To Contain Terror, Indonesia Must Confront Its Demons

To Contain Terror, Indonesia Must Confront Its Demons

DENPASAR, Indonesia -- With Indonesia experiencing an escalation of terrorist violence, local analysts have focused on trying to determine who is behind each of the recent attacks. Assessing the nature and affiliation of the groups responsible is certainly important. But the current situation may be the result of several converging trends that suggest Indonesia must confront some of its persistent demons if it wants to contain terrorism.

In its latest report, entitled "Indonesian Jihadism: Small Groups, Big Plans," the International Crisis Group (ICG) outlined how homegrown terrorism in Indonesia has lately taken on a new form, with small cells operating independently from larger, more established terror groups. The report notes that following the twin bombings of the Ritz Carlton and Marriott Hotels in Jakarta in July 2009, which were attributed to a Noordin M. Top-led offshoot of terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a string of subsequent attacks were the work of small cells that share a radical Islamist ideology, but which have no clear operational links.

The latest attacks include several assassinations of police officers, attempted bombings of churches and police posts in Java, and a series of letter-bombs sent to various people in Jakarta. Most recently, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Cirebon, West Java, on April 15, while an attempt to bomb a church in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, on April 24 was foiled.

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