Published: Australian Financial Review
The Indonesian police and army are unlucky, incompetent or involved in the Jakarta Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombings.
Three days prior to the bombings Indonesian police claim they found bomb making material at a house in central Java owned by a person related to their prime nominated suspect, Noordin Top. They say that this material was identical to a third undetonated bomb subsequently found at the Marriott Hotel.
The Indonesian police have linked Top to the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in 2003 and the Australian Embassy in 2004. Top is the Scarlet Pimpernel of Indonesian, no one can find him; yet the police, despite knowing everything about him, including the location of his relatives, can’t nab him. For weeks he was able to sit unrecognised in this home making bombs, but it was only after he departed for Jakarta with some of his handiwork, that police raided the home. They told no one. No warnings were issued to locations where foreign nationals were likely to be located, following the discovery. Why not?
At best security at both hotels was slack. Why? How was it possible for Noordin Top and associates to sit in a room at the Marriott putting together plans and bombs?
We know that the Pakistan Intelligence Service, ISI, has close links to fundamental Islamic groups in Pakistan, they use them and we know why.
Acts of terrorism in Indonesia keep the military and police at the centre of politics and by their own definition crucial to law and order. Maintenance of a strong power base ensures continued dominance of networks that distribute the spoils of the state.
The Australian Foreign Minister says he cannot be certain that Australians were specific targets of the bombers, however because of the targets chosen, from Bali to the most recent attack, it has been inevitable that Australians would be amongst the victims and those responsible for the bombings would know that.
The bombings are no threat to the security of Indonesia, for that to happen, the bombers would need a broader base of popular appeal and they do not have that. What do the bombings aim to achieve? Who stands to gain?
In order to stop people smuggling the AFP has become close to the Indonesian police and military. Altogether too close for objective analysis to take place but close enough for antipathy to exist.