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Old 06-20-2007   #21
Jedburgh
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The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Focus, 19 Jun 07:

Indonesia Neutralizes JI as Immediate Threat
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...It is evident that the number of first-generation, al-Qaeda trained operatives is dwindling, which will have important ramifications for the strategies that JI embarks on in the coming years. A lesser-known cadre of leaders should be expected to emerge out of the more traditional Darul Islam wings who will be more engaged in fomenting sectarian violence as well as in social welfare and dawa activities to rebuild JI's depleted ranks. Two of its four wings focus on recruitment. Assassinations and kidnappings by fringe groups may also increase. In the short-term, however, Indonesian counter-terrorism police unit Densus-88 deserves inordinate credit for neutralizing JI as an immediate threat.
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Old 06-26-2007   #22
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Default Bashir complains about CT successes in Indonesia

The success of Detachment 88 is obviously starting to 'bite' amongst JI. The latest from the alleged spiritual leader of JI, quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Commission this evening (Tues 26 Jun):

http://http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/26/1962819.htm?section=justin"]http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/26/1962819.htm?section=justin"]http://http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/26/1962819.htm?section=justin

Last edited by Mark O'Neill; 06-26-2007 at 11:42 AM. Reason: fix link
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Old 06-26-2007   #23
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Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post
The success of Detachment 88 is obviously starting to 'bite' amongst JI. The latest from the alleged spiritual leader of JI, quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Commission this evening (Tues 26 Jun):

http://http://www.abc.net.au/news/st...section=justin

Can't get the link to open. I think you have one too many "http"s in there.
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Old 06-26-2007   #24
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Can't get the link to open. I think you have one too many "http"s in there.
yep, sorry, works now.
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Old 07-09-2007   #25
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....he's not just complaining about CT efforts, he's considering a run for office:

ISN Network, 9 Jul 07: Courting Sharia in Indonesia
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Reports say that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir - the reputed spiritual leader of the militant Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and head of the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia party (MMI) - is considering running for president of Indonesia in elections scheduled for 2009.

While an estimated 86.4 percent of Indonesia's 234 million citizens are Muslims, most are moderates, and some of Ba'asyir's policies, especially his call for the implementation of Sharia law, could well strike resonant chords among many.

Ba'asyir's MMI is an umbrella organization for groups fighting for Sharia law in Indonesia.

While Ba'asyir denies involvement with the militant JI, he has stood trial and been convicted of involvement in terrorism and the recent arrests of top JI commanders have implicated him in direct involvement in the group's leadership.....
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Old 07-14-2007   #26
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Default I wouldn't be too worried

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Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
....he's not just complaining about CT efforts, he's considering a run for office:

ISN Network, 9 Jul 07: Courting Sharia in Indonesia
JI is definitely a minor rump group compared to many other Islamic parties that have already 'embraced' the democratic process in Indonesia. The idea of Bashir getting a serious run in the presidential elections would appear to be a farcical pipe dream.

For good information about the state of these things I really commend the International Crisis Group's reports on JI to you. Sidney Jones has a hand in these and I do not think that there are too many others with such in depth knowledge.

At the same time, I would try and avoid 99.9% of what Abuza or Gunaratana write about JI. From SE Asia and Indonesia experts I have spoken with , their fame appears to be inversely proportional to their knowledge.
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Old 07-14-2007   #27
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At the same time, I would try and avoid 99.9% of what Abuza or Gunaratana write about JI. From SE Asia and Indonesia experts I have spoken with , their fame appears to be inversely proportional to their knowledge.
I have known Zack and Rohan for a number of years and based on my experiences in SE Asia they are very knowledgable - Zack particularly has great access to the MILF and MNLF in the Philippines.
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Old 07-14-2007   #28
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I have known Zack and Rohan for a number of years and based on my experiences in SE Asia they are very knowledgable - Zack particularly has great access to the MILF and MNLF in the Philippines.
You will note that I specifically mentioned JI. I did not offer any opinion on the Southern Philippines or any of the groups there.

I stand by my statement.
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Old 07-15-2007   #29
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You will note that I specifically mentioned JI. I did not offer any opinion on the Southern Philippines or any of the groups there.

I stand by my statement.
Well the JI is here in the Philippines and from my first hand knowledge of Zack's and Rohan's work I believe that they do know what they are talking about and other SE Asia experts, operators and analysts, that I know and work with in Indonesia and throughout the region respect highly their work as well.

I stand by my statements.
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Old 07-15-2007   #30
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Hi David,

I think it is important that people understand that there are a lot of quite different interpretations of what is happening in SE Asia other than those being offered by these two men.

