Marawi City: The High-Water Mark of Southeast Asian Terrorism

Aug 16, 2017 | 20:31 GMT

A monthslong siege has destroyed large swaths of Marawi City and cost local jihadist groups more than 520 fighters so far.

A look at Marawi City shows that Philippine jihadist groups have taken a major gamble on the siege, since the Philippine military has forced them to engage in conventional combat. 

(TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)


  • As enemy forces unite against Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group, they will amplify the significant losses the Philippine jihadists have endured.
  • Counterterrorism forces in Southeast Asia and beyond will keep working together to prevent a jihadist base from growing in the region.
  • The uprising in Marawi City will represent a high-water mark for jihadists in Southeast Asia, rather than a rising tide of attacks in the region.

In the Philippines, progress toward ending the nearly three-month siege of Marawi City has been slow but steady. The Philippine defense minister has revised his prognosis for the battle after perhaps excessive optimism early on, estimating that it may take the country's security forces another month or two to completely rid the city of jihadists. The events in Marawi City have demonstrated that jihadism is alive and well in Southeast Asia. But local, national and regional limitations will keep militants from the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups from turning the Philippine city into a lasting base in the Islamic State's global caliphate. Marawi City today is no Mosul in 2014, and though the threat of Islamic extremism will persist in Southeast Asia, the siege of Marawi appears to be the upper limit of success for the region's jihadists....

Keep Reading

Register to read three free articles

Proceed to sign up

Register Now

Already have an account?

Sign In