icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Whatsapp Youtube
Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force
Op-Ed / Asia

Darul Islam's Ongoing Appeal

Originally published in Tempo

The history of Darul Islam (DI) holds powerful lessons for Indonesia today – and not just about the ability of a radical movement to adapt and regenerate. It also teaches us about the cost of ignoring regional grievances; the dangers of trying to exploit Islam for political ends; the importance of cross-generational ties; and the ongoing mystique of an Islamic state.

Sekarmadji Kartosoewirjo in West Java, Kahar Muzakkar in South Sulawesi and Daud Beureueh in Aceh all became heroes to many in their home regions. Each led a DI rebellion against the Indonesian republic, each paid for it in different ways and each became an inspiration for a new movement decades later:

  • Kartosoewirjo, who proclaimed the Islamic State of Indonesia (Negara Islam Indonesia, NII) in 1949, was captured in 1962 and later executed; many of his top lietuenants were amnestied and given livelihood assistance, in an early attempt at a "deradicalisation" program. He was a direct inspiration for all of the groups, violent and non-violent, that seek to establish an Islamic state today, including Jemaah Islamiyah, Ring Banten and other Java-based DI offshoots.
     
  • Kahar Muzakkar was killed in a military raid in 1965; some of his followers fled to Sabah, others to Maluku. The upheaval and displacement caused by the insurgency has left scars in Sulawesi to this day. One of his admirers founded the Hidayatullah pesantren network and his movement inspired the formation of KPPSI, the Makassar-based group advocating application of Islamic law.
     
  • Daud Beureueh’s rebellion in Aceh ended in 1962. After signing a peace agreement with the Indonesian government in 1963, Beureueh was pulled back into a revived DI covering all Indonesia in 1974. He was taken into custody again in 1978 and spent the last decade of his life under house arrest. The Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) claimed his mantle of Acehnese nationalism, and many of the early GAM fighters had fathers who fought in Darul Islam.

Each DI manifestation started out as a response to local grievances. Collectively their emergence underscores one key lesson for the Indonesian state, still applicable to Papua today: perceived inattention by the center to discontent in the periphery can be a potent driver of rebellion.

Kartosoewirjo in particular developed a justification for jihad against a kafir state (first the Dutch, then a secular republic) that includes many elements of what we now know as salafi jihadism. Indeed as a forthcoming book by Indonesian journalist Solahudin explains, one of the reasons the ideology associated with al-Qaeda found such fertile ground here may be in part because it had an indigenous base to build on.

By the late 1950s, leaders of the three insurgencies had established contact and agreed to work for a federated Islamic state. The concept never really worked, however –local goals were far more important for recruitment and mobilisation than shared ones. Forty years later, Indonesian mujahidin learned a similar lesson in a very different context: for all the anger aroused by US policies in the Middle East and elsewhere, it was easier to recruit around Ambon and Poso than around Palestine and Iraq.

Soon after the Indonesian military defeated the last of the DI revolts in 1965, an attempted coup took place involving some leftwing officers and members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). The top priority of the military and Gen. Soeharto, who came to power in the aftermath of that attempt, became the PKI’s elimination, and in this, the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" became operative. Some of the fiercely anti-Communist leaders of DI in Java were offered weapons in exchange for taking part operations against suspected party members. By 1971, when Soeharto was planning the first election of the New Order, DI members, now seen as potential partners, were brought together by Indonesian intelligence for a three-day reunion in the hope that a revived DI would help secure a victory in West Java for a new mass organisation called GOLKAR.

Government funds and facilities thus provided the wherewithal for the revival of a movement which soon bit the hand that fed it. Radicalised both by Soeharto policies that were seen as anti-Islamic and by the writings of militant Islamic thinkers, newly available in Indonesian translation, its members went underground and began working against the state. As the only extant group in Indonesia with a history of actual combat in service of an Islamic state, it attracted more and more recruits as New Order repression increased – among them Abdullah Sungkar, the founder of JI and a fellow cleric, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. One lesson that should have been learned but wasn’t: cooptation of or partnership with radical Islamic groups never works as planned and the costs always exceed the benefits.

Major government crackdowns on DI/NII took place throughout Java in the 1970s and 80s, leading to the arrest of nearly the entire senior leadership of DI. One particular aspect of these arrests stands out: many of those arrested had sons who twenty years later emerged as leaders of JI and/or active participants in jihadi operations.

