julho 19, 2009

‘A Indonésia acorda para o terror‘ in Asia Times

por Gary LaMoshi

Experts have written the obituary of extremist violence in Indonesia, but the violent extremists keep refusing to read the script. Friday morning's deadly twin bombings of Western-branded hotels in Jakarta are proof that complacency in the fight against terrorism in Indonesia remains misplaced.

Restaurant areas at the JW Marriott, site of a car bombing in 2003, and Ritz Carlton were hit by suicide bombers at breakfast time, according to Indonesian police, with the death toll climbing to nine in the first hours after the attacks. Dozens were injured, and hundreds of guests evacuated.

The bombings spoil a seemingly triumphant moment for Indonesia. After veering toward chaos a decade ago, the country with the world's largest Muslim population had become the world's third largest democracy. "This is a blow to us," presidential spokesperson Dino Patti Djalal said in a broadcast interview.

Spare drill, spoil fill
The attacks also highlight shortcomings in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's nuanced approach to fighting radicalism and violence.

The Friday morning explosions shattered a lull in terror attacks in Indonesia that lasted nearly four years. They came a week after a successful, peaceful election that appears to have given Yudhoyono, a moderate former general with a "speak softly but carry a big stick" reputation, a second term by a landslide margin. The attacks hit after many Western governments lifted their travel restrictions on Indonesia, boosting the tourism trade to record levels.

Things were considered so safe that English Premier League football champions Manchester United were due to stay at the Ritz Carlton from Saturday during a four-day visit to Jakarta, including a scheduled match on Monday against an Indonesian all-star team. A few hours after the bombing, Manchester United announced it would cancel that leg of its Asian tour.

Indonesia has been the target of terrorism dating back to Christmas Eve 2000, when churches were bombed across the archipelago. The attacks were part of widespread Christian-Muslim clashes with shadowy military backing, aimed at undermining reformist president Abdurrahman Wahid. He was ousted in July 2001, but the military's Frankenstein monster took on a life of its own, gaining strength from anti-Western sentiment in the wake of the US-led wars in Afghanistan and then in Iraq.

In October 2002, bombs destroyed a pair of popular nightclubs in Bali, accompanied by a calling card blast at the US Consular Agency on the popular resort island. The Marriott attack in August 2003 killed 12. In September 2004, a car bomb targeted the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, leaving nine dead. In October 2005, suicide bombers hit a pair of popular restaurants in Bali.

Back to the future
The attacks on Bali and beyond were attributed to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Muslim extremist group that seeks to create a caliphate linking Muslim areas across Southeast Asia. JI has alleged links to al-Qaeda, but operates independently.

Experts say Friday's attacks bear the hallmarks of JI, including coordinated attacks on multiple targets frequented by Westerners. But, after many arrests of its top leadership, the group has reportedly splintered into factions, not all retaining the JI name. So far no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

After the second Bali bombings, the first confirmed suicide bombings in Indonesia, Yudhoyono rallied Muslim clerics and other religious leaders to denounce sectarian violence and extremism, declaring unequivocally that Indonesia should not be a battleground for jihad. That high-profile declaration, and revulsion at suicide bomber videos, helped turn the tide of public opinion against extremist violence. The momentum held seemingly until Friday morning.

But Yudhoyono's administration has walked a fine line in fighting homegrown terrorism, balancing ties with the West against radical elements at home. It has accepted support from the Australian and US governments, helping Indonesian police crack down on terrorists. Much of the JI leadership has been arrested, and its top bombing mastermind Azahari Husin, a Malaysian with a PhD from Britain, was killed in a 2006 raid. "We've had a number of preventive successes in Sumatra, in Java, and other places," presidential spokesman Djalal said. "We always knew there are terrorist cells out there. You can never fully eradicate them."

Yudhoyono even welcomed George W Bush for a very unpopular visit in 2006 that avoided Jakarta and entailed a virtual lockdown (and cell phone blackout) around the suburban presidential palace in Bogor. The inauguration of US President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood living in Jakarta and opposed the war in Iraq, promises even closer ties between the US and Indonesian governments and has already created a great deal of grassroots warmth toward the US.

Embracing extremists
On the other hand, Yudhoyono's political coalition includes extremist Islamic parties that provide a home for sentiments that feed radicalism. He's largely ignored local governments that enact radical-inspired laws, such as dress codes and bans on females traveling alone after dark, that contradict national laws.

Yudhoyono has stoked radical fires by embracing the Palestinian cause as Indonesia's own, in the name of Muslim solidarity. By linking his good name to these fringe elements, Yudhoyono gives legitimacy to parties that advocate imposing sharia law across the archipelago, whose members preach and publish violent anti-Western Islamist screeds.

