Bob Katter on the protective bulwark that separates us from evil - the CFMEU
Nick O'Malley, Fairfax - "vile" Pauline Hanson sounds like "people who want to kill people"

Julie Bishop discovers the Islamic State caliphate in The Philippines 9 months after it was declared

Last June we wrote to DFAT in light of our increased funding to the autonomous Muslim region in the Southern Philippines.

Our letter advised DFAT that Hapsilon, the leader of Abu Sayyaf, had been declared the Emir of the region by Islamic State.

We advised DFAT that Islamic State had declared the region a Caliphate of the Islamic State.

We queried the wisdom of sending money to a lawless region of the Philippines where sovereignty had been declared by the Islamic State - and where loyalty pledges have been made by local forces to Islamic State and direct command and control with a hierarchy of subordination to the Islamic State was being exercised.

DFAT ignored the substance of my email - replying 

The Mindanao region remains under the control of the elected Government of the Philippines. The Australian Government works closely with countries in the region, including the Philippines, to address the threat of transnational terrorism.



Media Liaison Officer  |  Media Liaison Section 
Parliamentary and Media Branch | Public Diplomacy and Communications Division

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Well now that Obama is history big-noting Julie has discovered that there is indeed a burgeoning caliphate on our doorstep.  She's spoken to President Duterte - and passed on the new threat to President Trump.

Just after she announced we're sending more of our money to the Islamists.

Bishop warns of new Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia

Julie Bishop speaks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the 'Global Coalition Working to Defeat ISIS' meeting in Washington. Picture: Getty Images
  • The Australian

Julie Bishop has warned of the prospect of a new Islamic caliphate being declared in the southern Philippines following the return of foreign fighters from the war against Islamic State in the Middle East.

Speaking on Sky News, Ms Bishop argued this would bring the threat of Islamic State “right to our doorstep” and said she raised the problem of foreign fighters returning to the Southeast Asian region at the Washington meeting of the coalition against IS last week.

Ms Bishop said the Trump administration used the meeting to convey their interest in intensifying the military campaign against IS in the Middle East and identified Syria as the next phase in the battle against the terror group.

“One of my messages at this meeting of the coalition to defeat ISIS was to point out that as more pressure goes on ISIS in the Middle East and the more successful they are in driving ISIS out of the Middle East, the more likely it is that the returning foreign terrorist fighters will come back to our part of the world,” Ms Bishop said.

“There are estimates of at least 600 foreign terrorist fighters from Southeast Asia in Iraq and Syria at present. It could well be higher,” she said. “And if they are able to survive the campaign against them in Iraq and Syria they may well seek to come home.

“That’s why we’ve been working so closely, co-ordinating our efforts (with) Indonesia in particular but also increasingly with Malaysia and the Philippines because that’s where a number of these fighters are from.”

Ms Bishop said this warning “resonated” in the meeting and there was a shared concern that IS not be allowed to revive its powers and again pose a new threat in another region of the globe.

“We don’t want to see it re-emerge elsewhere in the world, otherwise we’ll be back in a few years’ time talking about how to defeat a caliphate in the southern Philippines. for example,” she said.

Ms Bishop said she spoke with the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, about the re-emergence of terror networks in the southern Philippines on a recent visit.

“There’s one (called) the Abu Sayyaf group; a particularly dangerous terrorist group. Their leader, Hapilon, has recently been declared an emir by ISIS in the Middle East. An emir — a leader — in the southern Philippines,” Ms Bishop said.

“So there is concern that ISIS may well seek to declare a caliphate, an Islamic caliphate in the southern Philippines.

“This brings the threat right to our doorstep and that’s why we’ve been ensuring that our security and law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the resources they need … to stamp this terrorist threat out in our region.”

Ms Bishop said the Trump administration would make a greater military commitment to defeat IS. But she said its identification of Syria as the next phase of the campaign after the recapture of Mosul presented complex geopolitical problems.


Islamic State video announces creation of a province in The Philippines - too close for comfort

The Islamic State's media arm released this video sometime during the past week.   It shows various Abu Sayyaf battalions pledging allegiance to Al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State and announces the creation of a province of the Islamic State or Caliphate in the southern Philippines - this from the Heavy website

In a new video purportedly released by the Islamic State titled “The Solid Structure,” ISIS releases its first propaganda snuff film from Mindanao, Philippines. The video proclaims the island in the Philippines as an official “wilayat,” or state of ISIS, and tells Asian Islamists that if they can’t get to Iraq or Syria, to go there.

