Monday, April 8, 2013

1) Grading Australia-Indonesia defence relations: Good, but could do better

1) Grading Australia-Indonesia defence relations: Good, but could do better
2) Killing a Papua Fighter will not solve the problem, says Indonesian MP
3) Goliath Tabuni threatens to shoot police chief
4) Indonesian ties much tighter


1) Grading Australia-Indonesia defence relations: Good, but could do better

By James Brown  - 5 April 2013 11:20AM
Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr have been in Jakarta this week for the annual 2+2 Australia-Indonesia talks. It was a business-as-usual dialogue, with few major announcements. Australia is offering an additional five Hercules planes to Indonesia at 'mates rates', there will be some consolidation of combined maritime patrolling, and the defence ministers will update each other on the progress of their respective defence strategies.

There are differing judgments on the current strength of the Australia-Indonesia strategic relationship.
Stephen Smith judges that we are at 'the highest tempo of bilateral defence engagement, exercises and training in 15 years'. Others in the Defence Department have been more tempered, warning that the bilateral relationship has not yet returned to pre-1999 levels of trust. An Indonesian strategic analyst I spoke with recently believes Australia and Indonesia are not that far off a new and more comprehensive strategic agreement, echoing the Keating-era Agreement on Maintaining Security.
Much has been done in recent years to strengthen the bilateral defence relationship. Stephen Smith quite rightly points to theIkahan network's success in developing trust and cooperation between the ADF and Indonesia's military forces (TNI). Ikahan was the brainchild of Gary Hogan, the recently retired Defence Adviser for Australia's Jakarta embassy (and new contributor to this blog). It is an alumni network for Indonesians who have studied with the Australian military and Australians who have studied with the Indonesian military. And it is a very active network indeed.
Over 1000 TNI officers are members, regular seminars are hosted in Jakarta, a strategic advisory group of leaders provides an alternative track for bilateral discussions, and the recently launched Colin East Award brings the best and brightest from Indonesia's service colleges to Australia on study tours. In short, Ikahan is a model for defence diplomacy in the Asian century.
As always, there is more that could be done. Australia has comparatively few defence civilians or military officers embedded in the TNI (at present, there is one instructor in each of the TNI's service colleges and an officer posted to TNI's language school). This compares poorly to the large numbers of ADF officers embedded within the US military. The Australian Civil-Military Centre recently hosted avisiting fellow from the Indonesian Peacekeeping Centre. A smart follow-up would be to reciprocate with embedded Australian officers in the Indonesian Peacekeeping Centre, which remains a pet project of Indonesia's ex-peacekeeper president.
We have also missed opportunities. Indonesia is expanding its submarine fleet from 2 to 5 in the next decade, and has a patchy record in submarine rescue. Two naval officers died in a submarine rescue training incident last year. Australia has a strong record of conducting submarine rescue exercises off the coast of WA, so there might have been an opportunity for Australia to cooperate with Indonesia's emerging submarine force. But canny Singapore swept in with a submarine rescue pact last year, complete with smart phone app.
There remains no one-stop centre for information on Indonesia for the Australian Defence Organisation. There are intelligence analysts, language specialists, and personnel with TNI experience. But for junior defence personnel looking to get up to speed on our nearest neighbour and its military, there is not much to go on and no ready source. The ADF Journal has published only one article on Indonesia in the last decade. Perhaps an online portal to share Indonesia knowledge among government employees might help further strengthen relations.
Photo courtesy of the Defence Department.
2) Killing a Papua Fighter will not solve the problem, says Indonesian MP
JUBI, 8 April 2013

A Papuan member of the Indonesian Parliament, Diaz Gwijannge said that he  cannot agree with the decision to place the OPM leader, Goliath Tabuni on the WANTED list. Killing Papuan leaders can never solve the problem, he said.

'I cannot agree with the decision to place Goliath Tabuni on the wanted list so that he can be killed because this will not solve the problem.'

