Viewing cable 02JAKARTA1853
Title: RELIGOUS EXTREMISTS SEEKING "SHORTCUT TO

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
02JAKARTA18532002-05-22 05:41:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
R 220541Z MAY 02
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7609
INFO ASEAN COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 
AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 
SECDEF WASHDC//USDP/ISA/AP//
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//FPA//
NSC WASHDC
AMCONSUL SURABAYA
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 001853 
 
STATE FOR EAP, EAP/PIMBS; 
OSD FOR USDP/ISA/AP SCHER; 
USCINCPAC FOR FPA 
NAIROBI FOR MARK CLARK 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2012 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ID US
SUBJECT: RELIGOUS EXTREMISTS SEEKING "SHORTCUT TO 
PARADISE," COORDINATING MINISTER KALLA TELLS A/S KELLY 
 
¶1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY POLOFF I. REED, REASON 1. 5 (D). 
 
¶2. (C) SUMMARY:  COORDINATING PEOPLE'S WELFARE MINISTER JUSUF 
KALLA TOLD VISITING EAP A/S JAMES KELLY MAY 18 THAT ECONOMIC 
MARGINALIZATION OF LOCALS WAS THE ROOT CAUSE OF INDONESIA'S 
COMMUNAL AND SEPARATIST CONFLICTS.  HE DOWNPLAYED THE 
IMPORTANCE OF RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS AND OTHER POWERFUL VESTED 
INTERESTS, CHARACTERIZING THEM MORE AS A SYMPTOM THAN A 
CAUSE. THE GOI'S APPROACH TO SOLVING THE CONFLICTS, KALLA 
SAID, WOULD BE TO REDUCE POVERTY AND IMPROVE HEALTH, 
EDUCATION, SOCIAL SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE, WHILE LEAVING 
"THE REST" TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR.  IN A LAND WHERE FEAR OF 
RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS AND UNSEEN MALEVOLENT FORCES OFTEN 
STYMIES ACTION, KALLA'S EMPHASIS ON ECONOMICS AND GOVERNMENT 
SERVICES WAS REFRESHING, AND MAY HELP EXPLAIN WHY HIS 
POLITICAL STAR IS RISING.  AS USUAL, THE HARD PART WILL BE 
FOLLOW-THROUGH.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶3. (C) COORDINATING MINISTER FOR PEOPLE'S WELFARE JUSUF KALLA 
DISCUSSED INDONESIA'S SEPARATIST AND COMMUNAL CONFLICTS AND 
OTHER ISSUES UNDER HIS SUPERVISION IN A MAY 18 MEETING WITH 
VISITING EAP ASSISTANT SECRETARY JAMES KELLY, ACCOMPANIED BY 
CHARGE.  PRIVATE SECRETARY SUTEDJO JUWONO, GENERAL ELECTIONS 
COMMISSIONER HAMID AWALUDIN, AND A NOTETAKER JOINED MINISTER 
KALLA.  EAP SENIOR ADVISOR THERESA MCNIEL, USAID DIRECTOR, 
CONTROL OFFICER LISA WILKINSON, AND POLOFF (NOTETAKER) ALSO 
ACCOMPANIED A/S KELLY. 
 
IT'S THE ECONOMY 
---------------- 
¶4. (C) A/S KELLY THANKED KALLA FOR HIS AND THE GOI'S EFFORTS 
TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO CONFLICTS IN MALUKU AND CENTRAL 
SULAWESI, WHICH THE USG STRONGLY SUPPORTED.   KALLA TOLD A/S 
KELLY THAT ECONOMIC MARGINALIZATION OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES WAS 
THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL OF INDONESIA'S COMMUNAL AND SEPARATIST 
CONFLICTS.  HE TRACED THIS PHENOMENON TO SOEHARTO-ERA GOI 
POLICIES, IN PARTICULAR THE GRANTING OF MONOPOLIES OVER KEY 
COMMODITIES -- INCLUDING CLOVES, TIMBER, COFFEE, AND CANE FOR 
FURNITURE -- TO CRONIES OF THE RULING ELITE, THUS SHUTTING 
LOCAL COMMUNITIES OUT OF THE BENEFITS.  MEANWHILE, 
TRANSMIGRATION POLICIES HAD CREATED RESENTMENT BY HELPING TO 
DISPLACE LOCALS WITH HARDER WORKING MIGRANTS. 
 
