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Looming Border Problems
The Indonesian military will retain links to prointcgration militias despite reports that growing numbers of militia elements are treating to West Timor, where they can regroup, rearm, and
Indonesian military representative to the militias
has hel ti open-enow laiKs witn miiiiia leaders about future military action, leaving them lo believe support from the armed forces will continue indefinitely.
Militia caws-borderfrom staging bases in rural frontier areas of Westa strong possibility.
The iTrdonesian armed forces willubstantial presence in Westenough to continue coven support u> ptwntegranoa forces if they so choose. |
oo Both Sides of Fence In East Timor
is dismantling its command stfucrurt* in EastTTinoranoris preparing to return the five battalions serving rotational duties in the province to their parent commands. Remnants of tbe two local East Timorese battahons already have withdrawn.
the moves leave only core headquarters elements, strategic Reserve units, police mobile brigade forces, and engineering and support units. The military intends to base its command structure around Strategic Reserve forces to be stationed in Dili and Baucau, but the size and mission of this contingent is unclear.
remaining forces could be withdrawn rapidly when tlie battalions have left
Indonesian troops are trying to establish order and to improve conditions in the province before the arrival of the International Force for East Timortask made easierrowing exodus of prointegratlon militias to West Timor. Martial Law Commander Syahnalaie has ordered troops to repair buildings and to distribute rice and bas shown cooperation wiih Red Cross officials.
status of Array Special Forces units, which were responsible for organizing, equipping, and training the prointcgration militias, is unknown; tfreir continued presence and covert activity couldajor threat to INTERFET forces!
Activists Will Keep Political Pot Boiling
Several events in the next month or so will test Jakarta's ability to cope with disaffected groups and hotspots other than East Timor. The government's response will affect the high-stakes political maneuvering in advance of the selection later this yearew president by the People's Consultative Assembly.
of Assembly delegates is far behind schedule, and tbe major parties are embroiled in internal conflicts over strategy
h anniversary of theeptember abortive coup thai ushered in the Soeharto era and holidays honoring the military, including Armed Forces Dayctober and the struggle for independence against lhe Dutch onctober, could fan ruaionalistic sentiment and stir debate about military^ivilian relations.
Regional Actors Restive
Disenchanted groups around the archipelago may try to exploit Jakarta's distraction with East Timor and tbe Assembly. Religious leaders in Aceh this week publicly called on the government toeferendum similar to the one in East Timor to allow residents to choose whether to remain io Indonesia or to become independent.
preoccupation with the presidential selection process suggests Jakarta will do little to dampen tbe already high tension.
Press reports say police last week killed one person in Irian Jaya after some residents, encouraged by the Timor vote,eparatist
Others Waiting in the Wings
Student and other groups are reemerging on tbe political stage ftpmanriini) political reform and accountability. Several student protests this week occurred in Jakarta, according lo press reports, and
onsuations in Jakarta and elsewhere will grow in size and frequency in Ihe runup lo the Assembly.
In contrast, Muslim constituencies are likely to use the Assembly, not tbe street, to flex their political muscle, Tbey will notnited front because of internal divisions, but each of the presidential candidates needs support from at least one of tbe large Muslim blocs, giving Muslim activists an incentive to raise the temperature of their political rhetoric and to press their parochial concerns.