Also notable in the video is that the execution portion appears to have been filmed in front of a green screen.

Mindanao had already included the unofficial affiliate of the Islamic State called “Abu Sayyaf.” According to The International Business Times, senior Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and other masked men pledged their allegiance to ISIS in a summer of 2014 video.


The Orlando shooter pledged allegiance to Al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State and told us he carried out his attack as a soldier of the Islamic State.

He joins these groups who have also made that pledge:

• al-I'tisam of the Koran and Sunnah [Sudan] - 1 Aug. 2014 - Support 
• Abu Sayyaf Group [Philippines] - 25 Jun. 2014 - Support
• Ansar al-Khilafah [Philippines] - 14 Aug. 2014 - Allegiance
• Ansar al-Tawhid in India [India] - 4 Oct. 2014 - Allegiance
• Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) [Phillippines] - 13 Aug. 2014 - Support
• Bangsmoro Justice Movement (BJM) [Phillippines] - 11 Sep. 2014 - Support
• Jemaah Islamiyah [Philippines] 27 Apr. 2015 - Allegiance 
• al-Huda Battalion in Maghreb of Islam [Algeria] - 30 Jun. 2014 - Allegiance
• The Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria [Algeria] - 30 Sep. 2014 - Allegiance
• al-Ghurabaa [Algeria] - 7 Jul. 2015 - Allegiance
• Djamaat Houmat ad-Da'wa as-Salafiya (DHDS) [Algeria] 19 Sep. 2015 - Allegiance
• al-Ansar Battalion [Algeria] 4 Sep. 2015 - Allegiance
• Jundullah [Pakistan] - 17 Nov. 2014 - Support
• Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) [Pakistan/Uzbekistan] Video - 31 Jul. 2015 - Allegiance
• Tehreek-e-Khilafat [Pakistan] - 9 Jul. 2014 - Allegiance
• Leaders of the Mujahid in Khorasan (ten former TTP commanders) [Pakistan] - 10 Jan. 2015 - Allegiance
• Islamic Youth Shura Council [Libya] - 22 Jun. 2014 - Support
• Jaish al-Sahabah in the Levant [Syria] - 1 Jul. 2014 - Allegiance
• Martyrs of al-Yarmouk Brigade [Syria] - Dec. 2014 - Part of IS - Allegiance
• Faction of Katibat al-Imam Bukhari [Syria] - 29 Oct. 2014 - Allegiance
• Jamaat Ansar Bait al-Maqdis [Egypt] - 30 Jun. 2014 - Allegiance
• Jund al-Khilafah in Egypt [Egypt] - 23 Sep. 2014 - Allegiance
• Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek [Lebanon] - 30 Jun. 2014 - Allegiance
• Islamic State Libya (Darnah) [Libya] - 9 Nov. 2014 - Allegiance
• Lions of Libya [Libya] (Unconfirmed) - 24 Sep. 2014 - [Support/Allegiance]
• Shura Council of Shabab al-Islam Darnah [Libya] - 6 Oct. 2014 - Allegiance
• Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) [Indonesia] - Aug. 2014 - Allegiance 
• Mujahideen Indonesia Timor (MIT) [Indonesia] - 1 Jul. 2014 - Allegiance
• Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSCJ) [Egypt] - 1 Oct. 2014 - Support
• Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion [Tunisia] - 20 Sep. 2014 - Support
• Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia [Tunisia] - 31 Mar. 2015 - Allegiance
• Central Sector of Kabardino-Balakria of the Caucasus Emirate (CE) [Russia] - 26 Apr. 2015 - Allegiance
• Mujahideen of Tunisia of Kairouan [Tunisia] 18 May 2015 - Allegiance
• Mujahideen of Yemen [Yemen] - 10 Nov. 2014 - Allegiance
• Supporters for the Islamic State in Yemen [Yemen] - 4 Sep. 2014 - Allegiance
• al-Tawheed Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan] - 23 Sep. 2014 - Allegiance
• Heroes of Islam Brigade in Khorasan [Afghanistan] - 30 Sep. 2014 - Allegiance
• Supporters of the Islamic State in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia] - 2 Dec. 2014 - Support
• Ansar al-Islam [Iraq] - 8 Jan. 2015 - Allegiance
• Boko Haram [Nigeria] - 7 Mar. 2015 - Allegiance
• The Nokhchico Wilayat of the Caucasus Emirate (CE) [Russia] - 15 Jun. 2015 - Allegiance
• al-Ansar Battalion [Algeria] - 4 Sep. 2015 - Allegiance
• al-Shabaab Jubba Region Cell Bashir Abu Numan [Somalia]- 7 Dec. 2015 - Allegiance

But the creation of a discrete Islamic State province in what The Philippines calls Mindinao is a very big worry, it's far too close to home.   

