Indonesia: Year Ends With Peace and a Bomb

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January 1, 2006: Islamic terrorists made many threats, but in the past year, only managed to set off six bombs, leaving 55 dead. Hundreds of suspected Islamic terrorists have been arrested, and many of these prosecuted and convicted. But the extent of the violence was up from 2004 (when there were three bombs, and 19 dead). There was only one bombing in 2003 (12 dead), and two in 2002 (leaving 205 dead, mostly foreigners in Bali). The government has been reluctant to go after the Moslem clergy that shelter, and advise, the terrorists. The clergy have convinced many Indonesians that any attack on the clergy would be an attack on religion, not terrorism. But as more bombs go off, fewer Indonesians believe that. Eventually, the government is going to have to take down the radical clergy, or deal with an aroused and angry population, tired of toleration for terrorists.

December 31, 2005: The rumors of Islamic terrorists striking over the Christmas holidays came true, as a bomb went off in a marketplace in Sulawesi. This is a Christian area, and the bomb went off next to a butcher shop that sold pork (which is forbidden to Moslems.) Eight were killed, and nearly fifty wounded. Islamic radicals have been attacking Christians in this area for the past five years, but less frequently since widespread violence in 2002. Police were ready, and quickly arrived at the scene of the explosion. Another bomb was found and disabled, about twelve feet from the one that went off. Police had a list of the usual suspects, and one was arrested before the end of the day.

December 30, 2005: The government believes that Islamic terrorists will attempt a kidnapping campaign, not to terrorize, but to raise money for their operations. Islamic radicals have become less popular as the bombs and other attacks continue. Less popular means fewer donations. The government has also made it more difficult to get money from pro-terror groups and individuals in the Middle East. Kidnapping is a risky tactic, because if the terrorists do not have enough popular support, their kidnapping crews will get turned in by unsympathetic civilians.

December 29, 2005: The last army troops withdrew from Aceh, as per the agreement with the separatist rebels, who have disarmed.

December 28, 2005: The Aceh rebel organization, GAM, has disbanded it's armed units. This was done in compliance with its peace deal with the government.

 

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