Jan. 25 (EIRNS)—Six Southeast Asian nations—Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand—have launched an intelligence-sharing pact aimed at combatting Islamist militants and improving cooperation on security threats at a meeting held at Jakarta today, Reuters reported.
At the meeting, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said other nations could be invited to join the “Our Eyes Initiative” (OEI) intelligence network, whose name is inspired by the long-standing “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance among the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Channel News Asia reported.
According to Reuters, the intelligence-sharing arrangement was launched after insurgents allied with the Islamic State had laid siege to the southern Philippine city of Marawi last year. Dozens of foreigners, most notably Indonesians and Malaysians, were among hundreds of militants who seized large parts of Marawi and engaged in a ferocious battle with Philippine forces that left much of the city in ruins and more than 1,100 people dead, according to government figures.
Ryacudu said the intelligence sharing was specifically for combatting terrorism and radicalism, and preventing the region from becoming like Southwest Asia.