outline IS’s self-transformative strategy by comparing its terror attacks in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Through historical analysis of post-colonial ethnic conflicts among the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim groups in Sri Lanka, I will generate policy recommendations for the establishment of a pluralistic and inclusive intelligence system as an essential means to prevent further terrorist attacks.

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