'A number of Papuan fighters for independence have been killed, such as Theys Eluay, Kelly Kwalik and Mako Tabuni have been killed but this has solved nothing. Even though that have died, the problem about Papuan  independence still continues,' he said.

No-one has been forcing the Papuan people to call for independence. This is the political ideology of the Papuan people. Even if those who are fighting for independence are killed, the independence struggle will continue,' he said. 'There should be dialogue or whatever you want to call it because the solution must be sought by political means.'

''Dont think that we can be deceived. Just see what happened in Timor-Leste. If such things continue, people will call this an act of genocide in Papua. I think that the chief of police should be careful.  Dont  just accuse people and put them on the WANTED list. There are procedures which must be used which should guarantee people's right to life. Only God himself can take someone's life, not another human being,' he said.

The solution must be comprehensive not just partial, especially considering that the indigenous Papuan people have taken the ethical path to find a solution.  The Papuan Peace Network is pressing for dialogue and there needs to be a response to that.from the Indonesian Government by involving the OPM is dialogue.

'Aceh and Papua are very much the same, there is no difference between then. It is indeed true that GAM's struture was very well organised. So why is it that the Acehnese conflict was resolved by the Helsinki agreement, but this is not possible for Papua? This means that there is discrimination between the two.'

Moreover there is inconsistency in the Government's policy  towards Papua. They were granted OTSUS - Special Autonomy - but there has been great inconsistency in its implementation. The central government has also divided the territory which has frequently led to conflicts between the Papuan people themselves.'

The two sides must sit down together for talks. And if necessary a third party should be involved, as was the case with GAM. Why cant Papua be handled in the same way? It would appear that the Indonesian government is not serious about finding a solution with the result that acts of violence continue to occur,' said Gwijannge.

[Translated by TAPOL]
3) Goliath Tabuni threatens to shoot police chief
Bintang Papua, 7 April 2013

An announcement last week by the police that Goliath Tabuni has been declared a 'wanted man' has  provoked the following response from Goliath Tabuni:

In response to the announcement by the police that they have placed Goliath Tabuni on the WANTED list, Goliath Tabuni told Bintang Papua last Saturday that he had laughed at the announcement and said it was very strange bearing in mind that he has been waging a struggle already for several decades, so how come he has only now been put on the  WANTED list.

He said that he was not troubled by the announcement: 'We know  that our struggle bears risks, but making this announcement at the present time suggests that there is a certain purpose in doing so.'

He went on to announce that he has ordered his men to shoot the chief of police Inspector-General Tito Karnavian.  'Since the chief of police has issued an announcement, I too issue a call to my men to be prepared to  shoot the chief of police if he comes here to Puncak Jaya.'

Last week's announcement by the chief of police stated: 'The chief commander of TPN/OPM Gen. Goliath Tabuni  is wanted in connection with the shootings which occurred on 21 February 2013 in Sinak and Tingginambut.'

Goliath Tabuni's statement was made in a press release which stated: 'In connection with the announcement by the chief of police, the TPN/OPM herewith declares to the Indonesian government and to the general public as well as to the international community that the aim of the struggle of the TPN/OPM is clear and justified.' That is to say, it is waging a struggle for the independence of the Papuan people and to have the right to determine their own future'.'. It also stated that Goliath Tabuni, as the commender-in-chief of the TPN/OPM, willl issue an operational order for the chief of police Inspector-General Tito Karnavian to be shot dead if he comes to the Central Highlands for operational purposes whenever this may occur.'We are ready to shoot down the plane in which the chief of police may be travelling because we are able to classify all flights into the interior.'

'We warn the chief of police that, before issuing a 'wanted'  order, he should take effective measures to find a solution to the political conflict in West Papua.

'We herewith warn SBY and the Indonesian Government to take effective action to resolve the conflict about the status of   West Papua bearing in mind its status as paart of the Republic of Indonesia is illegal according to all the facts that can be investigated.'

