Thailand and Cambodia
Tuesday was the fifth consecutive day of fighting along the Thai-Cambodian border. The fighting started over a disputed area near two Hindu temples and has since spread to the Preah Vihaer temple, which saw skirmishes in February. At least 12 soldiers have died. The Cambodian Defense Ministry accused Thailand of shelling civilian villages and damaging the temples, and added that 17,000 Cambodians had been evacuated. A Thai foreign ministry spokesman said 30,000 Thai citizens had been relocated from the border area. Also on Monday, Thailand’s foreign minister Kasit Piromya called for bilateral talks with Cambodia. Although Thailand has resisted international observers, Piromya did not rule them out.
Archived posts with tag ‘Indonesia’
Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up
Thailand and Cambodia
Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) denies any connection to Abi Pamanay, who the military arrested on charges of being the local MILF representative of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal dismissed accusations of links between the MILF and JI. “That’s a broken record. That’s an old issue. They know that we have no tactical or strategic alliance with the JI. We condemn terrorism.” In contrast, army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz said Pamanay was a “senior associate” of Abdul Basit Usman, who has been on the run for his association with JI and the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf.
Sam’s Southeast Asia Roundup
“Order restored” in Bangkok, reports the BBC. Protesters began to return to their rural homes in the northeast and north of the country, their antipathy toward the government only hardened after some 50 people had died in the past week, including 15 yesterday. The Asia Times details Wednesday’s operations, describing the army as unprepared and inefficient, taking time, for example, to diffuse several IEDs hidden across a barricade rather than securing a small section of the barricade and knocking it down with available armored personnel carriers. Australia National University blog New Mandala wonders what has happened to the hitherto influential royal palace. “Could Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and/or Princess Sirindhorn play a role as they did in 1992? If they don’t, and if their father remains silent, will many Thais start to wonder more publicly about where the royal peacemakers have gone?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 [...]