Police late Dec reported arrests of suspected terrorists in 2016 at 137, up from 75 in 2015; 33 suspected terrorists killed by security forces, up from seven in 2015; police said increase due to dynamics within Islamic State and in Syria and Iraq. Military commander 19 Jan announced military will build new naval base in Papua, part of move to border areas to “help create new economic centres and trigger development”. Indonesia early Jan suspended its language training for Australian military following controversy over training materials in Perth military base found offensive to Indonesia’s pancasila ideology and thought to encourage West Papuan independence movement; Indonesian govt back-pedalled after commander of military forces, Gen Gatot Nurmantyo, had initially unilaterally announced suspension of all military cooperation with Australia.
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