Terrorism in Indonesia

Terrorism in Indonesia

Recent Terrorism in Indonesia can in part be attributed to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah Islamist terror group.

Since 2002, a number of 'western targets' have been attacked. Victims have included both foreign—mainly Western tourists—as well as Indonesian civilians. Terrorism in Indonesia intensified in 2000 with the Jakarta Stock Exchange bombing, followed by four more large attacks. The deadliest killed 202 people (including 164 international tourists) in the Bali resort town of Kuta in 2002. [cite news |title=Commemoration of 3rd anniversary of bombings |work=AAP |publisher=The Age Newspaper |date=10 December 2006 |url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/war-on-terror/services-to-honour-victims-of-2002-bali-bombing/2005/10/12/1128796537208.html ] The attacks, and subsequent travel warnings issued by other countries, severely damaged Indonesia's tourism industry and foreign investment prospects. [cite press release |title=Travel Warning: Indonesia |publisher=US Embassy, Jakarta |date=10 May 2005 |url=http://www.usembassyjakarta.org/news/trv_warning02.html |accessdate=2006-12-26]

Political and community responses

Conspiracy theories similar to those around the September 11 attacks appeared in the Indonesian media blaming the Bali bombings on a Western-Jewish-Chinese-Masonic plot to discredit Islam. Used to a culture of rumour and violence under the "New Order", many Indonesians considered such theories credible. Subsequent bombings in the centre of Jakarta, in which all but one victim were ordinary Indonesians, shocked the public and brought swift responses from the Indonesian security forces. Even the most reluctant politicians had to admit that the evidence was against a small group of Islamist agitators. The Jakarta bombings and legal prosecutions helped shift public opinion away from the use of extremist Islamic political violence, but also increased the influence of intelligence, bodies, the police and military whose strength had diminished since 1998. [cite book |last=Vickers|first=Adrian |title=A History of Modern Indonesia|publisher=Cambridge University Press|year=2005 |pages=pp. 218-219.|isbn=0-521-54262-6]

Political factors clouded Indonesian responses to the "War on Terror"; politicians were at pains not to be seen to be bowing to US and Australian opinion, and the term "Jemaah Islamiyah" is controversial in Indonesia as it means "Islamic community/congregation", and was also the subject of previous "New Order" manipulation of the term. [cite book |last=Vickers|first=Adrian |title=A History of Modern Indonesia|publisher=Cambridge University Press|year=2005 |pages=p. 219.|isbn=0-521-54262-6]


The attacks, and subsequent travel warnings issued by other countries including the United States [cite press release |title=Travel Warning: Indonesia |publisher=US Embassy, Jakarta |date=10 May 2005 |url=http://www.usembassyjakarta.org/news/trv_warning02.html |accessdate=2006-12-26] and Australia, severely damaged Indonesia's tourism industry and foreign investment prospects. Bali's economy was particularly hard hit, as were tourism based businesses in other parts of Indonesia. In May 2008, the United States government decided to lift its warning. In 2006, 227,000 Australians visited Indonesia and in 2007 this rose to 314,000.

Counter terrorism

Detachment 88 is the Indonesian counter-terrorism squad, and part of the Indonesian National Police. Formed after the 2002 Bali bombing, the unit has had considerable success against the jihadi terrorist cells linked to Central Java-based Islamist movement Jemaah Islamiah.cite news | last = McDonald | first = Hamish | title = Fighting terror with smart weaponry | pages = 17 | publisher = Sydney Morning Herald | date = 31 June 2008 | url = http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/fighting-terrorism-with-smart-weaponry/2008/05/30/1211654312137.html]

Since uncovering JI's new command structure in March 2007 and discovering a weapons depot in Java in May 2007. Abu Dujana, suspected leader of JI's military wing and its possible emir, was apprehended on June 9, 2007. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/world/asia/14indo.html?ref=asia Southeast Asian Terrorist Leader Is Under Arrest. Retrieved on June 14, 2007.] ]

As of May 2008, Indonesian police have arrested 418 suspects, of which approximately 250 have been tried and convicted. According to sources within Detachment 88, the JI organisation has been "shrunk", and many of its top operatives have been arrested or killed.


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