A series of explosions and gunfire that rocked Jakarta on Thursday marks a new style of militancy in Southeast Asia as the Islamic State (ISIS) increasingly mobilizes local terror groups to establish a global Islamic polity, or caliphate.
ISIS [also known as ISIL, IS or Daesh] claimed responsibility for the hours-long violence that left seven dead and over 20 injured in the city's first mass attack since 2009. Experts say the fact that attackers used pistols, rifles and moved around on a large scale revealed a higher degree of sophistication from previous attacks on Indonesian soil, suggesting direction from ISIS.
Local extremist Bahrun Naim, ringleader of a combat unit called Katibah Nusantara, has been identified by Jakarta police as the suspected mastermind. Formed in September 2014, Katibah Nusantara is a Malay-speaking group covering the Malay Archipelago and has been actively connecting extremist networks across Malaysia and Indonesia, helping ISIS further its ideological goals through the use of local terror cells, a process known as 'glocalisation.'
Indeed, Thursday's attack reveals ISIS' transition beyond local causes to global views, explained Greg Barton, director of the Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University.
The organization has declared it was behind several international offensives, including Monday's suicide bomb attack at a Baghdad mall and November's shootings in Paris. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has also established an ISIS connection behind Tuesday's suicide bomb in Istanbul.
The organization's international focus could be especially dangerous for Southeast Asia.