July 6, 2010
Indonesian Radicals Are Weakened, Report Says

JAKARTA - The radical jihadi movement in Indonesia has been left moribund after 
a series of police crackdowns and a failed attempt to start a domestic holy 
war, according to a report by the International Crisis Group. 

The report, released Tuesday, says that groups advocating the violent 
replacement of Indonesia's democratic government with an Islamic caliphate are 
unstable and riven by internal divisions. 

The movement was left in unprecedented disarray after a police crackdown on an 
attempt by a heavily-armed alliance of militants from a number of radical 
groups to set up a base for holy war in the northern Sumatran province of Aceh 
earlier this year, and the killing and arrest of a string of top militants that 
followed, said Sidney Jones, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, an 
advocacy organization that seeks to resolve and prevent armed conflicts. 

"There's more disunity within the movement than we've ever seen before," 
Ms.Jones said Tuesday. 

"I think what's interesting for me is how many divisions have emerged and how 
many disputes are under way within the jihadi movement," she said. "In the 
words of the individuals involved in these movements themselves, they've 

The report focuses on what it describes as clandestine militant activities by 
Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, known as J.A.T., an aboveground group established in 
2008 by a leading radical Indonesian cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir, in an 
acrimonious split with another group, the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council. Three 
senior J.A.T. members were arrested in May on suspicion of helping to finance 
the training camp in Aceh. 

The Aceh camp was an effort by an alliance of jihadis from across Indonesia's 
radical spectrum and was suspected of being under the direction of Dulmatin, 
one of Southeast Asia's leading militants. 

The police broke up the camp in February, and Mr. Dulmatin was shot and killed 
by the police in March during a series of raids in which more than a dozen 
militants were killed and scores arrested. 

Wahyudin, the principal of Mr. Bashir's Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school and a 
founding member of J.A.T., denied any connection between the group and 
terrorist activities. 

"There are no programs like that," he said. 

" Our program is just study." 

The report said although J.A.T. had been accused of financing the camp, 
radicals were already debating the effectiveness of attacks, with many arguing 
that violence was alienating Muslims. The failure of the Aceh plan worsened 
divisions, it said. 

Most of Jemaah Islamiyah, a network co-founded by Mr. Bashir and blamed for 
attacks including the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed more than 200, has for 
years sworn off spectacular violence. Instead, other networks emerged in its 
place, including Mr. Dulmatin's group and a splinter group that was led by the 
late Malaysian militant Noordin Muhammad Top, which was responsible for attacks 
including hotel bombings that killed seven people in Jakarta last year. 

While new recruits are finding their way into radical groups, repeated failure 
has meant violent groups have stagnated while splitting and re-forming over 
differences of personality, ideology and strategy, the report said. 

"There is no indication that violent extremism is gaining ground. Instead, as 
with JAT's formation, we are seeing the same old faces finding new packages for 
old goods," it said. 

Rather, it said, the bigger danger may be posed by groups that have turned away 
for active involvement in attacks but continue to legally preach violent holy 

The Indonesian government has been criticized for taking a soft line against 
groups such as the Islamic Defenders Front, a group accused of having secret 
links to elements of the security forces that eschews terrorism but regularly 
carries out violent protests and raids against religious minorities and secular 
liberal groups. 

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