Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Singapore to join fight against Islamic State

Members of the Singapore Armed Forces participate in a military exercise with the US Army. (screen capture: YouTube/AiirSource)

Singapore said Monday it would provide military support to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group but would not take part in combat operations

Singapore, which has one of Asia’s best-equipped armed forces, has long considered itself a prime target for Islamic militants, particularly those operating in Southeast Asia.

The US military operates a post in the city-state that helps in logistics and exercises for its forces in Southeast Asia.

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Singapore 1st in Asean to fight IS

Singapore will contribute military personnel and equipment to the US-led coalition combating Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to join the effort.

The Singapore Armed Forces will offer liaison and planning officers, a KC-135R tanker aircraft for air-to-air refuelling and an imagery-analyst team coalition named "Operation Inherent Resolve," Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament today. Singapore becomes the 34th country to join the coalition, he said.
"If this terrorism threat is allowed to grow and spread, innocent civilians here and elsewhere could be endangered and killed," said Mr Ng. "By contributing to the international effort to tackle the threat at source, we are contributing directly to our own security."
The violence and brutality committed by terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria pose a threat to the Middle East and, if left unchecked, the world, the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations said in a statement in September. The US and its allies are expanding their efforts to curtail Islamic State's finances and its appeal to young Muslims, and there are signs that U.S-led air strikes have broken the group's momentum, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Oct 31.

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PM Lee holds dialogue on ISIS threat
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, seen in this file photograph, shared his concerns today about the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq at a dialogue with 300 religious and community leaders. -- PHOTO: AFP

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday said the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq has seen terrorist elements in Southeast Asia regrouping and getting more active.

And it was naive to think that Singapore can keep its head low and the threat will pass.

The Government had to do what was necessary to protect Singapore, he told around 300 religious and community leaders from various faiths and groups at the start of a closed-door dialogue with five other ministers on Singapore's concerns with the conflicts in both Middle Eastern countries.

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Singapore ‘strongly condemns’ murder of US aid worker by Islamic State: MFA
Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig, in a May 2013 handout photo released by his family, Nov 16, 2014. Photo: Reuters

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued a strongly-worded statement over the death of US aid worker Peter Kassig, the fifth westerner to have been beheaded by Islamic State militants.

“Singapore strongly condemns the repeated brutality of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), most recently manifested in the murder of American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter Kassig. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr Kassig, and reiterate our call for all hostages held by ISIS to be released immediately”, an MFA spokesperson said today (Nov 17).


“This latest incident reinforces the urgent need for the international community to work together to counter the threat posed by ISIS and other terrorist groups. We need a comprehensive strategy to contain and weaken ISIS, and tackle the roots of extremism. As a member of the multinational coalition against ISIS, Singapore will do our part to combat this terrorist scourge,” added the MFA.

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Singapore First Southeast Asian Nation to Join Fight Against IS

Singapore will contribute military personnel and equipment to the U.S.-led coalition combating Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to join the effort.

The Singapore Armed Forces will offer liaison and planning officers, a KC-135R tanker aircraft for air-to-air refueling and an imagery analyst team coalition named “Operation Inherent Resolve,” Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament today. Singapore becomes the 34th country to join the coalition, he said.

“If this terrorism threat is allowed to grow and spread, innocent civilians here and elsewhere could be endangered and killed,” said Ng. “By contributing to the international effort to tackle the threat at source, we are contributing directly to our own security.”

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Singapore to provide anti-ISIS coalition with military support
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic bomber flies over northern Iraq after conducting air strikes in Syria against ISIS targets September 27, 2014. (Reuters)

Singapore, a tiny island-nation of 5.5 million, is one of Asia's leading financial and transportation hubs. It is host to thousands of multinational corporations and a large expatriate community.

Ng said local authorities are concerned about the potential formation of a Southeast Asian branch of IS, with jihadists from the region returning home after fighting in Iraq and Syria. About 350 Southeast Asians, including some from Singapore as well as Malaysia and Indonesia, are currently fighting in the Middle East, he said.

"Many of them have joined ISIS and may return to threaten our security here... the threats to our region are indeed real," Ng said.

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Singapore to join fight against ISIS
Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters cheering. Photo: AP

The Defence Minister’s announcement followed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s comments last month that Singapore is “seriously considering” how it can be a helpful partner in the fight against ISIS.

Speaking at a retreat at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, Italy, Mr Lee said Singapore views extremist groups such as ISIS as a threat as they can recruit vulnerable individuals with their extremist ideology. Radicalised individuals who return to Singapore can carry out attacks on home soil, he added.

The 33 other countries in the coalition include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Great Britain, France and Canada. These countries have provided military support or humanitarian aid to the coalition.

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S’pore seriously considering how to help fight Islamic State: PM Lee
Singapore is “seriously considering” how it can be a helpful partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said today (Oct 17)
 
Speaking at a retreat at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, Italy, Mr Lee told political leaders from the two regions that Singapore welcomes the formation of a broad international coalition, including the United States and many Arab countries, to combat the terrorist threat.
 
He said that, given the complex situation in Iraq and Syria, there is no purely military solution to the problem. However, it is still necessary to contain and weaken the Islamic State, he added.
 
In recent weeks, a US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against Islamic State targets in Kobane, a Syrian town at the border of Turkey, to push back the militants’ advance.
 
 
Combat coalition against IS militants
Representational Picture

Singapore will join 33 other nations in a multinational coalition to combat the Islamic State terror group, country's Defence Minister said on Monday.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has previously participated in multinational coalition efforts against religious extremists who pose a terrorist threat to the country and its citizens, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said.

"Singapore has fought against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and it will continue to participate in such efforts," Ng said in Parliament.