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 8.59.57 am

After months of buildup, which included pledges of loyalty from various local groups, the Islamic State has officially created a province in the Philippines. A newly released video from the region, which was produced in the same style as all other Islamic State provinces, offered confirmation of the new province.

The video begins by showing several “battalions” of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. This includes the Abu Dujana Battalion, Abu Khubaib Battalion, Jundallah Battalion, and the Abu Sadr Battalion. These battalions joined others from ASG, including Jund al TawhidAnsar al Sharia, and Marakah al Ansar in pledging bayah to the Islamic State. Additionally, some of ASG’s leadership, including overall leader Isnilon Hapilon (who is shown in the video), have pledged to the jihadist group.

Hapilon, a US-designated terrorist, was again confirmed as the leader of all of the Islamic State’s forces in the Philippines. In an April issue of the Islamic State’s weekly newsletter Al Naba, the jihadist group said that Hapilon, also known as Abu Abdullah al Filipini, had been appointed as emir. In a portion of the video featuring a Filipino fighter in Raqqah, Syria, he confirms the Al Naba report.

Hapilon is the senior most figure to have defected to the Islamic State in the Philippines. The video also confirms that a formal leadership structure for the Islamic State has indeed been put into place, exemplifying its expansion in the country. This was also seen earlier this month in an infographic released by the ‘Amaq News Agency, one of the jihadist group’s news outlets. The infographic included several important facts from the Islamic State in the Philippines, including the number of groups that have pledged allegiance and where they operate. (See Threat Matrix report, Islamic State details activity in the Philippines.)

While the infographic contains numbers from April 2015, it also notes the first official announcement of Filipino jihadist groups pledging allegiance to the Islamic State occurred in January 2016. Videos and reports of groups pledging bayah have emerged since 2014, shortly after Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, claimed the creation of a caliphate. The video in January, however, was the first time the Islamic State publicly accepted these pledges. A month later, the Islamic State’s Furat media outlet released another video showing more groups pledging allegiance.

These groups include the aforementioned battalions of ASG, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Ansar Khilafah in the Philippines, the Islamic State in LanaoJamaat al Tawhid wal Jihad (a group formerly loyal to al Qaeda), and parts of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Their claimed areas of operation largely correspond with the reported areas of the aforementioned groups. This includes the southern areas of Basilan, South Cotabato, Sulu, Sarangani, Lanao del Sur, and the northern province of Isabela.

Several of these groups, including Ansar Khilafah, the Islamic State in Lanao, and the Jamaat al Tawhid wal Jihad (JTJ) have publicized training camps in the region. Ansar Khilafah was the first to do so last December, while the latter two groups did so last month and in March, respectively. A video from JTJ’s training camp, the “Osama bin Laden training camp,” also publicized its loyalty to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

In addition to the pledges to the Islamic State in the months building up to yesterday’s video, the Islamic State has claimed several attacks in the Philippines in recent months. One of these attacks was featured in the video, which showed Islamic State fighters engaging in a firefight with Filipino security forces. Several vehicles and weapons are shown to have been captured by the jihadists. Additionally, the video pays tribute to several fighters who have been killed in clashes with the Filipino military. This includes Abu Khattab, a Moroccan bomb expert within ASG, who was killed in April.

While the video was made to announce a Philippines province, a good portion of the video was filmed in Syria. Indonesian, Malaysian, and Filipino fighters in Syria’s Raqqah province are shown discussing these pledges and encouraging others to follow suit in Southeast Asia. The three are later shown simultaneously beheading three Assad regime soldiers somewhere in Raqqah.

The Islamic State has also inroads in the wider Southeast Asia region, an area that has historically featured al Qaeda activity. Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI), al Qaeda’s historical branch in Southeast Asia, has also suffered defections to the Islamic State. Shortly after Baghdadi’s announcement of the caliphate in 2014,  Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader and co-founder of JI as well as the emir of its offshoot Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, pledged allegiance to Baghdadi. However, Bashir’s two sons and several other leaders left and formed their own group, Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah. According to the Jakarta Post, more than 50 percent of Bashir’s followers abandoned him and joined Jemaah Ansharusy Syariah. It is directly part of al Qaeda’s global network now, according to its leader. (See LWJ report, Islamic State launches suicide assault in Indonesia’s capital.)

