Communal Conflict and Security Debates in Indonesia

Rachel Diprose

Past Communal Conflict and Contemporary Security Debates in Indonesia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1619186) is the sixth article for a special issue on post-reformasi Indonesia due out later this year.

The article is authored by Rachael Diprose of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia and Muhammad Najib Azca of the Department of Sociology at the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Muhammad Najib Azca

The abstract for the article states:

This article explores the links between communal violence in Poso, Central Sulawesi, at the onset of democratisation in Indonesia and contemporary politico-security dynamics. Poso regained national attention in recent years when East Indonesia Mujahidin jihadis set up a base in the region and declared allegiance to ISIS and joint police-military operations ensued. The article argues that scale and “performance” of the security operations – to weed out a small group of poorly resourced armed men – connects local-national-global dynamics and keeps the threat of terrorism and insecurity at the forefront of public discussion in Indonesia. This has served the interests of those advocating for a greater role for the Indonesian military in domestic affairs through revisions to the Anti-Terrorism Law and for better resourcing for the military. Yet, the evidence suggests there has been little local support for the ideology of the East Indonesia Mujahidin and the risk of widespread engagement or violence is low, especially given that the local discontent which initially drove the conflict has dissipated. Such developments raise questions as to whether Indonesia risks a return to the illiberal past when the military dominated many aspects of civic and political life and in some cases acted with impunity.

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