Indonesia: May 1, 2004


Indonesia and Malaysia refused an American offer of help in protecting the Straits of Malacca. The Straits, which handle some of the heaviest shipping traffic in the world (nearly a thousand ships a week), have suffered a sharp increase in pirate attacks. It is feared that terrorists could easily seize a ship carrying an explosive cargo and use it as a floating bomb. Singapore, which also sits astride the straits, was alone in welcoming American help. The United States may send ships and aircraft anyway, and base them in Singapore. It's suspected that corrupt Indonesian sailors are now involved in piracy as well.  


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