Indonesia: Islamic Terrorists Unite In Failure

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November 6,2008: Police believe that only a small minority of Islamic conservatives back terrorism. Even Jemaah Islamiya, long described as the al Qaeda affiliate in the region, has officially turned away from terrorist violence, although some radical members still advocate bombings and such. But most of the radicals have fled the country, and they are being killed or arrested as they desperately seek a sanctuary. Three of these men, arrested earlier this year  in Malaysia, went on trial for terrorism last month.

Islamic conservatives have turned to using publicity and political influence to get laws passed to impose more conservative lifestyle rules. These have been met with massive political and popular opposition. Meanwhile, Islamic radical leaders outdo each other with conspiracy theories. For example, senior radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir now insists that the 2002 Bali bombing (that killed 200) was actually a CIA missile, fired from a ship off shore. Many followers will believe this, but most Indonesians know exactly what happened.

The 2,500 foreign troops and police in East Timor have been able to prevent another outbreak of violence, but have not been able to do much about the underlying causes (massive unemployment). There is still a lot of low level crime, and not much economic investment.

November 3, 2008: In the Maluku islands, three fire bombs (Molotov Cocktails) were set off, one against a government office building. There were no injuries. These islands are about half Christian, and long the scene of Islamic radical violence, which has been in decline.

October 31, 2008:  In the last few days, police on the island of Sulawesi have found and disarmed two terrorist bombs, which were planted in a Hindu neighborhood. Islamic terrorists are determined to make a statement, as the execution of three Islamic terrorists approaches. The Hindu minority (three percent of the population) is a particular target of the Islamic extremists, because historically the Hindus are considered pagans, while Christians and Jews are recognized as having some historical connections with Islam.

October 25, 2008: Australia has warned its citizens to stay away from Indonesia, and possible unrest, until the three Islamic terrorists (convicted for their part in the 2002 bombings) are executed sometime in November.

October 21, 2008: Indonesian police arrested five men, and seized bomb making materials. The five, who belonged to  several Islamic radical groups, were planning to bomb the largest fuel storage area in the capital. The arrested men appeared to have help from other radical groups (Jundulah, the Islamic State of Indonesia, KOMPAK, FAKTA and a branch of Jemaah Islamiya in Singapore.) Most of these supporting groups appear to be tiny, some with only a few active members. The radicals seem to have found each other, and joined forces to improve their chances of carrying out an attack.

October 20, 2008: In Papua, a pro-independence rally of some 2,000 people, was broken up by police, who arrested fifteen people.

 

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