That is not to say that they should not be heard - far from it - just that what they say should be evaluated against both credible criticisms, and some knowledge of their positions and backgrounds. The problem at the moment that I see (as foreshadowed in my previous post) is that the 'popular media' (and some government and defence agencies) has to date almost uncritically swallowed hook line and sinker whatever these men publish.

There are two parts to developing such a picture. First is establishing the veracity or otherwise of what they write. Second is understanding their motivations and or support.

For the first part, I note that I am relying in part here on a recent seminar conducted by Prof Carl Thayer (who at one point Abuza has acknowledged as a form of mentor on SE Asia) at the Defence and Security Applications Research Centre at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

I have also spoken at length to credible regional experts based here in Australia and the region regarding both authors works.... perhaps / probably even some of the same people you refer to .

I have only relied on open source, unclassified material in forming my concerns.

There is a body of literature critical of the techniques and analysis employed by both authors. These criticisms have been published in refereed journals( World Politics, Critical Asian Studies, Survival and South -East Asian Affairs) as well as regional newspapers such as the Jakarta Post.

I have distilled down these criticisms into the two main ones made openly:

1. Both authors make unsubstantiated claims. This normally involves only citing 'Intelligence sources". Byman on Gunaratna's Inside Al Qaeda "Although it often overwhelms the reader in detail , many of its key claims... are unsupported. In addition, it often relies on intelligence reporting without so much of a hint of whether the material is from an interview, a document , or a media leak. Other claims by Gunaratna deserve additional substantiation..."

2. Abuza lacks sufficient knowledge of Islam, Arabic, Indonesian or Malaya and Islam in SE Asia in general (The Jakarta Post). This leads to excessive reliance on secondary sources . Tim Huxley on Militant Islam: "It reads largely like a rough, unedited first draft, replete with inappropriate and factual inaccuracies". Kit Collier on the same work: " It is tedious to recount the numerous errors of fact, spelling, and interpretation that plague Abuza's work. This may explain why there has been so little published criticism of it. For country specialists, these errors expose a weak grounding in history, geography, and culture of the peoples described. Unfortunately, the errors are reproduced by other regionalists drawing on Abuza'.

It should be noted that prior to becoming an SE Asia Islamic terror 'expert' post 9 -11, Abuza's substantive academic knowledge was in other parts of Asia. He was not an Islamic scholar.

I have also heard both men speak at seminars. I have questioned Abuza about some of his assertions with regard to the (to date) unsubstantiated claims he has offered about JI's alleged or likely role in Southern Thailand. He could not offer any proof of the claims made and basically admitted it was in fact largely speculation based on what seemed plausible.

I have no problem with admitting the 'possible' plausibility of his points - they are highly plausible in this instance - but that does not make them fact. I have serious concerns when a man regarded as a credible figure is making assertions based on speculation.

Two weeks ago I had a substantial discussion with Sidney Jones from the ICG. She basically offered a diametrically opposed view of JI ,and its current abilities, to that offered by Abuza in Political Islam and Violence in Indonesia. I do not have sufficient knowledge of the subject matter to have arrived at a definitive personal opinion, but the differences that arose were striking and again gave me cause to question the certainty that Abuza offers in his opinions.

The second point was with regard to where both men are coming 'from'. Gunaratna's organisation receives a significant amount of support from his national government. It would reasonably be expected that this shapes certain things with regard to perceptions and message delivery. Likewise, Abuza receives / has received quite large sums of money from various think tanks and organisations in the US, some of whom are neither independent or non-partisan. All messages need to be interpreted against the background knowledge of who is paying for their production (and why).

Finally, both men make money from selling books. Books that do not sell do not make money. Since 9/11 very few authors have gone broke by inflating the threat of terrorism....


regards,

Mark
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Old 07-15-2007   #31
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Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post


Finally, both men make money from selling books. Books that do not sell do not make money. Since 9/11 very few authors have gone broke by inflating the threat of terrorism....


regards,

Mark
Excellent points and certainly you have provided a useful perspective. Thank you. However, in Zack's defense I would offer that the books he has written do not sell well. He has not made a lot of money from his books. But I appreciate your analysis and perspective though I find Zack's first person sources from actually meeting with and interviewing key figures on both sides in SE Asia to be very valuable.

