In East Timor, the remaining rebels have either surrendered, or are negotiating
terms for surrender. The February 11 attack on the president and prime minister
failed to kill either man, and left the rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado,
dead. While this rebel group appears to be broken, the high unemployment and
regional (east/west, mainly) antagonisms remain, as do several criminal gangs
with political aspirations.
local separatist leaders were released from jail after being arrested for
demonstrating for independence several days ago. The separatists are not well
organized, and the government apparently feels it's better to just let them
2008: In Aceh, violence related to the corruption and the distribution of
reconstruction aid, led to several hundred people rioting and attacking a group
of former rebels (who won elections and are now in charge). Five of the former
rebels were killed before police arrived to stop the riot.
2008: Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Islamic radical group behind over a dozen
terror attacks, and hundreds of deaths over the last six years, still exists.
While over 500 JI members have been killed or arrested and prosecuted, the
organization has sworn off terrorism and split into factions. The most prominent
one calls for a non-violent approach to Islamic conservatism. The government
tolerates this faction, while continuing to pursue smaller factions that still
back terrorism. What upsets many foreign counter-terror experts is the JI
publishing program, which is translating (into Indonesian) and publishing many
al Qaeda documents. JI says it is doing this to demonstrate how wrong-headed
the al Qaeda approach is.
27, 2008: JI leader Selamat bin Kastari
escaped from jail in Singapore. This was very embarrassing for Singapore, which
has a history of efficiency, especially in security matters. Indonesia fears
that Kastari will head their way and rally local Islamic radicals for another
round of terrorist attacks.
25, 2008: The UN has extended its East
Timor peacekeeping until February, 2009. At the moment, it seems like this
peacekeeping operation will continue several more years at least.