Tuesday, October 15, 2002

BALI UPDATE: Andrea See sends us over to "Indonesia bombed into awareness" from the Asia Times, which is mundane and pessimistic and not, like, concerned with the world as a vast chessboard and a nice contrast to the Peters bigthink. Check this out:

The run of violence since the fall of Suharto in 1998, no matter how it's categorized, is a rich vein for conspiracy theorists. Many contend that forces loyal to the deposed strongman hope to destabilize the country and reassert their grip. Security forces unable or unwilling to staunch the bloodletting and a political class bred under the Smiling General's New Order add to suspicions that bombings, separatist movement attacks (see Indonesia's gold standard, Asia Times Online, September 7, 2002), and communal violence are a wayang kulit (shadow puppet) show by a hidden puppeteer awaiting a desperate nation's call to emerge.

Copying the signature of international terrorists could be a new scene in that play for power. Or, as Ba'asyir asserted on Indonesian television Sunday, the Sari Club bomb must be a US plot to manufacture evidence for its claims of terrorism in Indonesia, since local groups could not assemble such a large explosive device.

The fundamentalist cleric is right that the size of the bomb and the sophisticated tactic of detonating a smaller bomb nearby to funnel more traffic to the main blast location, rules out a gangster war or local prostitutes angry over being banned from the clubs earlier this year. But it rules in international terrorists (Ba'asyir includes the US on his list) and security forces.


The only possible motives evident in Saturday night's blast were to kill the most foreigners possible, to demonstrate the impotence of Indonesian law enforcement, and/or to further undermine confidence in Indonesia's struggling economy by hitting a major center of foreign exchange and international investment.

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