V/R,

Dave
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Old 07-19-2007   #32
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ICG, 19 Jul 07: Indonesian Papua: A Local Perspective on the Conflict
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Most outside observers see only one dimension of conflict in Papua – the Indonesian government vs. the independence movement – but it is much more complex. Tensions among tribal groups and between indigenous Papuans and non-Papuan settlers, as well as competition over political power and access to spoils at the district and sub-district levels, are also important. The issues vary substantially from one region to another. National and international attention has tended to focus on the northern coast and the central highlands, with relatively little on the districts in the south, which have long felt excluded from politics in the Papuan capital, Jayapura....
Good background, also from ICG, 5 Sep 06: Papua: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
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Old 08-29-2007   #33
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Time, 9 Aug 07: How Indonesia is Winning its War on Terror
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....Since the first Bali bombings five years ago, Indonesia has transformed itself from a country riddled with radical Islamist movements and terror threats — Indonesians once called autumn "the bombing season" because attacks had become so regular — to one of the world's few triumphs in fighting terrorism. Even better, Jakarta has succeeded without resorting to the draconian antiterror tactics increasingly preferred by governments from Sri Lanka to Iraq.

In recent years, Indonesian authorities have arrested or killed some 300 alleged militants. Indonesia has won removal from the Financial Action Task Force's list of nations not complying with global standards on fighting money laundering and terror, and earned praise from the U.S. State Department, which lauds its "new urgency on counterterrorism." The International Crisis Group's Southeast Asia project director, Sidney Jones, probably the world's leading expert on Indonesian terror, agrees, concluding that J.I. is "certainly much weaker" today than ever before.....
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Old 10-04-2007   #34
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ICG, 4 Oct 07: Aceh: Post-Conflict Complications
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Two years after the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Helsinki, the peace is holding – but it is not the peace that many envisioned. The euphoria that swept Aceh after GAM candidates trounced their opponents in the December 2006 local elections is gone, replaced by a sense of gloom that the new elite is not that different from the old, and as many divisions are being created as healed in Acehnese society.

Jobs and contracts are going to the victors: loyalty to GAM has replaced good connections to Jakarta or local army commanders as the key to political and business opportunities. Extortion by ex-combatants is rampant, and armed robberies are on the rise, many carried out by former fighters operating outside any command structure. In some areas – North Aceh is one – former commanders of GAM’s armed wing, now called the Aceh Transition Committee (Komite Peralihan Aceh, KPA), serve as a virtual shadow government, playing much the same role as the Indonesian military did in the past vis-à-vis civilian officials, although without the clout of an authoritarian state behind them. Journalists have found that many KPA leaders have an allergy to criticism and a sense of themselves as above the law that do not bode well for democratic governance.

The cash that has made new and lucrative patronage networks available to GAM members has also divided a fractious movement still further, deepening divisions at the top and creating new fault lines between commanders with access to funds and the rank-and-file who feel they have not received their fair share. Many KPA members who consider themselves short-changed or simply deserving of a cut take matters into their own hands and exact payments from businesses, contractors and sometimes non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or turn to profitable pursuits like illegal logging....
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Old 11-19-2007   #35
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ICG, 19 Nov 07: Deradicalisation and Indonesian Prisons
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Even as the police are focusing their deradicalisation program on prisoners and ex-prisoners, they are the first to acknowledge that the current state of Indonesian prisons undermines their efforts. It is a telling indictment of the system that they do their best to keep top terrorists at police headquarters, out of the normal prison system entirely, because the chances of backsliding are so high.

Choices about isolation or integration are important but they cannot be made outside a broader program of prison reform, particularly an attack on prison corruption, which is very much on the agenda of the new director general of corrections. More important than choosing between two policies, in any case, is training prison administrators to look at terrorist prisoners as individuals and tailor prison programs to their needs.

Deradicalisation programs are important but they will inevitably be trial-and-error in nature; there is no single intervention that can produce a rejection of violence among a disparate group of people who have joined radical movements for many different reasons. Within JI alone there are the ideologues, the thugs, the utopians, the followers and the inadvertent accomplices; local recruits from Poso are motivated by very different factors than those who graduate from JI-affiliated schools in central Java.

Much more thought needs to be given to how to evaluate the “success” of deradicalisation programs, because there is a danger that many people deemed to have been deradicalised are those who were never the real problem, or that the reasons individuals renounce violence have nothing to do with police programs. Even if we could measure the number of people deradicalised according to specific criteria, that figure would only have meaning if we had some sense of the number of new recruits and knew that the balance was going in the right direction.

Focusing on the criminals-turned-jihadis in prison is also important. In all the prisons where “ustadz” are held, there is likely to be a small group of such men but it is not clear that anyone is tracking them or turning deradicalisation efforts in their direction. If it is important to design programs to ensure newly released JI members have vocational opportunities, what about the criminal recruits who may, like Beni Irawan, the Kerobokan guard, turn out to be more militant than their mentors? These men also need to be the focus of special programs and thus far have been left out.