¶5. (C) KALLA NOTED THAT THE ADVENT OF DEMOCRACY HAD ALSO 
HELPED UNRAVEL ONCE CAREFULLY MANAGED BALANCES OF POWER 
BETWEEN RELIGIOUS GROUPS.  IN REGIONS SUCH AS CENTRAL 
SULAWESI AND MALUKU, WHERE GROUPS OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES 
WERE LARGE OR POPULATIONS WERE ROUGHLY BALANCED, THE 
GOVERNMENT PARCELED OUT IMPORTANT POSITIONS AS GOVERNORS OR 
DISTRICT HEADS ACCORDING TO TRADITIONS THAT REFLECTED THE 
STRENGTH OF EACH RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY.  CURRENTLY, WHICHEVER 
SIDE MUSTERED A MAJORITY IN THE LOCAL LEGISLATURE COULD FILL 
THE POSITIONS OVERWHELMINGLY WITH MEMBERS OF ITS OWN 
COMMUNITY. 
 
¶6. (C) IN THE CASE OF MALUKU, HISTORIC IMBALANCES IN 
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES WERE ALSO A FACTOR, KALLA SAID. 
CHRISTIANS WERE FAR BETTER EDUCATED DURING THE COLONIAL 
PERIOD, BUT LATER MOVED TO JAKARTA SEEKING OPPORTUNITIES. 
MUSLIMS REPLACED THEM IN IMPORTANT POSITIONS, WHERE THEY NOW 
DOMINATED.  KALLA NOTED, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT FIFTEEN OF 
NINETEEN HEADS OF DEPARTMENT IN THE AMBON ADMINISTRATION WERE 
NOW MUSLIM, EVEN THOUGH THE POPULATIONS OF THE TWO 
COMMUNITIES WERE ROUGHLY BALANCED. 
 
EXTREMISTS ON ICE 
----------------- 
¶7. (C) THE CHARGE ASKED FOR KALLA'S VIEWS ON A RECENT MEDIA 
DEBATE THAT FOLLOWED THE ARREST OF LASKAR JIHAD LEADER JAFFAR 
UMAR THALIB OVER WHETHER EXTREMIST GROUPS WERE REALLY THE 
MAIN SOURCE OF PROBLEMS.  KALLA DOWNPLAYED THE IMPORTANCE OF 
SUCH GROUPS OR OFTEN-RUMORED PROVOCATION FROM OTHER POWERFUL 
VESTED INTERESTS, SUGGESTING THEY WERE A SYMPTOM MORE THAN A 
CAUSE OF THE CONFLICTS.  RETRACING THE HISTORY OF MALUKU, HE 
CLAIMED THAT IT STARTED AS A COMMUNAL CONFLICT RESULTING FROM 
ECONOMIC MARGINALIZATION OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, AND THAT 
FOR THE FIRST YEAR THE CHRISTIANS WERE MORE AGGRESSIVE.  IN 
AN EFFORT TO TIP THE BALANCE, LASKAR JIHAD (LJ) BEGAN 
MOBILIZING MUSLIMS FROM JAVA TO AMBON SIX MONTHS LATER, 
GAINING FINANCIAL SUPPORT BY HIGHLIGHTING ITS HEALTH AND 
HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS.  SIX MONTHS LATER, THE CHRISTIAN SIDE 
PRODUCED THE MALUKU SOVEREIGNTY FRONT (FKM). 
 
¶8. (C) KALLA CLAIMED THAT THIS SEQUENCE EXPLAINED WHY THE GOI 
HAD FOCUSED FIRST ON REPAIRING RELATIONS BETWEEN THE LOCAL 
COMMUNITIES DURING THE MALINO I AND II PROCESSES (AGREEMENTS 
STRUCK EARLIER THIS YEAR INTENDED TO SETTLE THE CENTRAL 
SULAWESI AND MALUKU CONFLICTS, RESPECTIVELY).  HE SUGGESTED 
THAT THAT EFFORT HAD BEEN LARGELY SUCCESSFUL, NOTING THAT A 
RECENT OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE IN MALUKU HAD INVOLVED ONLY 
MILITIAS AND NOT LOCAL PEOPLE.  THE GOI HAD SUBSEQUENTLY 
ARRESTED LJ LEADER THALIB AND THE FKM'S LEADER REMAINED IN 
DETENTION, HE ADDED.  KALLA PREDICTED THE SITUATION IN MALUKU 
WOULD IMPROVE IN JUNE, ALLUDING TO A DEADLINE (OFTEN EXTENDED 
PREVIOUSLY) FOR OUTSIDE COMBATANTS TO WITHDRAW.  KELLY 
QUESTIONED WHETHER AN IMPROVING SECURITY SITUATION NATIONWIDE 
INDICATED THAT COMMUNAL CONFLICTS WERE A "SPENT FORCE" AND 
WHETHER CONFLICT AREAS WOULD REMAIN PEACEFUL AFTER SECURITY 
FORCES WERE WITHDRAWN. 
 