Indonesia's violence isn't all attributable to Islamic radicals. Despite democratic trappings, there's widespread feeling of powerlessness since government remains largely unresponsive while the elite and connected act with impunity. Many feel Yudhoyono's regime hasn't changed things enough in that regard. For example, it has still failed to convict the masterminds of the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, poisoned aboard a flight on national flag carrier Garuda in September 2004.

Yudhoyono's current cabinet includes Aburizal Bakrie as Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, whose family business has failed to stop the mudflow it caused in Sidoarjo, East Java, in 2006 and adequately compensate the thousands of displaced victims. The company was allowed to sell the affiliate to an offshore company to avoid responsibility for the damage.

Yudhoyono's two faces embody a national personality that prefers accommodation to confrontation. His approach had seemed to lower the political and social temperature in Indonesia, but Friday's bombings show it's failed to extinguish the embers of radical violence.

With his popularity proven by his win at the polls, Yudhoyono must summon the courage to root out elements that aid and abet terrorism. It's a quality called leadership and Indonesia needs it at this dark moment.

JPTF 2009/07/19

julho 15, 2009

‘No Xinjiang, o separatismo não passará!‘ in Courrier International

Les incidents qui se sont produits, le 26 juin, dans l’usine de jouets Xuri de Shaoguan (province du Guangdong) étaient au départ une simple bagarre générale [un ouvrier han a été arrêté pour diffusion de fausse rumeur. Il avait accusé sur Internet des ouvriers ouïgours d’avoir violé une ouvrière han. Les affrontements qui ont suivi ont fait deux morts parmi les Ouïgours]. Mais cette affaire a été montée en épingle par des personnes aux noirs desseins à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur du pays, entraînant les graves violences du 5 juillet. Animés de sinistres intentions, ces individus ont profité de l’occasion pour fomenter des troubles à visées séparatistes.

Le Congrès ouïgour mondial [fédération des organisations ouïgoures en exil installée à Munich] dirigé par Rebiya Kadeer – qui ne pense qu’à provoquer de graves incidents – ne s’est jamais résigné à admettre le développement prospère et stable du Xinjiang ni la bonne entente entre les peuples qui y règne. A intervalles réguliers, cette organisation projette des attentats ou des attaques terroristes. Si ces incidents ne s’étaient pas produits le 5 juillet, ils auraient eu lieu un autre jour, et si l’affaire du 26 juin n’avait pas joué le rôle de déclencheur, une autre affaire aurait tout aussi bien servi de prétexte. Cette organisation a plus d’un tour dans son sac pour déformer la réalité, induire en erreur la population, attiser sa colère et répandre la haine entre les différentes nationalités.

Quand des incidents éclatent, elle prétend ne pas y être mêlée et rejette la faute sur le gouvernement chinois. Face à l’Occident, elle se présente toujours comme un “groupe non violent, sans aucun lien avec le terrorisme”. En mars 2008, après l’attentat manqué contre un vol de la compagnie Southern Airlines par des activistes de l’indépendantisme du Turkestan oriental [Xinjiang], le porte-parole du Congrès ouïgour mondial, Dilixiati, avait tout de suite crié au complot de la part du pouvoir chinois et, le 6 juillet dernier, il a fait le même genre de déclarations. Pour faire croire que la Chine pratique une politique discriminatoire envers les minorités, ils appellent blanc ce qui est noir et font passer le vrai pour le faux. Les larges déplacements de main-d’œuvre sont un phénomène très répandu et normal dans la Chine actuelle, mais ils considèrent comme anormal que des minorités aillent travailler dans les régions de l’intérieur du pays et dénoncent des “déplacements forcés”.

S’ils ont attisé par leurs manigances les incidents du 5 juillet, c’est dans le but de semer la discorde et la haine entre les peuples pour créer de nouveaux troubles. Ils veulent aussi susciter l’indignation chez les gens qui ont une mauvaise approche de la réalité afin de mettre de l’huile sur le feu. Les incidents du 5 juillet ne correspondent pas à un problème entre nationalités, même si, à l’extérieur de nos frontières, des forces séparatistes espèrent qu’il en découlera des antagonismes entre les peuples. Ces incidents ont mis à mal les intérêts et le bien-être de la population, une situation dont toutes les personnes souhaitant l’entente entre les peuples et l’harmonie dans la société ne veulent pas ! Face à ces violences, les différentes composantes ethniques de la population se doivent de conserver leur calme, de se serrer les coudes en nourrissant une haine implacable contre l’ennemi, pour réduire à néant les complots des forces séparatistes situées par-delà des frontières.