It is hard to set performance goals for deradicalisation because it means so many different things to different people. But setting such goals for improving prison management is possible, desirable and critically necessary.
Complete 35 page paper at the link.
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Old 01-22-2008   #36
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22 Jan 08: Indonesia: Tackling Radicalism in Poso
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Serious violence in Poso has had a ten-year history. Between 1998 and 2001, it had been the scene of Christian-Muslim fighting. After 2001 and a government-brokered peace pact, the violence became one-sided, with local extremists, many of them linked to and directed by the extremist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), mounting attacks on Christians, local officials and suspected informants. The 11 and 22 January 2007 operations were the culmination of almost a year’s unsuccessful effort by the police to persuade those responsible for criminal acts to turn themselves in. Fourteen militants and one policeman died in the process, but Poso is quieter and safer, by all accounts, than it has been in years. As a result of the January operations:

�� almost all the JI religious teachers from Java have fled the area;

�� the perpetrators of all the jihadi crimes committed since the 2001 Malino peace accord have been identified, and most have been arrested, tried and convicted, without any backlash;

�� the JI administrative unit (wakalah) in Poso appears to have been destroyed, at least temporarily;

�� a major vocational training program is underway aimed at ensuring that would-be extremists have career opportunities that will keep them out of trouble;

�� the central government has made new funding available, including for improving education in the hope of diluting the influence of radical teaching; and

�� no serious violence has taken place in Poso in twelve months.
Complete 12 page paper at the link.
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Old 02-29-2008   #37
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ICG, 28 Feb 08: Indonesia: Jemaah Islamiyah’s Publishing Industry
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A handful of members and persons close to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Indonesia’s most prominent extremist organisation, have developed a profitable publishing consortium in and around the pesantren (religious school) founded by Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and Abdullah Sungkar in Solo, Central Java. The consortium has become an important vehicle for the dissemination of jihadi thought, getting cheap and attractively printed books into mosques, bookstores and discussion groups. The publishing venture demonstrates JI’s resilience and the extent to which radical ideology has developed roots in Indonesia. The Indonesian government should monitor these enterprises more closely, but they may be playing a useful role by channelling JI energies into waging jihad through the printed page rather than acts of violence.....
Complete 25 page report at the link.
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Old 06-16-2008   #38
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ICG, 16 Jun 08: Indonesia: Communal Tensions in Papua
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....The potential for communal conflict is high in Papua because both sides consider themselves aggrieved. Indigenous Christians feel threatened by ongoing Muslim migration; Muslim migrants feel democracy may be leading to a tyranny of the majority, where in the long term they will face discrimination or even expulsion. Even though there are significant rifts and factions in both communities, especially over competing nationalisms (Indonesian vs. Papuan), the developments in Manokwari and Kaimana may be a sign of more clashes to come.....
Complete 35 page report at the link.
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Old 07-03-2008   #39
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IHT, 3 Jul 08: Islamic militants abort terror attack in western Indonesia at last minute
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Militants linked to Southeast Asia's most wanted terror suspect placed three bombs inside a tiny cafe in western Indonesia, but aborted their attack at the last minute after realizing many of the victims would have been Muslims, police said Thursday.

The revelation came during the interrogation of 10 men who were arrested this week on Sumatra Island. Twenty-two explosives also were seized, many packed with bullets to maximize the impact of the blasts, said police spokesman Maj. Gen. Abubakar Nataprawira.

The busts highlighted the lingering threat in Indonesia, which has been hit by a string of suicide bombings in recent years, including the 2002 Bali nightclubs attacks that thrust the world's most populous Muslim nation onto the front lines in the war on terrorism.......
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Old 07-22-2008   #40
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CHD, Jun 08: Non-Governmental Actors in Peace Processes: The Case of Aceh
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....Two peace processes were conducted in Aceh, first, lead by Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (from now on HDC) in 1999-2004, and the other by the CMI-Crisis Management Initiative (from now on CMI) and the former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari (Helsinki negotiations) in 2005. Both created an atmosphere of optimism and reduced the annual number of casualties. The fact that the latter of the two heavily built on the principles agreed upon by the former makes the distinction of the two processes difficult. From the point of view of third party agency, though, they can be separated as the third parties involved, were different. After the signing of Memorandum of Understanding on peace between GAM and the government of Indonesia on August 15, 2005, the conflict has ceased to exist and there has only been a few casualties ever since between the two former conflicting parties.5 While there is a considerable risk of the conflict reoccurring, if economic and political structures of conflict cannot be transformed in time, and if the agreements agreed upon are not honestly implemented, the process to peace can be largely treated as a successful case. Aside with the fact that peace negotiations never involved the parliament, and the lack of commitment of the parliament could become a problem in the legislative implementation of the peace deal, it would be difficult to pinpoint clear problems in the peace process itself that could later be seen as causes, if the conflict reoccurs.....
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