Tainted Legacies: to the Victor go the (Narrative) Spoils?

By Chris Lundry The first 48 hours after the death of Osama bin Laden were grounds for relief in the United States, its allies, and those who condemn violent extremism, but they have also been fraught with speculation and rumors concerning the operation. Is bin Laden really dead? Did he really use his wife as a shield? Was he really armed and did he fire at the Navy Seals? Why have there been no pictures […] Read more »

Police Power, Soft Power and Extremist Sub-culture in Indonesia

by Mark Woodward, Ali Amin and  Inayah Rohmaniyah* In recent months, Indonesian security forces, including the US-trained Detachment 88, have proven to be increasingly effective in locating, capturing or killing suspected terrorists. But police power alone will never defeat a deeply entrenched extremist sub-culture.  Soft power is a crucial component as well, perhaps even more important than enforcement. The deaths of Noordin Top on September 17, 2009 and Dulmatin on March 9 of this year, […] Read more »

Getting to the Bottom of Explosive Rumors Concerning Noordin Top

by Chris Lundry Dwarfed by the stories of the earthquake tragedy in Padang, yesterday Indonesian media picked up a sensational statement issued at the Jakarta police headquarters. According to police spokesman Nanan Sukarna, police investigators have discovered evidence that the corpse of Jemaah Islamiyah’s Noordin Top showed signs of anal trauma consistent with sodomy, leading to speculation that he might have been bisexual. The article (published by inilah.com) began curiously by differentiating investigatory police and police doctors, and […] Read more »

Noordin Top and Latent Conflict Between Indonesia and Malaysia

The 17 September death of Noordin Top at the hands of Indonesia’s anti terror squad Densus 88 brought a sense of relief to many in Southeast Asia. Noordin was Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist. Following the July 17 hotel bombings in Jakarta, a message attributed to him signaled a split from Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and a move toward more radical and deadly tactics. A not-so-subtle subtext of Noordin’s death is the strained relationship of Indonesia […] Read more »

Recent Developments in Indonesia’s Anti-Terrorism Efforts

by Chris Lundry In the aftermath of the 17 July bombings at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, some interesting developments have emerged in Indonesia’s anti-terrorism efforts. The incident has shattered the illusion that Indonesia was safe from the threat of terrorism following four years without a major terrorist incident.  It also led to some puzzling rhetoric from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in which he likened terrorists to vampires, speculated that some of his political rivals […] Read more »

Possible New JI/AQ Offshoot Claims Jakarta Bombings (updated)

by Chris Lundry As reported yesterday by some Indonesian media outlets, a new group calling itself Tandzim  al-Qo’idah Indonesia has released an “official” statement taking responsibility for the Jakarta bombings of 17 July. There are some interesting elements in the statement, although whether it is genuine remains in question. If true, the statement represents not only an admission of responsibility for the bombings but it also announces a new extremist group in Indonesia.  If real, it is likely a […] Read more »

Bombing Reactions by Indonesian Groups are Telling

by Mark Woodward On 17 July 17 2009, Indonesia and the world were shocked by another round of terrorist attacks. Two powerful bombs exploded in the J.W. Marriott and Ritz- Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. Another was found and defused in a hotel room the bombers had rented. I am currently visiting Indonesia and have observed initial reactions by ordinary Indonesians as well as by various religious/political organizations.  Two different kinds of responses by the organizations are telling. […] Read more »