In ethnically and religiously charged second round of Jakarta gubernatorial election 19 April, incumbent Chinese-descent Christian Basuki Tjahaka Purnama “Ahok” lost to his main challenger Anies Baswedan, former education minister under President Widodo, with unofficial count giving him 42% of vote to Baswedan’s 58%; official results to be released early May. Purnama’s trial on blasphemy charges resumed 20 April, with prosecutors recommending probation. Police said they killed six suspected militants in E Java 8 April, day after arrest of three suspected members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, group which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS). State news agency 12 April reported National Agency for Countering Terrorism (BNPT) and Financial Transactions Analysis and Reporting Center (PPATK) signed memorandum of agreement to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
A dispute over a flag in Aceh is testing the limits of autonomy, irritating Indonesia’s central government, heightening ethnic tensions, reviving a campaign for the division of the province and raising fears of violence as the 2014 national elections approach.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to act more firmly against institutions and officials that defy national court rulings or his inaction risks prolonging local conflicts.
The only measure likely to halt violence in Indonesia’s Papua province in the short term is a major overhaul of security policy.
Almost ten years after the 2002 Bali bombing, Indonesian extremists are weak and divided but still finding partners for new operations.
Election monitors should begin deployment to Aceh long before the 9 April election to deter intimidation.
Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.
Lecture by Sidney Jones at International Policy Studies program of Stanford University, 5 December 2012.
Originally published in The Interpreter
Originally published in The Jakarta Globe
Originally published in Myanmar Times