Get password
Search Product
Please select
Product Categories
Message Board


more details..

Militants devise New Tactics: Governments to promote Dialogue

Wednesday March 21, 2007

Militant groups are devising new strategies in an effort to deal with closer cooperation between countries in the Southeast Asian region and keep victory against terrorism out of reach, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda warned on Monday (5/3/07, as quoted by Indonesia’s Trade and Investment News, published by the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy.

"While we have been enhancing our cooperation and enlarging our capabilities in the fight against terrorism, the terrorists are also making their own adjustments," Wirayuda told a ministerial security meeting in Jakarta.

"We must continue to enhance the format of the dialogues we are holding to counter the clever and seductive propaganda of the terrorists. We must devise more effective ways of denying the terrorists access to deadly weapons.

Wirayuda did not spell out what the new tactics were, but experts say militants have found smarter ways to cross borders and that groups seek to win popular support through charity and involvement in sectarian violence.
The two-day conference was chaired by Indonesia and Australia, which have worked closely ever since militants bombed nightclubs in Bali in 2002.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also warned against complacency. "They continue to find support, they continue to make bombs and they continue to recruit operatives to carry out their attacks," he told the conference.

Downer said Muslim extremists like Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) seek a world that bans "all forms of entertainment and all trappings of modernity.” "We need to work together to prevent this kind of society, to reject this extremist ideology," he said.

The meeting was a follow-up to a similar 2004 conference that produced the so-called Bali Counter-Terrorism Process. That included coordination in countering terrorist financing, investigations, prosecutions and intelligence-sharing.

The cooperation has led to the prosecution of hundreds of militants in Indonesia, the killing of top JI bombmaker Azahari bin Husin and the establishment of a regional counter-terrorism training center for law enforcement officers.

Downer praised Indonesia’s record on counter-terrorism. “The way they have been handling this difficult issue is working for them. They've arrested somewhere in the vicinity of 200 JI operatives,” he pointed out.
On the other hand, Abdul Khalik of the Jakarta Post emphasized other aspects discussed in the Meeting. The Jakarta Post reported that six nations in the Asia-Pacific region ended a two-day conference on counterterrorism Tuesday with a commitment to fight radicalism and extremism by strengthening dialog and promoting tolerance through the media.
They agreed to seek ways to bring a swift end to prolonged conflicts in several parts of the region, such as the southern Philippines, southern Thailand, and Poso, Central Sulawesi, which are seen as safe havens for terrorists to hide and train.
In a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart, Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said officials agreed that the region should continue to promote intra-faith and interfaith dialogues to strengthen understanding and avoid conflicts.
"In fighting radicalization, we need to cooperate with the mass media to be able spread ideas of tolerance and harmony, besides continuously conducting dialog," he told reporters.
The two-day conference, which was co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia, was also attended by officials from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. It aimed at strengthening mechanisms of cooperation in the region, which has been hit by several major bomb attacks.
Downer said the leaders agreed on how to counter radicalism and extremism as well as on the sort of counter-narrative to develop to win people's heart and minds.  "Interfaith dialogues are a very important way forward. Australia and Indonesia established a regional interfaith dialogue three years ago, with its first meeting in Yogyakarta, and last year in Cebu, the Philippines. We will meet in New Zealand in May," he said.
Downer proposed a second-track seminar to be attended by media, commentators, and academics to discuss the counter-narrative as part of the strategy.
On a more practical level, Downer said, the six nations agreed on measures of cooperation in several areas, such as combating Internet activity by terrorists. "The Internet is used to send radical messages and has also been used to carry out terrorist attacks," he said.
Hassan said they also discussed ways to prevent weapons smuggling, including small and light arms and chemicals and bomb ingredients.
"We have discussed the need to prevent terrorist groups from owning weapons for mass killing, such as nuclear weapons and chemical and biological weapons," he said.
Hassan said the ministers agreed to follow up the topics discussed at the conference with technical meetings by lower level officials to establish further concrete mechanisms and actions, reported the Jakarta Post.