Terrorism in Indonesia in 2016

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    The 6th President of the Republic of Indonesia It is a matter of certainty that terrorism will continue to be the key challenge to national and international security. It is extremely difficult to know when and where the next attack will occur. Each of us-no matter how distant, or how powerful, or how seemingly peaceful-can be a potential target. Indonesia, like many other countries, has at various times in our post-independence history faced different forms of terrorism, coming from a variety of perpetrators. Since the time of the Bali bombings in 2002, it has often been said that Indonesia has had a good record of successful counterterrorism measures. Many plots have been foiled, scores of terrorist cells have been uncovered and apprehended, and our deradicalisation program has progressed. But we were not successful a!I the time. Despite our all-out efforts, we were still hit by several strikes. And whenever they happened we never let our guard down; we always rebounded and fought them even more strongly. We have learned several lessons in our counterterrorism efforts. The first is to keep the fight against terrorism away from politics as best as possible. Once counterterrorism activities become subject to the political circus, things will become disoriented-a situation which benefits only the terrorists. A quiet, focused, sustained and professional approach is the best way to fight terrorism. Second is the imperative to engage in international cooperation. One cannot be drawn into inward-looking nationalism for the practical reason that most terrorist operations are transnational. As we have experienced in Indonesia, intelligence sharing is extremely critical to our ability to identify, track, disrupt and neutralise terrorist groups. Third is the need to shore up public support and to maintain religious moderation. There is nothing the terrorists want more than to see the breakdown of public order and the spread of fear and insecurity, which would provide fertile ground for radicalism. A resilient society, thriving religious tolerance and a strong civil society is the best antidote to terrorism. Fourth is the need to constantly adapt. The terrorists today are very different from the terrorists when I first joined the military in the early 1970s. They are more sophisticated in their craft, are bent on killing indiscriminately and disproportionately and, unlike in the past, are willing to die for their cause. As the terrorists' means of attack continue to evolve, so must our methods to counter them. We must try to catch up with their craft and if possible be one step ahead of the terrorists, although I know that is easier said than done. 2016 was a difficult year in the fight against terrorism.judging from the number of attacks and casualties worldwide. Throughout 2016, the Islamic State (IS) suffered major setbacks and lost significant territory in the Middle East. At the same time, however, the group continued to engage and recruit sympathisers who have inspired, enabled and directed terrorist attacks. Those attacks have occurred with frequency and global reach, from Malaysia to Germany and from Bangladesh to the US. The geographic vision of those who are calling for the so-called 'caliphate' far exceeds the borders of the Middle East, and we shall continue to feel the effects of IS's dangerous ideology in the years to come. Counterterrorism agencies have also been active behind the scenes. 2016 has seen significant work to counter terrorist financing, new research into counterterrorism methods, improved methods of deradicalisation, and a broadening of training to help local police recognise emerging extremist threats. Importantly, international cooperation is continuing to grow. There have also been efforts to build a stronger coalition of moderates and interfaith solidarity. To that end, this counterterrorism yearbook is the first in what will be an annual ASPI publication reporting on key counterterrorism developments around the world. Each chapter covers a region or specific country, providing in-depth analysis on relevant counterterrorism strategy, policy, legislation and operations. It is my sincere hope that this yearbook will help practitioners and the community alike understand the nature of these challenges and what is being done globally to make the world safer. In a security environment that appears sometimes dominated by the threat of terrorism, let us focus on and learn from the many and varied efforts being undertaken to counter this insidious threat. I am therefore pleased to commend this publication to you as an authoritative reference on global counterterrorism actions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Commissioning bodyAustralian Strategic Policy Institute
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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