The Rise of ISIS in the ASEAN Region

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Martin Sviatko CamEd Business School 2019

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This research paper seeks to examine the emergence of ISIS in the ASEAN region and its debilitating effect on the political stability of the ASEAN member states. Although ASEAN has been confronted by various political and security threats right from its inception, the subversive political terrorism of ISIS represents a brand new and much more perplexing security challenge. The paper starts with a brief review of ASEAN’s history, highlighting the role of external security threat posed by nation-state actors as a key determinant of its establishment. The section of the paper presenting an analysis of subversive terrorism depicts political terrorism as a major asymmetric threat posed by non-state actors. A subsequent insight into ISIS’s background, ideology, structure and modus operandi brings to the fore the magnitude of this problem. This is followed by an analysis of those factors which have facilitated the rise of ISIS in the ASEAN region. Although militarily defeated in its birthplace as of 2019, ISIS continues to show its presence and strength in ASEAN – the region which is geographically remote from the locality where it originated. In its conclusion, the paper recommends a number of solutions that ASEAN can implement in order to tackle and eliminate this asymmetric threat.


Keywords: ASEAN, Political terrorism, ISIS, Nation-state actors, Political stability, Security.

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