Yet another group in region, Mujahideen Indonesion Timor (MIT), is also loyal to the Islamic State. Abu Warda Santoso, the MIT leader, swore allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014. His group was previously listed by the US as a terrorist group last year. Last month, the US Department of State added Santoso to its list of global terrorists. (See LWJ report, US adds emir of Mujahidin Indonesia Timur to list of global terrorists.)

Screenshots from the video:

Pledges to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi:

Abu Dujana

Abu Khubaib

Abu Sadr


Clashes with Filipino security forces:

clash 1

clash 2

clash 4

Killed Moroccan fighter of ASG:

Moroccan Abu Khattab


Request for comment from DFAT on new $60M plans to engage with IS-supporters Moro Islamic Liberation Front

I've just sent this note to the very responsive media people at DFAT.


I have a further query arising from material in that story.  
I refer to this publication from DFAT advising of its intention to provide $60M for further education in Mindanao.
The supporting material here Attachment: PATHWAYS Investment Design: Second draft [ZIP 2 MB] includes a document titled 
Annex B: Program Logic

The following narrative provides a discussion of the program logic that underpins the investment design for the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao (PATHWAYS) program.


The central element of this approach is the engagement of the two core actors (the ARMM, specifically the DepEd-ARMM – on behalf of the GPH and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) on behalf of the MILF) through a ‘twin pathway’ implementation arrangement. 

That document advises that DFAT will be engaging with the the Tarbiyyah, ie the Education Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to work on the curriculum of the Madrassas associated with MILF.

A few weeks ago the Islamic State released material regarding its supporters and those who have pledged allegiance to it in The Philippines.   This 12 June report from the publication Threat Matrix refers:

‘Amaq News Agency, one of the Islamic State’s news outlets, has released a short infographic detailing the jihadist group’s operations and activities in the Philippines. The infographic is set up similar to those released for official Islamic State wilayats (provinces), which indicates the rising importance of the Philippines for the jihadist group.


The infographic (above) includes several important claims of the Islamic State in the Philippines, including how many groups have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and where these groups operate. Additionally, it claims 289 Filipino troops have been killed by Islamic State forces since April 2015, including 100 alone in April 2016. The Filipino government has heavily disputed these numbers.

While the infographic contains numbers from April 2015, it confirms the first official announcement of Filipino jihadist groups pledging allegiance to the Islamic State occurred in January 2016. Videos and reports of groups pledging bayah (allegiance) have emerged since 2014, shortly after Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, claimed the creation of a caliphate. The video in January, however, was the first time the Islamic State publicly accepted these pledges.

A month later, the Islamic State’s Furat media released another video showing more groups pledging allegiance.  This includes Isnilon Hapilon, a US-designated terrorist, who heads the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). In an April issue of the Islamic State’s weekly newsletter Al Naba, the jihadist group said that Hapilon (called Abu Abdullah al Filipini, one of his noms de guerre, in the newsletter) has been appointed as emir of all Islamic State forces in the Philippines according to a translation from the SITE Intelligence Group.

His appointment seems likely as Hapilon is the senior most figure to have defected to the Islamic State in the Philippines. This also means that a formal leadership structure for the Islamic State is in place, exemplifying its expansion in the country. The latest infographic also shows more examples of expansion and gives credence to a formal leadership structure, as ‘Amaq claims that the Islamic State has 10 “fighting battalions” in the Philippines.

This number includes at least a portion or all of ASG, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Ansar Khilafah in the Philippines, Katibat Ansar al ShariaKatibat Marakah al Ansar, the Islamic State in LanaoJund al Tawhid (a former ASG battalion), Jamaat al Tawhid wal Jihad (a group formerly loyal to al Qaeda), and parts of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


The Islamic State published this photo with the Arabic and apparently Tagalog caption noting the pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State from a group of MILF members.


Assuming the Islamic State photo is genuine and its announcement is factual - why are we engaging with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's Tarbiyyah committee when parts of that organisation have pledged Bay-ah or allegiance to the Islamic State?

Could I ask for a response by midday tomorrow please?