Indonesia: Killing Them With Kindness

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November 24, 2010: Counter-intelligence officials are trying to get more laws passed making it easier to investigate Islamic terror groups. There is lot of resistance to new laws, given the Indonesian cultural traditions that stress discussions and compromise. These same customs enrage Islamic conservatives, who demand strict adherence to Islamic law (Sharia). Only a small minority of Indonesians favor Sharia, and even fewer back Islamic terrorism. But there are enough of these radicals active to pose a continuing threat to non-Moslem Indonesians. Local Moslems are becoming more active in opposing these radicals, especially Islamic radicals using violence to force Moslems to obey Sharia and  non-Moslems to convert to Islam or leave the country.

The general hostility to Islamic extremism makes it difficult to plan and carry out terror attacks in Indonesia, but anger at foreigners criticizing Indonesia for police brutality or counter-terrorism tactics makes many Indonesians more willing to tolerate Islamic radical operations that are aimed at attacks outside the country. Naturally, these external operations are a worry to Indonesia's neighbors, and Western counter-terror officials in general. But Indonesian counter-terror efforts, not surprisingly, emphasize going after Islamic radicals that are out to cause trouble inside Indonesia.

November 20, 2010: In Papua-New Guinea, police arrested nine people for raising the separatist flag. The police keep looking for armed rebels, but most of the separatists are more into demonstrating and trying to get a conversation going.

November 11, 2010: Four soldiers were sentenced to seven months in jail for abusing Papuan civilians (hitting them with a helmet) while questioning them about weapons. The soldiers were caught on a video that got into general circulation. Police brutality is common throughout the region, and Indonesian police also tend to be corrupt as well. Indonesia has laws that prohibit the corruption and brutality, but these laws are generally ignored as long as the police catch criminals. But in Papua, the "criminals" are tribal separatists who are locally popular, but feared and despised by the majority of Indonesians outside Papua. Thus the government is reluctant to force the police to behave, and resent foreign NGOs coming in and publicizing police misbehavior. Intelligence officials are also unhappy with these foreign activists revealing how information gathering efforts have infiltrated NGOs and other political organizations in the name to national security.

November 4, 2010: A court sentenced Eko Budi Wardoyo, a radical Islamic cleric, to ten years imprisonment for involvement in the murder of a priest in 2004 and a 2005 bombing that killed 22 people. Islamic terror groups tend to have a radical cleric as part of their inner leadership. The cleric usually does not get involved in planning or actually carrying out attacks, but serves more to encourage the terrorists and help with recruitment and maintaining morale.

October 30, 2010: Police revealed they had arrested Taufik Marzuki, a leader in a Aceh based al Qaeda affiliate. Police are making a major effort against Islamic radicals that have been trying to put down roots in Aceh.

 

 

 

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