Indonesian CT Success Story

by Jake Tremblay, Research Intern to Senior Fellow Dr. Lew Stern

Over the past 7 years Densus 88, the Indonesian anti-terrorist task force formed in response to the Bali bombings in 2002, has made incredible strides in policing and has become a prime example of international counterterrorism cooperation. Densus 88, with U.S. training and equipment assistance, has essentially dismantled Jemaah Islamiyah, the terrorist organization responsible for the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002 and 2005, as well as that of Noordin Top’s splinter group which perpetrated the terrorist acts against the Marriot and Ritz-Carlton Jakarta in 2009. Additionally, a Densus 88 operation policed up Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, the financier of the last year’s hotel bombings who, on 28 June, was sentenced to 5 years in jail. This is the most recent victory for both the U.S. Government and Indonesian police force in the fight against extremism. It follows hard on the heels of the arrest of the most wanted terrorist suspect Abdulla Sonata last week. Add to these recent successes the 2009 take down of hotel and nightclub bombing mastermind Noordin Top and you have a story of focused Indonesian resolve to cooperate with friends and allies in the global fight against terrorism. Pressure from Densus 88 stymied terrorist activities for 4 years before quickly eliminating the threat from a man who was #3 on the FBI’s Seeking Information War on Terrorist List. The Indonesian efforts show clearly that direct intelligence sharing and U.S. investment in capacity building programs can have an enormous impact.

In light of the successes achieved through the US-Indonesian strategic security partnership countering the nascent terrorism movement in Indonesia, are there additional countries where the US Government should offer similar assistance?

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2 Comments

Filed under Regional Studies, Strategic Studies

2 responses to “Indonesian CT Success Story

  1. oursnot2wonderwhy

    Support for India has to be very delicately balanced with what should be our larger and more immediate military/CT aid target: Pakistan. Our entire mission in Afghanistan is handicapped by a safe haven for terrorists just on the other side of the mountains through a porous, arbitrary, international border. Pashtunistan recognizes no such border, and neither does the largest threat to instability in the region. We should reevaluate the carrot to stick ratio used with Islamabad in cleaning up rampant corruption and intelligence sharing with separatist and terrorist factions. Only then will we be in a position to trust their government, military, and CT branches to share intelligence with the US (as in Indonesia) and finally start to clean up the most obvious international security threat we face.

  2. alukszo

    India could use U.S. assistance as it is currently facing a growing Maoist insurgent threat within its borders. India is an important player in South Asia and a rising power with which the United States should work to build a close political, economic and military relationship. Aiding and supporting India will help keep it stable and strengthen US-India relations.

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