Tense Jakarta governor election went to second round after neither of the two leading candidates – incumbent Basuki Tjahaka Purnama, Chinese-descent Christian backed by President Widodo and currently on trial for alleged blasphemy, and former Education Minister Anies Baswedan – won outright majority in 15 Feb vote. Next vote scheduled for April. Islamists who staged rallies against Purnama late 2016 protested again 21 Feb demanding he be suspended as mayor and convicted. Indonesia and Australia 26 Feb restored full military ties, partially suspended in Jan. Police shot dead man with alleged links to IS following small explosion in Bandung 27 Feb.
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