Group of religious leaders, human rights activists, researchers and lawyers 20 Feb released joint statement expressing alarm over spate of violent attacks against places of worship around country, including 11 Feb sword attack on Catholic church that injured four people. Court 6 Feb sentenced terrorist Suryadi Mas’ud, alias Montilla Perez, to ten years’ jail for procuring firearms in Philippines and involvement in funding terrorism. Zainal Anshori, head of Islamic State (ISIS)-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, sentenced for seven years 10 Feb by East Jakarta District Court for plans to smuggle weapons from southern Philippines; his group believed to be responsible for several terror plots in Indonesia including deadly Jan 2016 attack in Jakarta.
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