L’unité de la patrie, la concorde entre les peuples, la stabilité de la société, sont appelées de leurs vœux par toutes les nationalités de Chine, y compris nos concitoyens du Xinjiang. C’est l’intérêt commun de toutes les nationalités chinoises, lesquelles ne sauraient tolérer des pratiques à visée séparatiste ou cherchant à instaurer le désordre. Résoudre les conflits dans le cadre de la Constitution et des lois est le devoir sacré du gouvernement et du Parti, dont l’action est sûre d’obtenir le soutien et l’appui de l’ensemble des masses populaires et des cadres du Parti. Aucun complot séparatiste ne saurait triompher !


JPTF 2009/07/14

‘Al-Qaeda ameaça interesses chineses em África em resposta à repressão contra os uigures de Xinjiang‘ in Público

Pela primeira vez, a Al-Qaeda ameaçou interesses chineses. É uma forma de retaliação pelas mortes de muçulmanos uigures na província de Xinjiang, no Noroeste da China. E pode ser também um sintoma do papel internacional que Pequim tem vindo a desempenhar.

A célula do grupo de Osama bin Laden no Norte de África - a Al-Qaeda no Magrebe Islâmico (AQIM, com base na Argélia) - lançou um grito de vingança, pedindo um ataque aos interesses chineses no Norte do continente africano, segundo informou a Stirling Assynt, uma rede de análise de informações secretas e terrorismo com sede em Londres.

Não são de esperar ataques dentro da própria China, mas "alguma coisa irá acontecer no Norte de África... Se eu fosse um chinês a viver na Argélia ou no Iémen, estaria realmente preocupado", comentou ao PÚBLICO por telefone Justin Crump, chefe da equipa de terrorismo da Stirling Assynt.

"Há cerca de 50 mil chineses a viver na Argélia e este será o alvo principal, porque os indivíduos são sempre os alvos mais fáceis", adiantou. Outro alvo possível é o dos projectos, sobretudo de infra-estruturas, que a China está a desenvolver. Os países da África subsariana, como Angola, por exemplo, "não estarão em risco".

Para Crump, a ameaça "não é surpreendente", embora a China "não faça parte da estratégia da Al-Qaeda". O facto de os distúrbios, que duram há mais de uma semana, terem acontecido em Xingiang - uma região autónoma onde os uigures formam o maior grupo étnico - não é motivo para, à partida, colocar Pequim debaixo da ameaça islâmica. "Há uma relação muito, muito baixa entre Xinjiang e a Al-Qaeda". Ou seja, "temos informações de que meia dúzia de uigures receberam treino no Paquistão ou no Afeganistão".

E é precisamente nestes países onde o grupo terrorista está a investir as suas energias e os seus recursos, que vão sendo mais escassos, sobretudo desde que os Estados Unidos têm um novo Presidente. "A eleição de [Barack] Obama está a custar apoios."

O analista Kerry Brown, da Chatham House, não conhecia a ameaça dos islamistas, mas afirmou ao PÚBLICO, também por telefone, que este será "um sinal de que a China se está a tornar num actor mais importante na cena internacional. E também num alvo válido para um ataque".

O gesto do AQIM foi recebido pelo Governo chinês também com um aviso: serão tomadas todas as medidas para que a ameaça não passe à prática. "Vamos seguir de perto a situação e fazer esforços conjuntos com os paí-ses envolvidos para tomar todas as medidas necessárias para garantir a segurança das instituições e cidadãos chineses no estrangeiro", afirmou numa conferência de imprensa o porta-voz do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, Qin Gang.

Oportunismo do AQIM

A ameaça poderá ter outras consequências para além de ataques na Argélia ou no Iémen. "O Governo [chinês] diz com veemência que em Xinjiang há elementos ligados a grupos terroristas internacionais. O que a Al-Qaeda fez agora foi dar-lhe bases para esse argumento", continua Kerry Brown.

Por outro lado, "a China tem tido um low profile. Isto pode mudar essa posição, e significa que o Governo terá mais interesse em trabalhar com outros parceiros internacionais" na luta contra o terrorismo.

O investigador da Stirling Assynt adianta ao PÚBLICO que "há um certo oportunismo" na atitude do AQIM, que será um "franchising regional da Al-Qaeda": está a aproveitar "os ressentimentos que existem em Xinjiang" em relação à governação chinesa. E, "apesar de a China não fazer parte dos mais altos interesses da Al-Qaeda, o grupo também não se pode dar ao luxo de não dizer uma palavra", quando cidadãos muçulmanos estão a ser vítimas de uma repressão.