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Singapore will join coalition against Islamic State
An image grab taken from a propaganda video released by the Islamic State shows militants at an undisclosed location in the Anbar province. (AFP Photo)

The Republic will join 33 other nations in a multinational coalition to combat the Islamic State militant group, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Monday (Nov 3). Joining in the ongoing international efforts "contributes directly to Singapore's own security", added Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has previously participated in multinational coalition efforts against religious extremists who pose a terrorist threat to Singapore and Singaporeans – as it did in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban – and it will continue to participate in such efforts, Dr Ng said.

In response to a question from MP Alex Yam on how SAF will contribute to the coalition, Dr Ng said SAF’s contribution will be "within its means" and "sustainable and useful". This includes sending liaison and planning officers to the United States Central Command and the Combined Joint Task Force HQ, a KC-135R tanker aircraft for air-to-air refuelling, and an Imagery Analysis Team – assets that were previously deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Singapore to join combat coalition against IS militants

There would be no SAF troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria; they would instead operate out of neighbouring countries, Ng said.
“There will be risks to our SAF servicemen as they carry out their missions. To mitigate these risks, we will ensure that our servicemen are well equipped, and receive additional training in weapon handling, dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), as well as reacting to hostile elements,”
The IS militants have captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. It is a splinter group of the al-Qaeda which has distanced itself from the outfit, chiding it for its aggressive and brutal expansion.

The IS gained international attention in August, when its fighters and those from other militant groups swept through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, then overran swaths of territory north and west of Baghdad.

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Singapore to join effort against IS

Singapore will contribute military personnel and aerial-refueling equipment to the international effort fighting Islamic State in the Middle East, the city-state's defense minister said on Monday.

Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country to join the US-led coalition. Growing numbers of extremists from the region have joined the radical Islamist group, which is fighting to carve out a state in Iraq and Syria and has inspired extremists world-wide.

Singapore will contribute a KC-135R refuelling aircraft, an imagery analysis team and liaison and planning officers to the region, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Monday.

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SINGAPORE TO JOIN COALITION AGAINST ISIS

Singapore has agreed to become the thirty-fourth country to join the military coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS).

After the agreement was announced on Monday, November 3, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean acknowledged that the efforts against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will "[contribute] directly to Singapore's own security."

According to Channel NewsAsia, Singapore will be "contributing [military] assets that were once deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan." Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) fought al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and view fighting ISIS as an extension of that same effort--an outworking of the same purpose against terror.

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Singapore to join coalition against ISIS

Ng said that by joining the international coalition, "we are contributing directly to our own security".

He recalled that Al Qaeda-linked militants from the Jemaah Islamiyah network had plotted to bomb the US embassy and other foreign targets in Singapore in 2002. The plot was foiled after police arrested several suspects.

Ng said local authorities are concerned about the potential formation of a Southeast Asian branch of ISIS, with jihadists from the region returning home after fighting in Iraq and Syria.

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ISIS POSES A THREAT TO ALL SINGAPOREANS

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, also reiterated the Malay-Muslim community's stance against ISIS.

"MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore), Malay/Muslim organisations, community leaders and the Government have worked very hard together for many years to combat radical teachings that abuse the name of Islam," said Dr Yaacob, the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

"I strongly urge all communities to continue to work together so that our people are more informed, understand each other better, and are not easily swayed by inaccurate or provocative foreign or social media reporting. This way, we will emerge stronger as Singaporeans, united in our common goal for peace, understanding and harmony."

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Decision not an act against Islam: Yaacob

The Republic’s decision to join multinational efforts against the Islamic State cannot be interpreted as an act against Islam or Muslims because the group is not Islamic, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday.

He noted that Singapore’s mufti, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association as well as the Religious and Rehabilitation Group have joined international Muslim scholars and leaders in unequivocally condemning the Islamic State, which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“They have all declared that ISIS’ radical teachings and actions have nothing to do with Islam. Islam upholds peace, the preservation of human life and its sanctity and it is thus forbidden in Islam to wage war wantonly on others,” said Dr Yaacob.

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Full Coverage:
Times of Israel: Singapore to join coalition against Islamic State
Bangkok Post: Singapore 1st in Asean to fight IS
Al-Arabiya: Singapore to provide anti-ISIS coalition with military support
The Malay Mail: Singapore to join US-led fight against Islamic State
Breitbart News: Singapore to Join Coalition against ISIS
Herald Sun: Singapore to join effort against IS
GlobalPost: Singapore to join coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
Panorama: Singapore will join coalition against Islamic State
Business Standard: Singapore to participate in war against IS
TODAYonline: S'pore to support effort against Islamic State
Straits Times: The Straits Times' News In A Minute: Nov 3, 2014
AsiaOne: Singapore will contribute personnel and equipment to multinational
Business Standard: Singapore to join combat coalition against IS militants
TODAYonline: Singapore to join fight against ISIS

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Update 15 Feb 2015: S'pore, US pledge to boost cooperation in anti-terror fight
Emergency-preparedness exercise simulated attacks on Shenton Way (above), Biopolis and Plaza Singapura

Singapore and the United States have pledged to step up anti-terrorism cooperation, ahead of an inaugural global summit to be organised by the White House on countering violent extremism.

The move was one of the key outcomes of the third US-Singapore Strategic Partnership Dialogue held in the US capital last Friday.

A joint statement said that the dialogue's co-chairs, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Chee Wee Kiong and US top diplomat for Asia Daniel Russel, noted a "mutual desire to work to counter violent extremism in all its forms, having partnered together on the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL". ISIL is another name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militant group, or ISIS.

related:
Govt-wide anti-terror drill on land and at sea
US-led air strikes hit Qaeda branch in Syria: monitor
Coalition chiefs seek plan to counter IS advance
S'pore welcomes UN anti-terror resolution 'and will play its part'
Security tightened at Vatican over attack fears: Report


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