Indonesia: Hiding In Plain Sight


July 30, 2009:  The first terrorist bombing in four years is, as expected, reducing tourist activity, and hitting an already weakened economy. The 2002 terrorist attacks in Bali caused 70 percent of  foreign tourists to cancel their trips. It took several years to recover from that. The July 17 bombings are expected to cause 10-15 percent of foreign visitors to cancel. This is lower than 2002 because people are more accustomed to the terrorist threat, and not as prone to blind panic.

Counter-terrorism experts found Jemaah Islamiyah documents in 2005 that indicated a strategy of attacking terrorism in Indonesia, to hurt a pillar of the economy, and kill infidels (non-Moslems). That has apparently not changed. Jemaah Islamiyah, like al Qaeda, believes that infidels prop up corrupt local governments, and get in the way of the establishment of an Islamic religious dictatorship throughout the region. Most Indonesians are opposed to this vision, but enough are mesmerized by it to provide sufficient personnel to keep the terrorism threat alive. Police explain that Jemaah Islamiyah survives because of the fifty religious schools that are still open, and the web of radicalized faculty and students, and their families, that provide cover for the Jemaah Islamiyah, bomb builders, fund raisers (often religious minded criminals) and so on.

Malaysia is grilling three associates of Indonesian terrorist mastermind Noordin Mohammad Top, that had been picked up before the July 17 bombings in Indonesia. Top is considered the most able of the surviving Jemaah Islamiyah leaders. An unexploded bomb found, and defused in the Marriott Hotel, was similar in design to one found earlier in Java, that was linked to Top. Police investigators have discovered that Top has been living in Indonesia for the last few years, under an alias, and the protection of people associated with religious schools. His 25 year old wife didn't know who Top really was, but her father did. The wife is cooperating with police. Police have also discovered that the bombs were smuggled into the hotels, a piece at a time, with the help of an insider. These preparations began earlier in the year, and were needed to get past the tight security.

The July 17th bombing exposed many of the remaining Jemaah Islamiyah activists, and these are being pursued, or have already been arrested.  These include men planning, or being trained to carry out, future attacks. As suspected, many of those arrested came from the religious schools that Jemaah Islamiyah had long used to recruit and indoctrinate potential terrorists.

July 29, 2009:  The two hotels that were bombed on July 17th, have reopened.

July 28, 2009: Police in Papua have arrested seven people, and accused them of responsibility for the recent series of shootings outside a large mining complex. Two of those accused are mine employees. Police revealed little else, but it's been suspected, from the beginning, that the violence stems from criminal gangs within the mining community, as well as corrupt local cops and mine security personnel.

July 24, 2009: In the capital, a third bomb was found in a Marriot hotel, concealed in a laptop computer and equipped with a timer. This one did not go off, and was apparently meant to activate security procedures and fill the lobby with people, who would have provided many victims for the suicide bomb that did go off there.

July 22, 2009:  In Papua, another ambush on a road near a large mining complex, left three wounded.

July 21, 2009: In Papua, police have arrested 14 people as suspects in the recent attacks on mine personnel.




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