"Since September 2001, the United States has been concerned with radical Islamist groups in Southeast Asia, particularly those in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore that are known to have ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Southeast Asia is a base for past, current, and possibly future Al Qaeda operations. For nearly fifteen years, Al Qaeda has penetrated the region by establishing local cells, training Southeast Asians in its camps in Afghanistan, and by financing and cooperating with indigenous radical Islamist groups. Indonesia and the southern Philippines have been particularly vulnerable to penetration by anti-American Islamic terrorist groups. Members of one indigenous network, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), with extensive ties to Al Qaeda, are known to have helped two of the September 11, 2001 hijackers and have confessed to plotting and carrying out attacks against Western targets. [...] To combat the threat, the Bush Administration has pressed countries in the region to arrest suspected terrorist individuals and organizations, deployed over 1,000 troops to the southern Philippines to advise the Philippine military in their fight against the violent Abu Sayyaf Group, launched a Regional Maritime Security Initiative to enhance security in the Straits of Malacca, increased intelligence sharing operations, restarted military-military relations with Indonesia (including restoring International Military Education and Training [IMET]), and provided or requested from Congress over $1 billion in aid to Indonesia and the Philippines."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31672