Monday, July 20, 2009

Terrorist bombs claim 9 lives in Jakarta: Update 4

More details are emerging about the bombing of the Marriott Hotel and Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jakarta last Friday. Firstly, Indonesian police believe that Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was the group involved in the bombings due to the evidence they have recovered from the scene and through their investigation.

It is likely that Noordin Top, a Malaysian fugitive who leads an affiliated group within JI, planned and organized the attacks. Last month, there were sightings of Top in central Java. Two weeks ago, authorities in Bogor believed they had him in their grasp. Then last week, a raid on his father-in-law's house uncovered bombs and a treasure trove of intelligence.

The July 17 blasts deal a big blow to Indonesia's image. President Yudhoyono's resounding re-election victory on July 8 was widely viewed as a sign of growing stability in the country. Foreign investors had been returning to the country, which is seen as a Southeast Asian success story — a nation where Islam and democracy peacefully coexist. Now that picture has been shattered.


  • Police pressure and public revulsion at JI's murdering of civilians had convinced most of the group's surviving leaders to abandon terror tactics. Friday's attacks could indicate that a violent splinter faction committed to the old methods remains at large.
  • JI partly has responded to government pressure by breaking into separate factions. One is a "mainstream," or nonviolent faction that believes high-profile attacks on Westerners don't advance the group's ultimate goal of a Pan-Southeast Asian Islamic caliphate. The other is a smaller group that prefers a strategy of violent confrontation with the secular Indonesian government and Western interests.
  • The International Crisis Group estimates JI's active supporters could be as low as 1,000.
  • The Friday attacks also show an evolution of terrorist tactics and methods. Previous attacks in Bali in 2002 and Jakarta in 2004 involved car bombs. The terrorists have reached a new level of sophistication and this was the most elaborate operation conducted so far. The attackers posed as guests at the hotel and set up a planning center in one of its rooms as a way to avoid the security measures that have made frontal assaults very difficult.
  • "Jakarta Suicide Bombers Challenged by Hotel Staff", Bloomberg, 7/20/09.
  • "Jakarta bombings: Why Indonesia's Islamist radicals attack", Christian Science Monitor, 7/20/09.
  • "Marriott hotel bomber singled out mining meeting,", 7/20/09.
  • "Will the Jakarta Bombings Scare Away Foreigners?", Time 7/20/09.
  • "Indonesian Police Say Jakarta Bombings Are Work of Jemaah Islamiyah", Voice of America News, 7/19/09.
  • "Hunt on for Top Terrorist," Sydney Morning Herald, 7/19/09.
  • "Analysis: Jakarta attack may show evolution of Islamist terror group'" Christian Science Monitor, 7/17/09.
  • "Twin hotel bombings break Indonesia's four-year calm", Christian Science Monitor, 7/17/09.
  • "After a Four-Year Calm, Bombs Hit Jakarta Hotels", Time, 7/17/09.
  • "Jemaah Islamiyah: A renewed struggle?", Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 7/16/09.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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