'There must be tripartite talks between the United Nations, the Indonesian Government and reprentatives of the Papuan people who shall be determined by the TPN/OPM.,' he said.

He finally declared that the TPN/OPM will continue with its struggle and can never be intimidated by acts of terror and intimidation by the Indonesian security forces which are carried out the the chief of police and the commander of the Cenderawasih VIIth Military Command.

[Translated by TAPOL]


4) Indonesian ties much tighter

MORE than a decade after the East Timor-induced rupture of Australia's strategic relationship with Indonesia, defence and security ties have staged a spectacular recovery if judged by the effusive comments of Australia's Defence and Foreign Ministers following their successful "two plus two" meetings with their counterparts in Jakarta last week.
This remarkable turnaround has been a decade in the making and fortunately rests on more substantial foundations than the last peak in relations during the heady days of the Suharto-Keating ascendancy. The most revealing indicator of the depth and intimacy of today's strategic relationship is the unprecedented level and frequency of senior-level contact between the foreign policy and defence elites of both countries.
There has also been a spike in defence exercises, military training and student exchanges, including innovations such as the establishment of an Indonesia-Australia Defence Alumni Association, which includes among its members more than 1000 serving members of the Indonesian armed forces.
During the 1990s, defence and security co-operation was largely driven by Australia, with Indonesia a willing but largely passive partner. There are encouraging signs, however, that Jakarta is becoming more proactive. A notable example is last week's first meeting of the Australia-Indonesia High Level Committee, an Indonesian initiative.
Co-chaired by the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, and Indonesia's Armed Forces Commander, Admiral Agus Suhartono, its agenda is impressively broad, encompassing operations, intelligence, logistics, education and defence exercises.
Our push for deeper strategic engagement with Indonesia is being driven by the realisation that Indonesia's geopolitical weight and influence in the Asian Century can only increase in consonance with the archipelagic nation's robust economic and population growth.
The US pivot to Asia has served to underline Indonesia's critical location at the maritime crossroads of the Indo-Pacific region. And the growing number and interconnectedness of bilateral issues is a persistent reminder that Australia's security and prosperity is inextricably linked with that of our northern neighbour.
Jakarta's motivations are more complex and ambiguous. Since Indonesia's independence we have been variously a friend, an irritant, an adversary and a partner. While Australia has historically looked north, often with trepidation as well as in hope, Indonesia has seldom looked south because of a preoccupation with nation building and its ASEAN neighbourhood.
But East Timor forced Indonesia to recognise that Australia has clout. For better or for worse, we matter. This has resulted in a more grounded and realistic understanding of the limits of the relationship and a mutual recognition that defence and security co-operation is the bedrock of a more sustainable and broadly based partnership.
None of this guarantees that Australia-Indonesia relations will not regress again. A failure to deal sensibly and co-operatively with Indonesia on people smuggling is the greatest immediate risk, especially if a Coalition government cannot persuade Jakarta to actively collaborate in turning back the boats.
Other dangers are that a major incident in Papua could strengthen activist demands in Australia to support Papuan independence, or that the election of a new president will usher in a more nationalistic period in Indonesian domestic politics, presenting formidable diplomatic challenges for Australia. This is more likely than not, since the three declared presidential candidates are less well disposed to Australia than the incumbent.
The latest opinion polls show former general and Suharto son-in-law, Prabowo Subiyanto, running neck and neck with ex-president Megawati Sukarnoputri and business tycoon Aburizal Bakrie. A Prabowo presidency would not be good news for Australia because of the resentment he feels over our intervention in East Timor, where he was implicated in human rights abuses.
Ironically, the most important outcome of improved defence ties may well be political rather than strategic, strengthening Australia's ability to risk-manage the relationship in more volatile times.
Alan Dupont is professor of international security at the University of NSW and a non-resident senior fellow at the Lowy Institute.

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