Jakarta bombing fall-out

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Aug 10 18:49:15 MDT 2003


A few days after an apparent suicide bomber hit the Marriott hotel in
Jakarta, we can perhaps discern some of the political consequences. My
thoughts:

1. The ruling class here is insisting it is the work of Jemaah Islamiya,
which they insist is linked to Al Qaeda. We will probably never know but
that is becoming the common view. Bombings in Indonesia are becoming the
basis for Australia's very own "war on terror". Although like the Bali
bombing, the Marriott attack was not actually aimed at Australia.

2. It helps re-legitimise the Indonesian military in both countries. The
Governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, is asking the military to step in because
the police don't have enough resources. Meanwhile the Commander in Chief of
the Australian military "described a ban on his troops working with
Indonesia's notorious Kopassus special forces as a folly that was hindering
the regional war on terrorism." [AFP]

3. It will increase the tendency to erode civil liberties in Indonesia,
under pressure from the west. Reuters recently reported: "Growing numbers
of Indonesians are being jailed for their political views under 'draconian'
laws that call into question President Megawati Sukarnoputri's commitment
to political openness, two leading rights groups said ... In the aftermath
of former autocrat Suharto's downfall in 1998 following three decades of
iron rule, all political prisoners were freed. Since then, the two
organizations said at least 46 prisoners of conscience had been jailed,
with 39 under Megawati, who took power in July 2001."  This will get worse
as they use new powers to detain without specific cause.

4. It will be linked to Australia's big imperialist push which is beginning
with the Solomons, but will extend much further. The Solomons intervention
mascarades as a joint effort to provide welcome help, under the Pidgin
title "helpem fren" (help a friend). But sooner or latter "helpem fren"
will give way to "kickem butt". In this context, keep an eye on Canberra's
new plan to convene a regional summit on terrorism.

5. It is worth noting Malaysian PM Mahathir's comments that terorism will
continue as long as the west backs Israel's mistreatment of the Palestians.
Palestine is far from Jakarta, but still it is as close as the evening TV
news.






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