Archived posts from category ‘Sam in Indonesia’

Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up

Ahead of Cambodia’s “Day of Anger” against Thailand, Thai army chief Anupong Paojinda visited troops stationed along his country’s Cambodian border. Cambodia holds an annual “Day of Anger” to commemorate the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. Thai press has reported that the government has organized an event with the same name to protest Thailand’s desire to jointly administer the Preah Vihear temple, which was recently listed as a World Heritage site. Though the border area around the temple has seen trade and travel diminish greatly, Paojinda insisted that relations remained strong and that trade and other cross-border affairs would return to normal.

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Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up

by SAM ABRAMS Indonesia The Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) accused members of the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) of breaking up a PDI-P meeting in Banyuwangi. PDI-P officials reported that about a dozen Islamic Ummah Forum members, backed by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), denounced the meeting as reunion of former Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) [...]

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Former Indonesian Defense Minister Speaks Out, Part Two

Perhaps it is worth explaining why I am writing about Indonesia when the United States has troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Indonesian doctrine, strategy and organization stems directly from its 1945-to-1950 war for independence, in which the Indonesian military waged a disorganized guerrilla war against the Dutch. After independence, Indonesia was poor and its territory difficult to defend with modern technology. The defense system that developed subsequently was, in a sense, the state co-opting victorious guerrillas: “total people’s defense” doctrine was very similar to classical Maoist insurgency, and the territorial command structure called for military units to be based throughout the country and embedded into local society.

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Former Indonesian Defense Minister Speaks Out, Part One

WIB: Can you talk about the intellectual foundations of the Indonesian army?

Sudarsono: I think the underlying theme is that rising from the revolutionary ethos in the ’40s when, as with the Vietnamese and the Algerians, there was a strong affinity to define the role of the army as encompassing both state and society. And total defense in that sense was in a sense influenced by the doctrines of Mao Tse-tung and the Vietnamese revolution and also paralleled the Algerian revolution in the ’50s and ’60s.

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Sam in Indonesia: A-List Treatment

Indonesia has suffered a number of suicide bombings in Jakarta and elsewhere in the last 10 years. Today, guards, metal detectors and sometimes X-ray machines stand in front of malls, hotels and office buildings. I was immediately struck by the amicable and almost apologetic attitudes of the security guards.

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Sam in Indonesia: Security Reform’s Shortfalls, Successes

Nevertheless, a number of sources in civil society and business indicated to me that by at least some measures, the Indonesian military is not the dominant force it once was. In response to my questions about the military, one businessman told me, “I don’t know the answers to your questions. I haven’t bothered to think about it in a while.” Whereas internal military politics might have shaped the business environment in the past, today there is no need to pay attention.

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Sam in Indonesia: Indonesian Military’s Stalled Reform

The Indonesian military has gone through range of reforms since the fall of President Suharto. Twelve years on, however, observers agree that momentum for reform has decreased significantly, and politicians have been unable and unwilling to address remaining issues.

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Sam in Indonesia: Indonesian Human Rights Activist Challenges Government

Meet Mufti Makaarim al-Akhlaq. A good-humored 33-year-old, Mufti is the executive director of the Institute for Defense, Security and Peace Studies (IDSPS). IDSPS, advocates for security sector reform.


Sam in Indonesia: New Defense #2 Raises Concerns

by SAM ABRAMS On Wednesday Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, known here as “SBY,” named Lieutenant General Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin as the new deputy defense minister. With the top spot in the Ministry of Defense reserved for civilians, military and political observers — such as Evan A. Laksmana at Jakarta’s Center for Strategic and International Studies [...]


Sam in Indonesia: Deadly Penalty

by SAM ABRAMS We all know Southeast Asia has its issues with drug smuggling. (Who could forget Brokedown Palace?) Pictured here is Indonesia’s friendly airport reminder. (Photo: Sam Abrams)

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