–Abu Sayyaf, in Arabic “father of the sword” in the meaning “master of sword”, is now the main Islamic militant group in South Philippines, spilt from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 1991, allegedly on disagreements about strategy.
Abu Sayyaf pushed for a more aggressive approach toward the Philippines regime and an independent Islamic state in Mindanao.
The group was led by Abubakar Janjalani and after he was killed by the Philippine Army in 12/1998, by his younger brother, Khadafy Janjalani . Intelligence sources estimated that the hard core members of Abu Sayyaf were around 200 activists.
In the early 90s’, along all other kinds of terror, Abu Sayyaf specialized in hostage kidnapping of tourists and men of means and to release them for ransom in order to finance their activity.
After the war in Afghanistan ended in 1989, some Islamic militants found the Philippines as yet another region to go on with the Global Jihad. They came to the Philippines to help and support Abu Sayyaf in his local war, but also to use Abu Sayyaf as a base for international operations, such as the Bojinka Plot that was foiled, accidentally, in12/1994.
After the fall of the dictator Suharto and his regime in Indonesia in 1998, and the growing influence of the INDONESIAN JI in the neighbor country a close relation and cooperation was established between INDONESIAN JI and Abu Sayyaf. As a result of this regional cooperation the Abu Sayyaf operations sharply increased and trickled to neighbor Malaysia. On 04/23/2000 Abu Sayyaf abducted in the Malaysian tourist resort of Sipadan 21 Western tourists (see – Sipadan Hijacking).
The regional relations with other Islamic terror groups and in other neighbor states led to an international efforts and joined intelligence operations, especially after The 9/11. Slowly Abu Sayyaf lost ground and was oppressed.
Khadafy Janjalani himself was killed in 09/2006 days after the killing of his co-partner in Abu Sayyaf leadership – Jainal Antal Sali also known as Abu-Sulaiman. After the double blow of killing its two leaders, almost at the same time, Abu Sayyaf today (06/2007) is struggling for its survival and its activity is negligible.
Although Abu Sayyaf has ties with other militant Islamic groups, especially with the INDONESIAN JI, it is hard to refer to Abu Sayyaf as a part of the Global Jihad. The ambitions of Abu Sayyaf was always in the context of its relations with the Philippines government. Abu Sayyaf had no ideological conflict with the Western Democracies as a whole. No Abu Sayyaf member participated in the Global Jihad elsewhere outside the Philippines.
It seems that the Abu Sayyaf in the South Philippines was assisted by the Global Jihad for its needs but did not support Global Jihad in return.
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