The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attracted an estimated 42,000 individuals from over 120 countries to the so-called caliphate. With the territorial defeat of ISIS, the return of these individuals to their home countries, or the potential for ISIS fighters to seek refuge with violent extremist groups in other regions, is drawing increasing attention.

Southeast Asia has emerged as an area of particular concern. More than 1,500 of the foreign fighters who joined ISIS were from Southeast Asia and more than 60 regional groups pledged allegiance to ISIS or its self-appointed Caliph. In particular, ISIS has previously sought to capitalize on existing terrorist and criminal groups that have long been active in the areas between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

With the support of the Government of the Netherlands, the Global Center is undertaking a two-year program to explore what is known about the financial patterns of foreign fighters and returnees in Southeast Asia. In partnership with the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the Global Center will produce a typology report and study of the use of financial intelligence and financial profiling related to foreign fighters emanating from, returning to, or traveling within the region.

Through workshops and practitioner exchanges held under the program, the Global Center and APG will build the capacity of financial sector and regulatory authorities to identify suspicious indicators, develop financial profiles, and generate effective intelligence for use by law enforcement agencies in addressing the threat of foreign fighters and their facilitators in the region.

For further information about this project, please contact Ms. Tracey Durner, Senior Analyst at the Global Center (tdurner@globalcenter.org).

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