Toppling Assad in Syria: A Western Plot?

By Chris Lundry Indonesian Islamist site syabab.com featured a story on Syria’s embattled leader Bashar al-Assad which states that his looming demise is the culmination of a “Western Plot.” This “news” is fascinating for those who have paid even just a little attention to events as they unfold in Syria. Didn’t the US and the West equivocate for months as Assad murdered his own people? Was that part of the plan? Was part of the […] Read more »

Extremist Opposition to Indonesia’s Densus 88

by Chris Lundry It’s been an active 2013 so far for anti-terrorism efforts in Indonesia, but actions of the authorities continue to spur debate. On December 20, 2012, armed civilians shot and killed four members of the Indonesian Police Mobile Brigades and injured three others in Poso, Sulawesi. The police response was quick, and several suspects were rounded up and allegedly tortured, including some found innocent of the charges. But that was not the end […] Read more »

Indonesia’s President, Commander of the Crusaders!

By Chris Lundry Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has been branded a commander of the crusaders following the announcement that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will be awarding him the Honorary Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Bath. The award has angered extremist Islamist groups, some of whom are still simmering over the recent arrest of 11 people suspected of terrorism throughout Java and the uncovering of plots to bomb […] Read more »

Should Captured AQ Documents Have Been Released?

By Steven R. Corman & Jarret Brachman The release last week of documents captured from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbotabad has generated a flurry of interest in the press and blogosphere.  Yet a question has arisen as to whether the release was wise, since the documents are intelligence assets that could give the enemy valuable information regarding what we know about them.  We argue that the release makes sense from a strategic communication perspective, […] Read more »

Suharto Era Comops Backfire in 2012 Indonesia

by Chris Lundry Indonesian extremists continue to portray Ambonese Christians as engaged in separatist rebellion against Indonesia, and a crusade against Muslims. This isn’t true, but raises the question: where on earth did they get this idea? The adage that if a lie gets repeated enough times it becomes true is, apparently, applicable in Indonesia’s Ambon region. It was home to a brief separatist insurgency following the Indonesian revolution (1945-49).  Following their defeat in 1950, […] Read more »

Cooking the Books

by Steven R. Corman The CSC has an article in the current issue of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism on casualty inflation by the Taliban in the Afghanistan conflict.  The abstract follows, and the full text is available here (subscription). Cooking the Books: Strategic Inflation of Casualty Reports by Extremists in the Afghanistan Conflict Chris Lundry, Steven R. Corman, R. Bennett Furlow, & Kirk W. Errickson Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and elsewhere are exaggerating their […] Read more »

NATO’s Narrative Vacuum

by Steven R. Corman Last month, James Appathurai, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy,  agreed to participate in an electronic Q&A sponsored by the Atlantic Community.  He answered 20 questions in four installments, on global partnerships and the Arab spring, partnerships in Asia, questions on Central Asia/Caucasus, and the NATO mission.  The latter includes an item on the NATO narrative that illustrates the large challenge the alliance faces in filling […] Read more »

Contesting New Media: Indonesia vs. the Muslim World League

By Mark Woodward and Inayah Rohmaniyah* Earlier this month (December 13-15) we were privileged to participate in a “The 2nd International Conference on Islamic Media” sponsored by the Saudi sponsored Muslim World League (MWL, Rabita al-Alam al-Islami) and the Indonesian Ministry of Religion in Jakarta Indonesia.  Tension between the co-sponsors was evident in the selection of participants, the themes of formal presentations and in social interaction over the course of the conference. Differing perspectives on […] Read more »

Ridiculing AQ’s Irrelevance in the Arab Spring

by Steven R. Corman A few weeks ago I did a keynote speech at a public meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission in Public Diplomacy.  Later in the meeting I heard a presentation by Ambassador Richard LeBaron, Coordinator of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).  The topic of his talk tied together several topics recently discussed on COMOPS Journal, and accordingly I want to share it with readers. Presumably in response to […] Read more »

Another Bombing in Indonesia, Another Struggle over Framing

by Chris Lundry On Sunday, September 25, a lone suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a Protestant Church in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, as services were letting out. Along with the bomber, one congregant was killed and several wounded from the shrapnel composed of nails, bolts and buckshot. In the ensuing week there has been a struggle over how the event should be framed, with most Islamist groups denying responsibility. The bomber has been identified […] Read more »