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Old 01-24-2013   #61
davidbfpo
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Default Starts well, then goes bizarre

A very short review by a Singapore think tank of recent developments:
Quote:
The recent killings of militants belonging to the so-called East Indonesia Mujahidin Commandos point not to the rise of a brand new militant network, but rather, yet another “mutation” of the old Darul Islam separatist movement or “super-organism.”
Link:http://www.rsis.edu.sg/publications/...SIS0082013.pdf

One does wonder how they reached this conclusion, first the apparent situation, followed by a frankly bizarre suggestion (edited citation):
Quote:
Finally, the Indonesian police must recognise that excessive use of force actually strengthens the hand of Santoso and his ilk. Granted, the police have suffered casualties themselves at the hands of the militants in recent years. Thus some police officers apparently maintain that “the best kind of deradicalisation is through killing (such) people”. Such an attitude however is counter-productive: worryingly, human rights observers complain that heavy-handed Densus 88 tactics are “driving militancy”.

Perhaps all police units should explore more systematically the calibrated use of so-called less-lethal weaponry, such as for instance acoustic and directed energy weapons, with Western assistance.
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Old 08-22-2013   #62
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Default Mainly terrorism in Indonesia: catch all

My title will be a familiar theme to SWC, the focus of a new book probably not - Indonesia, a key nation, partly due to its majority Muslim character.

This week the Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute launched a new book, The Roots of Terrorism in Indonesia: from Darul Islam to Jema'ah Islamiyah, by a leading authority on Islamic extremism in Indonesia, Solahudin:
Quote:
Based on a remarkable bredth of original material, Solahudin's book shows how the ideas and form of activism that lead to the Bali Bombings in 2002 have a long and complex history in Indonesia, stretching back to Darul Islam revolt in the 1940s. Solahudin argues that 'al Qaeda-style ideology has been present in Indonesia for decades, long before al Qaeda itself emerged in the 1980s.
There are a small number of links to reviews, a podcast etc on:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...Solahudin.aspx

In a longer Lowy comment 'Is the 'far enemy' off the agenda for Indonesian terrorists?' the author explains how terrorism has shifted to the 'near enemy', notably the police, from the 'far enemy', usually the Western presence. He refers to the impact since 2006 of a Jordanian theologian's writings - a new name for me, Muhammad Al Maqdisi and jihad tamkin. Ideology is in constant flux, so the target can change.

It ends with:
Quote:
Consequently, a key to understanding terrorism in Indonesia, including whether or not terrorists will again attack the far enemy, is to have knowledge of the local and international political situation and of ideological changes in terrorist circles.
Link:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...errorists.aspx

The book is not (yet) on Amazon, it is available from the Australian publisher:http://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/book...aah-islamiyah/

I placed this thread here instead of the Asia-Pacific forum as the book and comments apply far beyond Indonesia.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-26-2013 at 07:18 PM. Reason: Copied from Adversary thread and lightly edited
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Old 08-22-2013   #63
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Default Soapbox (partially) averted.

First, I'm very excited this book was translated into English. Solahudin has a reputation for doing solid work, and I can't wait to get my hands on this.

Second:
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Indonesia, a key nation, partly due to its majority Muslim character.
Indonesia isn't just a Muslim majority. It is the world's most populous Muslim country, even beating out Pakistan. I think just under 13% of the world's Muslims live in Indonesia, yet only 83% or so of the population is Muslim. Let's sit and think about that for a second. They are the most populous Muslim nation on Earth, and while they're a majority, they have more religious diversity there than any other Muslim country. Pretty neat! Okay, enough of me geeking out.

Third:
David, you summed this up nicely.
Quote:
Ideology is in constant flux, so the target can change.
I think there is a tendency for people to look at a group, analyze them, and say "Okay. We know them." This is dead wrong. They change. Frequently. Much the same way grad students vie to study under a particular professor, so too, do they. They have conferences, publish, and talk about how to further their field. Furthermore, I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say it's dangerous to look at one of these groups and assume because we aren't on their list now, we won't be in the future.

Fourth:
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how the non-Arab Muslim world (aside from Iran and Pakistan) largely floats under the radar. This isn't good. Yes, it is important to know what is going on in the Middle East, but to focus on one area to the detriment of the others is short sighted. Case in point: Finding programs to study Arabic required some thinking and planning before 9/11. After that fateful day, they popped up everywhere. Arabic was the 'it' language. Outside of the government, do you know how hard it is to find Urdu? Hell, even Farsi is hard to come by.

Before I get on my soapbox, I'll stop myself and say it takes years to develop any sort of meaningful understanding these cultures. Do yourself a favor and pick a country in Africa or South Asia/Southeast Asia, and learn everything you can about it. If you want to pick a topic- extremism/religious violence, gender issues, development/reconstruction, globalization, whatever- wonderful. But pick a country.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-26-2013 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Copied from Adversary thread and lightly edited
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Old 08-26-2013   #64
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From Time magazine 'Q&A: Indonesia’s Terrorism Expert on the Country’s Homegrown Jihadis', the author of the cited book above:http://world.time.com/2013/08/26/qa-...grown-jihadis/

The last Q&A:
Quote:
Are you optimistic that Indonesia’s terrorist movement can be eradicated?

They will always be there. They can weather all sorts of changes. They will be there as long as there are people who dream of imposing Shari‘a and people who can be easily recruited. Terrorism relies on these three ingredients: a disappointed people, a justifying ideology and an organization. The challenge is how to prevent it from getting big.
Within the Q&A is an intriguing passage, a practice in counter-radicalisation I have never heard of before, so enlightenment would be a bonus:
Quote:
How has Indonesia fared in combating terrorism?

The most effective way is to organize a meeting between convicted terrorists and victims. Let them see how their acts affect the victims’ lives and their families’. One example: last year, [jailed JI member] Umar Patek met a man who was badly injured in the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing. It was an emotional encounter. The terrorist was so shocked that he couldn’t say much, apart from telling the victim, “Please tell others how sorry I am. If they can’t forgive me, I can’t go to heaven.”
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Old 08-28-2013   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graphei View Post
First, I'm very excited this book was translated into English. Solahudin has a reputation for doing solid work, and I can't wait to get my hands on this.
I'm looking forward to seeing it as well; neighborhood affairs and all that.

I agree that there has long been a radical core in Indonesia following what might be called an "Al Qaeda ideology". I'd also point out that this group's ability to achieve any influence outside it's core membership has typically been related to sectarian violence within Indonesia, rather than to issues elsewhere. That does not mean, of course, that this small core cannot make a big mess. They can: that is the nature of terrorism. If we're looking at the ability of radical Islamists to gain significant political influence, I'd say that ability relates much more closely to internal Indonesian affairs than to an international Islamist agenda.

Certainly the study of Indonesian history, society, and politics is critical to understanding terrorism in Indonesia. I'd hesitate to base conclusions about "terrorism" generically or in any other market on that study.


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Originally Posted by graphei View Post
Do yourself a favor and pick a country in Africa or South Asia/Southeast Asia, and learn everything you can about it. If you want to pick a topic- extremism/religious violence, gender issues, development/reconstruction, globalization, whatever- wonderful. But pick a country.
I did that, over 30 years ago, but I'm not sure I did myself a favor. There are rewards, in a rather abstract sense, but it wasn't exactly an astute career move!
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