The Memo: 5 Mar—14 Mar 2023

This week's The Memo summarises counterterrorism issues, PCVE highlights, and geopolitical focus for the week of March 5—March 14, 2023.


  • Reports in Malaysian news claim an unnamed local political party in Malaysia is allegedly being supported by a new Islamic State (IS) group.
  • Indonesia’s National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) discloses that individuals with links to terrorist groups allegedly infiltrated a political party in the country.
  • Former Indonesian terrorist Ali Fauzi has transformed his life and earned a PhD after serving prison time for his involvement in a terrorist organisation.
  • Tensions between the Russian military and the Wagner group are rising in their rivalry over Bakhmut, while the Kremlin admits that Putin is losing control of the narrative of the Ukraine war.
  • Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology has unveiled a series of locally made attack and surveillance drones.

In Brief:

Counterterrorism issues:

According to reports, a pro-Islamic State (IS) media arm called Al Malaka Media Centre has been launched by IS supporters in Malaysia. The group, allegedly linked to IS media outlets in Indonesia and the Philippines, is reportedly providing support to a "radical political party and an established radical organisation", and its content and messaging are "available on the dark web". According to reports, Malaysian authorities are now aware of the group's attempts to broaden its reach and are actively monitoring its activities with the assistance of international security and counterterrorism partners.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has revealed that individuals with links to terrorist groups have reportedly joined an unnamed political party in Indonesia, which has been removed from the registry for the upcoming 2024 election, according to the country's National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT). The BNPT chief, Boy Rafli Amar, confirmed that the agency received information and acted upon it to prevent the party's formation. Boy also reassured that the BNPT has been assigned the responsibility of verifying new political parties' manager candidates to identify if they are associated with terrorist organizations.

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) highlights:

Former Indonesian terrorist Ali Fauzi, who served three years in prison for terrorism charges in 2004, has completed his PhD in Islamic education at Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang in East Java in February, 2023. Following his release, Fauzi underwent deradicalisation programmes designed by the Indonesian police and set up a school to educate others about the dangers of radical ideology. He plans to use the knowledge gained from his PhD to continue his deradicalisation efforts. Fauzi comes from a family with extremist views, and his three elder brothers were members of Jemaah Islamiah, a hardline Islamic group responsible for terror attacks across Indonesia in the 1990s and 2000s. Two of them, Amrozi and Ali Ghufron, were executed for masterminding the 2002 Bali Bombing.

Geopolitical focus:

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that tensions between the Russian military and the Wagner Group have escalated in their rivalry over Bakhmut, a city serving as a strategic point for Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The ISW analysis suggests that the Russian Ministry of Defence is deliberately deploying both elite and convict Wagner forces in Bakhmut to undermine Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and his ambitions for greater influence in the Kremlin. The UK intelligence has asserted that Wagner Group is driving recruitment by visiting high schools in Moscow to provide "career talks". Meanwhile, the Kremlin admits that Putin is losing control of the narrative of the Ukraine war, according to Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Emerging technology:

Taiwan's National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology has revealed a series of locally made attack and surveillance drones, which includes a loitering munition and an anti-radiation drone system. The loitering munition has a range of 10km, can stay airborne for 15 minutes, and is designed to take out soft targets such as unarmoured vehicles and high-threat individuals. The anti-radiation drone system has recently entered mass production and will be used by the Taiwanese Air Force. These asymmetric capabilities aim to enhance Taiwan's deterrence and self-defense against China's larger military.

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