Thursday, February 28, 2013

1) OPM claims responsibility for deaths of Indonesian soldiers.

3) Indonesia: Signs of new thinking on Papua

4) President Yudhoyono Hails Indonesia's Democratic Success

Posted at 00:15 on 01 March, 2013 UTC
The military arm of the OPM Free West Papua Movement has claimed responsibility for the deaths of eight Indonesian soldiers and four civilians in two separate incidents last week.
The shootings, which occurred in the remote Highlands regency of Puncak Jaya, represent the most serious attacks on Indonesian security forces in Papua for years.
West Papua Media reports that a spokesman for the head of the West Papua National Liberation Army, or TPN, Goliat Tabuni, claims the shootings were carried out to assert West Papuan cultural rights to defend their customary practices against ongoing military brutality.
The spokesman says the shootings were carried out after Indonesian Kopassus special forces continued to build military posts on a local sacred Papuan burial site, despite being requested not to by both community representatives emissaries from the TPN.
The TPN claims to own the land where the military was building.
Posted at 04:25 on 01 March, 2013 UTC
Indonesian soldiers have reportedly infiltrated villages in the region of Papua province’s Puncak Jaya regency where eight soldiers and four civilians were shot dead last week.
West Papua Media reports that the military has launched a large sweep operation involving more than 1,000 soldiers in the hunt for members of the West Papua National Liberation Army, which has claimed responsibility for the fatal attacks
Reports from local church, human rights and other sources in the area indicate hundreds of soldiers are occupying villages in Sinak, Gurage, Mulia and Tingginambut.
There are fears of a major humanitarian disaster unfolding with the reports of the destruction of food gardens and livestock by soldiers.
Human rights workers say local people are terrified of the military and have fled to the bush.


3) Indonesia: Signs of new thinking on Papua

By Gary Hogan - 1 March 2013 2:03PM
Gary Hogan was the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia's Institute of National Governance (Lemhannas) and was Australia's Defence Attaché to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012.
The 21 February slaying of eight soldiers in two separate incidents by anti-government rebels in Indonesia's troubled Papua province sent shock waves through Jakarta's presidential palace, as well as the country's national defence headquarters in nearby Cilangkap. It was the largest number of military security forces killed in a single day in the restive province, which borders Papua New Guinea. 
The shock was felt as far away as Canberra, since Jakarta's adroit handling of its separatist problem in Papua is crucial to our ability to progress bilateral relations with Indonesia.
Australia's ambassador in Jakarta was the first foreign official to extend condolences and to reaffirm Australia's unequivocal commitment to Indonesian sovereignty over Papua. Canberra knows it would be impossible to engage Jakarta in a comprehensive strategic partnership without a mature and unfettered relationship with Indonesia's powerful defence forces,Tentara Nasional Indonesia or TNI. 
Any undisciplined retaliatory conduct by TNI elements in Papua, such as random reprisals for the eight deaths, would weigh heavily on the current upward trajectory in both our defence and broader bilateral relations. Fortunately, there is cause for optimism that, at least at the top, TNI might adopt some fresh thinking about Papua and the international ramifications of an ongoing cycle of violence.
Nobody is more aware of the potential for an arbitrary, heavy-handed overreaction by security forces in Papua to tarnish Indonesia's international image than President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He has done a great deal in the past eight years as president to try to improve Indonesia's global standing on human rights, investing in security sector reform and attempting to consolidate democracy and economic prosperity.
In Papua, Yudhoyono has promised a new approach based on building a stronger, fairer and more inclusive economy. His key man on the ground is retired general Bambang Darmono, a respected and experienced soldier and diplomat who played an important role in the successful Aceh peace process. 
But Darmono, who the president has charged with overseeing a fast-track development plan for Papua, faces an uphill battle. Indonesia lacks a clear strategy for pacifying Papua, partly because Jakarta focuses on economics when many Papuans cry for political dialogue. 
Moreover, the search for a solution is frustrated by poor coordination and an absence of imagination among government departments, factionalism and corruption in Papua itself, where vested interest is fueled by the prospect of limitless resource wealth, and a reactionary streak in some Jakarta elites, who refuse to even countenance the term 'indigenous' because it implies special rights.
Fallout from the 21 February shootings is still on the cards. The Free Papua Movement (OPM) is proving itself a learning organisation. Recent rebel actions demonstrate an ability to conduct reconnaissance, detect patterns, use intelligence effectively in planning and exploit poor operational security. The OPM now appears capable of moving beyond its basic hit and run tactics of the past. Incidents like the two which killed eight Indonesian soldiers last month could continue and even escalate.
In dealing with the Papua problem, Indonesia has occasionally demonstrated a disconnection between operational directions from Jakarta and tactical actions in the field. This will need to improve under TNI's emerging leaders, and there are promising signs it might. That is the subject of a follow-on post.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
4) President Yudhoyono Hails Indonesia's Democratic Success
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that Indonesia has successfully managed its transition toward democracy, which started in 1998, a success he attributed to a collective effort involving the people and the government.

“The social conflicts in Maluku, West Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, Papua and Aceh were successfully handled and solved through a joint understanding for the sake of the state’s unity,” Yudhoyono said, as quoted by presidential adviser on regional development and autonomy Velix Wanggai  in a press release sent out on Thursday.

Velix said that the president saw Indonesia’s grand idea of nationalism, social integration, harmony and Bhineka Tunggal Ika, or Unity in Diversity, as a collective language that should be embraced by all citizens. The president also stressed that the country was founded on tolerance, justice, social virtues and the supremacy of the law.

“President SBY recently said that if we don’t want to see the arbitrary use of power, all of us who have power must prevent ourselves from abusing power,” said Velix, adding that the president also encouraged all citizens to lead a polite, ethical and peaceful democratic life — a crucial foundation for democracy.

The president last month called on Indonesians to aspire to the qualities personified by the Prophet Muhammad in order to achieve social harmony.

Speaking to thousands of Muslims attending an event to mark the birthday of the prophet, Yudhoyono said that these qualities were most needed now, ahead of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections and all their attendant issues and controversies.

“We have to aspire to the example set by the prophet, who led a diverse group of people,” he said.

He added that history showed that although Muhammad had followers from a wide range of backgrounds, he still managed to keep the peace among them and prevent their differences from spilling over into violence.

The president said the same spirit of solidarity amid diversity was needed in the run-up to the polls, which in the past have proved fractious and polarizing

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