Carter: ISIS Will Grow in Southeast Asia

Ko Olina, Hawaii Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he expects ISIS-affiliated groups to pop up in Southeast Asian nations as they are pushed from Syria and Iraq, and is urging the leaders of those countries to proactively work on fighting them. Speaking at an informal of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hawaii, Carter said he was able to share with ministers from 10 of the nations the progress of the current fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria—the “parent tumors” of the group. But as this fight puts more pressure on the group, its fighters will move to “metastases” of the group in countries across the world, especially those in Southeast Asia. The ASEAN group will meet in 2017 for a counterterrorism workshop to build ways to work together to fight ISIS and identify and close any gaps of communication with the US in these fights, Carter said. Ng Eng Hen, minister of defense of Singapore, said ISIS is in the minds of all ASEAN countries, and because they are being pushed from Iraq and Syria “in the short term, we will suffer.” Trained fighters will return to the countries in the area “more organized” and trained.