The election on December 11 of Dr Irwandi Yusuf as governor of the Indonesian province of Aceh has finally laid to rest one myth deliberately peddled by successive governments in Jakarta: that the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is a fringe group.
For the third time since Jakarta and the fighters of Aceh signed their first ‘treaty' in May 2000, both sides have again reached a deal, hoping to pave the way to a lasting solution of the conflict in North Sumatra. This time the negotiations were conducted in the wake of the region's worst catastrophe: the tsunami of December 26 last year.
Muslim regimes have developed ingenious ways to convince the Bush administration of their commitment to the ‘war on terrorism’ . The latest is the ‘numbers game’ of arrested Muslim activists – the more people hauled in, the more unlikely it is that one will suffer the Saddam fate (or so they hope).
Indonesian authorities in charge of the recently declared martial law in Aceh have announced that martial law has achieved "100 per cent" control of the territory. However, army chief general Endriartono Sutarto was quick to add that "of course we cannot say security is 100 percent guaranteed", according to the Jakarta Post (July 2).
Barely four months after the second ceasefire was signed between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the deal has crumbled yet again, though no one is surprised.
More than two years after the collapse of the so-called humanitarian pause signed by Jakarta and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Geneva, both parties met again on December 9, this time to sign a peace treaty and end decades of bloodshed in the North Sumatran region.
Even as one of its most senior-ranking members faces the death penalty for crimes committed in East Timor, the Indonesian army has been unleashing a similar wave of terror in Aceh...