For example, four DI leaders arrested during this period were Haji Faleh and Achmad Hussein from Kudus; Muhammad Zainuri from Madiun; and Bukhori from Magetan. Haji Faleh’s son, Abu Rusdan, became caretaker JI amir after Abu Bakar Ba’asyir was arrested in 2002, although he was never involved in violence. One of Achmad Hussein’s sons, Taufik Ahmad alias Abu Arina, became a leader of JI-Central Java. Zainuri’s son, Fathurrahman al-Ghozi, killed in Mindanao in 2003, was involved in JI bombings in Jakarta and Manila; his younger son, Ahmad Rofiq Ridho alias Ali Zein, was arrested in connection with Noordin Top. Bukhori’s son, Lutfi Haedaroh alias Ubeid, was just arrested for the second time in connection with the jihadi training camp in Aceh; both Ubeid and his brother Umar Burhanuddin worked with Noordin in the lead-up to the 2004 embassy bombing. Daughters of DI leaders arrested in the 1970s also ended up as wives of JI leaders in the 1990s.

If Indonesia can learn from the past, it should be targeting counter-radicalisation programs at the younger siblings and children of arrested radicals. This leads to the question of schools. Kartosoewirjo, more than Daud Beureueh or Kahar Muzakkar, understood that indoctrination and regeneration went hand in hand. The school that he founded, the Suffah Institute, combined political and religious studies with military training, in a way that became a model for famous JI schools such as al-Mukmin pesantren in Ngruki or Lukmanul Hakiem in Johor, Malaysia. Even as JI seems to have entered a period of dormancy, its affiliated schools in Java, Lampung, Lombok and elsewhere are the key to its long-term survival, because it is here where the children of current leaders are being educated. The newly created anti-terror agency, BNPT, should have as one of its priorities a program to ensure that these schools – over 50 at last count – are subjected to greater government supervision and that the children enrolled in them are involved in community activities that draw them into broader social networks.

The history of Darul Islam offers another lesson that Indonesia would do well to study: when the leadership grows old or passive, a new militant wing emerges ready to fight. Ideological splits, policy differences and personality disputes have characterized DI from its revival in the early 1970s until the present. The best-known split in 1993 produced Jemaah Islamiyah, but other factions emerged as dissatisfaction mounted in 1999 and 2000 with DI’s do-nothing approach toward conflicts in Ambon and Poso. Noordin Top broke away from JI in 2003-4, taking his followers in a more militant direction. Most recently, the cross-organisational alliance that built a training camp in Aceh represented disaffected elements from a number of groups, all critical of JI’s withdrawal from active jihad.

Darul Islam is not a museum piece – now more than half a century old, it continues to evolve, its offshoots continue to constitute the core of militant Islam in Indonesia, and the idea of an Islamic state continues to resonate with new generations.

Anyone who doubts the lasting power of Darul Islam to inspire young Indonesians should read the last testament of Iqbal alias Arnasan, one of the two suicide bombers in the first Bali bombing. He wrote to his friends and family in Malingping, West Java, a former DI stronghold:

"Remember, o mujahidin of Malingping, how our imam, SM Kartosuwirjo built and upheld and proclaimed the independence of the Islamic State of Indonesia with the blood and lives of martyrs, not by relaxing and fooling around the way we do today. If you are serious about see ing the glory of the buried Islamic State of Indonesia rise again, shed your blood so you will not be ashamed to face Allah, you who acknowledge yourselves to be children of DI/NII".

Op-Ed / Asia

Indonesia's Police: The Problem of Deadly Force

Originally published in The Interpreter

My four year-old daughter recently came home from her Jakarta kindergarten with a story about a visit to the school from the head of our local police station. 'If there is a robber and he's running away, the policeman will pull out his gun, fire in the air, and if he doesn't stop then he will shoot him in the leg', she recounted breathlessly.

I have spent 25 years working in and around conflict zones, including more than a decade in Indonesia. My reaction might not have been that of the average parent. 'That', I replied, 'is a violation of Perkap Number 8.' Needless to say, my reference to Police Regulation Number 8 of 2009 regarding Implementation of Human Rights Principles and Standards in the Discharge of Duties of the Indonesian National Police was lost on her. She thought the visit was great.