Os distúrbios começaram no dia 2 de Julho em Urumqi, a capital da região, quando milhares de uigures foram para a rua exigir uma investigação à morte de dois membros da sua etnia em Guangdong, no Sul da China. Confrontos entre uigures e chineses han (largamente maioritários no resto do país) levaram à morte de pelo menos 186 pessoas e a 1680 feridos.

JPTF 2009/07/15

julho 09, 2009

A democracia na Europa: insistam, insistam até que os irlandeses digam sim...

Just over a year after Ireland's shock rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, Dublin has announced that a second referendum on the charter will take place on 2 October.

The move comes after the Irish government last month secured agreement from other member states on a package of guarantees on interpretation of the treaty in the areas of neutrality, tax sovereignty and social and ethical issues.

These areas had been identified as ones where there was confusion among Irish voters about the implications of the treaty.

Irish prime minister Brian Cowen made the date public in the Irish parliament on Wednesday (8 July.) He said the concerns of the Irish voters had been addressed by the legal guarantees.

"On that basis, I recommended to the government that we return to the people to seek their approval for Ireland to ratify the treaty and that referendum will take place on 2 October."

Ireland was the only country that put the treaty to referendum last year. A vociferous no-campaign suggested the treaty would see the EU set tax rates, legalise abortion and make the Irish army take part in EU peacekeeping operations.

The government was wrong-footed by the anti-treaty camp and the June vote saw 53.4 come out against the treaty, causing shock in Brussels and some grumbling about ungratefulness as the country has been a major beneficiary of EU funds.

Dublin indicated early on that it would put the treaty back to a vote but only after it was seen to be winning concessions first.

As part of the general Lisbon guarantees package, it also secured agreement that the number of commissioners would remain at one per member state even after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which foresees a reduction in commission size.

The national backdrop has changed dramatically since last year with the country having been severely affected by the global economic downturn. Polls suggest, and analysts have widely predicted, that this will lead to a yes vote in October.

The government is also hoping to make the treaty - not known for being easy reading - more accessible to voters. It has set up a website explaining it and is sending postcards to all households outlining the legal guarantees on the treaty.

In addition, the referendum bill is designed to ease any voter fears that EU decision-making can be taken without national scrutiny by increasing parliamentary oversight.

All other countries have ratified the treaty in their parliaments. But Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland have yet to finish the ratification process which still needs the signatures of the countries' presidents.

JPTF 2009/07/09

julho 03, 2009

‘Irão diz que a Europa não está mais qualificada para as negociações do program nuclear‘ in EU Observer

Iran says Europe is no longer qualified to hold nuclear talks due to its meddling with the post-election protests in the country, with Sweden, as the new EU presidency, calling up officials from the 27-member bloc to discuss the next diplomatic move.

The EU has played a significant part in international efforts to make Tehran comply with the world's rules on nuclear power. Three EU states - Germany, France, and the UK - have been leading the negotiations along with the US, Russia and China.

But Iran's military chief of staff Major-General Hassan Firouzabadi on Wednesday (I July) said that the alleged "interference" of Europeans in the riots following the June presidential election means the bloc has "lost its qualification to hold nuclear talks."

The statement came after Tehran's action against local employees of the UK embassy, accused by Iranians of meddling with the opposition protests.

Nine persons were detained over the weekend but most of them released on Monday and Wednesday. Two British staff members are still in jail.

In a bid to protest the handling of the situation, other EU states are also considering withdrawing their ambassadors from Tehran, with Britain pressing hard for a joint gesture while Germany and Italy, as Iran's key trade partners, prefer to keep on speaking terms with the country.

"It is easier to get everyone in the EU to agree on tough language on Iran, as happened last weekend, rather than take tough action," one British diplomat said, according to the Financial Times.

Just two days into its six-month chairmanship of the European Union, Sweden has called on member states' senior officials to discuss the issue on Thursday (2 July).

Speaking to journalists at the official opening of the presidency, Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeld made clear that Europe wants to support the democratic forces in Iran but also avoid isolating the country from the rest of the world. "That's the balance we need to strike," he said.

Tehran's political unrest broke out following the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 12 June. Iranian supporters of his rival, opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, argue that the poll had been rigged and demand its complete re-run.

Iran's police chief Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moghaddam said that 20 people were killed and more than 1,000 arrested in the wave of protests, AFP reported on Wednesday.


JPTF 2009/07/03