Brandis described this as part of the ISIS vision for a “distant caliphate,” establishing a presence far beyond the Islamic State’s home turf in Syria and Iraq.
“ISIS has a declared intention to establish caliphates beyond the Middle East, provincial caliphates in effect,” he explained. “It has identified Indonesia as a location of its ambitions.”
“The rise of ISIS in the Middle East is something that has destabilised the security of Australia, it’s destabilised the security of Indonesia and it’s destabilising the security of our friends and partners, particularly here in the region,” added Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan.
Brandis and Keenan made this assessment after a series of meetings between Indonesian and Australian officials. Over the weekend, police raids across Java resulted in nine arrests, plus the confiscation of explosive materials and an “ISIS-inspired flag.” For their part, the Australians have foiled six terrorist attacks over the past year, as well as suffering casualties from attacks that could not be prevented.
Australia and Indonesia reached an agreement to increase cooperation on counter-terrorist intelligence on Monday.
Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world, shares the fear of many other governments that Islamic State radicals will return home from battlefield service in Iraq and Syria, armed with terrorist connections and dangerous skills.
In November, the Washington Times reported on an Army think-tank study that found “Southeast Asia, and especially Indonesia, is a routine stop for hundreds of smuggled terrorists.” Southeast Asia was part of the optimum route ISIS provided to recruits looking for a way to slip into Syria.
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