I had recalled Perkap 8 when re-reading the Hansard of the recent sparring between Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr and Victoria Greens Senator Richard Di Natale over the police shooting of protesters in Papua. But it is not just in Papua where questionable use of deadly force by the Indonesian National Police (INP) takes place. It happens across the country. And this was what Perkap 8 was put in place to prevent.

Article 47 of Perkap 8 says that 'the use of firearms shall be allowed only if strictly necessary to preserve human life' and 'firearms may only be used by officers: a. when facing extraordinary circumstances; b. for self defense against threat of death and/or serious injury; c. for the defense of others against threat of death and/or serious injury.' This is Indonesian law, taken from the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and this is what should be used to assess police actions, wherever in the country they occur.

The fatal shooting on 14 June 2012 of Mako Tabuni, deputy head of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), in Jayapura, capital of Papua province, made Senate Estimates in 2012. The shooting of three protesters in Sorong on 30 April 2013, West Papua province, was mentioned in the testy 5 June 2013 exchanges between Senators Carr and Di Natale. You can watch it above.

In the first incident, detectives shot a suspect in the leg as he was running away and then left him to die in a hospital allegedly without making any effort to treat his wounds. In the second, police claim they were threatened by armed KNPB activists. Without more information it is difficult to judge if their response was disproportionate. Police always say they are shooting in self-defense, but it has become such a common excuse that it has started to lose its plausibility.

Cases outside Papua do not garner much attention in Australia, but lethal shootings happen all the time. On 1 September 2011 seven villagers were killed during a rowdy protest against police brutality in the Central Sulawesi district of Buol, a place so obscure even most Indonesians cannot find it on a map.

On 7 March 2013, soldiers burned down a police station in Baturaja, South Sumatra, after their off-duty comrade, First Private Heru Oktavianus, was shot dead by a police officer while speeding away from a traffic violation.

On 8 May 2013 police in Java killed six suspected terrorists in a series of raids. The police usually claim the suspects were armed and resisted arrest. But it is not always true, and many could have almost certainly been captured alive.

Ordinary criminals are shot with distressing frequency, as my daughter's visitor suggests, without any outcry at home or abroad.

Perkap 8 was signed by the then police chief Sutanto, a real reformer. It has not gotten very far. One foreign police officer working on a bilateral community policing program in a large metropolitan command told me he had once seen a copy of the Perkap on the chief's desk but suspected it had been disseminated no further.

Even when progressive regulations or orders are issued and disseminated, they are not always followed. In October 2012, the police chief of Papua, Tito Karnavian, former head of the anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88 (Densus 88), announced that he had banned police from using live ammunition when handling demonstrations in the region. This was progress and it was implemented for some demos, but the deaths in the Sorong case suggest live ammunition was used.

As Article 46 of Perkap 8 says, 'all officers must be trained in the use of power, equipment and firearms that can be used in applying force' and 'must be trained in non-violent techniques and methods.' Training almost 400,000 officers across 33 provinces is a logistical challenge, though it might be a good idea to start with elite units such as Densus 88 or personnel in the Papua provinces.

The new national head of the INP, about to be appointed, might breathe new life into two reforms already in place: implementation of Perkap 8 and Chief Sutanto's other landmark regulation on community policing, Perkap 7. The INP is a very hierarchical organisation that does follow firm orders from above. While its size makes complex reform difficult, its hierarchical nature makes implementing existing regulations with firm orders easier.

The first duty of the incoming INP chief, who reports directly to the president, will be to secure the 2014 elections. Making sure those deployed to safeguard this 'festival of democracy' are properly trained and equipped to use non-lethal force will be an important first step. After a new head of state is elected, he or she should consider issuing a directive that would see Perkap 8 properly implemented. The use of less deadly force could even be politically popular in some parts.

Outside help may also be needed, and this is where Australia comes in. A few decades back, the Victorian state police had a problem of using too much deadly force and created Project Beacon to try to rectify it. They changed the way they thought about the problem, overhauled training, and gave officers on the beat new tools, like pepper spray. Foreign assistance along these lines could help the INP improve performance and increase accountability. Crisis Group has long argued that the INP needs better orders, training, and equipment for the use of non-deadly force.

If the INP is to be more the service it aspires to be rather than the force it is, it needs to shed its military mindset, hold serious post-operation reviews after each fatal incident, and decrease reliance on shooting first and asking questions later, regardless of whether officers are following locally accepted standard procedure. When the time comes and the INP is ready to carry forward the reform of Perkap 8, Australia should be there to help.