UNEXPECTED COUNTRIES WITH A GROWING ISIS PRESENCE
ISIS/Daesh isn't just contained to Syria and Iraq. Libya and Turkey are getting some news coverage due to recent events, but the spread is much further. Here's a few countries with growing recruitment / attacks / suspected militants.
- •IndonesiaThis Muslim-majority country just elected a new counterterrorism chief to deal with the growing Daesh presence. In January, Daesh-affiliated militants opened fire and set off a car bomb near a Starbucks in Jakarta, killing at least six. It's estimated that hundreds of Indonesians have traveled to Syria to join Daesh.
- •BelgiumAll the Paris attack suspects had ties to Belgium, and police just raided another suspect's home yesterday. Over a dozen people in the Molenbeek district of Brussels have been arrested for Daesh recruitment or planning to travel to Libya to join the fighting.
- •UzbekistanThe Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan pledged allegiance to Daesh in August. At least 5,000 Uzbek nationals are current fighting in Syria and Iraq. (Some context: The Central Asia / Stan countries have large Muslim Chechan and Circassian ethnic groups. Daesh's big bad, Omar the Chechen, is actually Georgian.)
- •YemenLike the fighting between the Houthis and Saudi-backed Hadi wasn't bad enough: Yemen's instability has allowed Daesh and al-Qaeda to gain ground and launch attacks against civilians. There are reports of training bases for both militant groups located on Yemen.
- •SomaliaMilitants from Yemen can hop across the Gulf of Aden to nearby Somalia. This has caused a lot of infighting in the al-shabaab militant group - originally pledged to al-Qaeda, factions are realigning with Daesh and/or leaving Somalia to fight in Libya.
- •AfghanistanDaesh is creeping in, and the Taliban does not like it one bit. (Different ideologies, Taliban is tied to tribalism and Daesh is outsider-y). Again, fighting between the two militant groups has erupted... And civilians are often caught in the crossfire.
- •TunisiaDaesh is running free in Libya and it's starting to spill over. Despite building a fence along the border, Tunisia has faced multiple Daesh attacks, including a battle in Ben Guerden that left over 40 dead. A recent raid found weapons stockpiles and Daesh propaganda in a western town, hundreds of miles from the Libyan border. The country remains under a state of emergency.