SEEKING "SHORTCUT TO PARADISE" 
------------------------------ 
¶9. (C) KALLA SUGGESTED THAT SEPARATIST CONFLICTS WERE EASIER 
TO RESOLVE THAN THOSE WITH RELIGIOUS OVERTONES.  THE 
RELIGIOUS MILITIAS INCLUDED MANY THUGS WHO SOUGHT A "SHORTCUT 
TO PARADISE" PRECISELY BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT PARTICULARLY 
RELIGIOUS.  CONVINCED THAT HEAVEN WAS ON THEIR SIDE IN A 
RELIGIOUS WAR, THESE COMBATANTS WERE UNAFRAID TO DIE.  SINCE 
CHARITY ALSO EARNED ONE CREDIT TO GET INTO HEAVEN, THERE WERE 
MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING FROM OUTSIDE OF INDONESIA, EAGER TO 
GIVE LASKAR JIHAD MONEY.  KALLA SAID HE HAD TOLD MILITIA 
MEMBERS ON BOTH SIDES THAT THIS WAS NOT A LEGITIMATE 
RELIGIOUS WAR, AND THAT THEIR ACTIONS WOULD LIKELY EARN THEM 
A TRIP TO HELL. 
 
¶10. (C) THE SEPARATIST MOVEMENTS IN ACEH AND WEST PAPUA 
REMAINED LARGELY BASED ON ECONOMIC GRIEVANCES, KALLA 
SUGGESTED, WHILE COMPARING THE STUBBORN RESISTANCE OF THE 
ACEHNESE TO THAT OF THE APACHE INDIANS.  WEST PAPUA WOULD BE 
EASIER TO RESOLVE, HE ARGUED, AS THE NEW SPECIAL AUTONOMY LAW 
TRANSFERRED GREATER CONTROL OF POLITICS AND ECONOMIC 
RESOURCES TO THE LOCAL PEOPLE.  THE FEARLESSNESS OF HOLY 
WARRIORS MADE RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS FAR BLOODIER, KALLA NOTED, 
CLAIMING THAT THE ESTIMATED FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE KILLED IN 
THE MALUKU CONFLICT OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS WAS TEN TIMES 
THE DEATH TOLL IN ACEH.  (NOTE:  KALLA'S ESTIMATE OF THE ACEH 
DEAD APPEARS TO BE A SERIOUS UNDERESTIMATE, WITH THE DEATH 
TOLL SO FAR THIS YEAR ALREADY APPROACHING FOUR HUNDRED.  END 
NOTE.) 
 
¶11. (C) A/S KELLY THANKED KALLA FOR HIS EFFORTS IN BROKERING 
THE MALINO AGREEMENTS AND IN TRYING TO ADDRESS THE COUNTRY'S 
PROBLEMS WITH INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDP'S).  HE 
REITERATED THAT THE UNITED STATES STRONGLY SUPPORTED 
INDONESIA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, AND NOTED THAT HIS DEPUTY 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MATHEW DALEY, HAD VISITED GAM LEADERS IN 
STOCKHOLM THIS MONTH TO URGE THAT THEY ACCEPT THE ACEH 
SPECIAL AUTONOMY LAW AS A BASIS FOR A POLITICAL SETTLEMENT. 
 
¶12. (C) KALLA SAID THE IDP PROBLEM WOULD BECOME EASIER TO 
SOLVE AS SECURITY IMPROVED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.  NOTING 
THAT HE WOULD ACCOMPANY PRESIDENT MEGAWATI TO EAST TIMOR'S 
MAY 19 INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION, KALLA PROJECTED THAT AS MANY 
AS FOUR-FIFTHS OF THE REMAINING FIFTY THOUSAND IDP'S IN WEST 
TIMOR MIGHT RETURN HOME BY AUGUST.  A/S KELLY PRAISED 
MEGAWATI'S DECISION TO ATTEND THE CELEBRATION, NOTING THAT 
SHE TOOK A POLITICAL RISK IN DOING SO BUT THAT IT WOULD HELP 
ENCOURAGE IDP'S TO RETURN. 
 
THE SOLUTION -- ENDING POVERTY, IMPROVING EDUCATION 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
¶13. (C) KALLA STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF POVERTY REDUCTION IN 
RESOLVING ALL OF INDONESIA'S SEPARATIST AND COMMUNAL 
CONFLICTS.  THE GOI WOULD FOCUS ITS EFFORTS ON IMPROVING 
HEALTH, EDUCATION, SOCIAL SERVICES AND BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE, 
WHILE LEAVING "THE REST TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR."  OVER THE 
LONGER TERM, THE GOI HAD TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM TO 
ADDRESS BOTH ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM. 
 
¶14. (C) A/S KELLY ASKED ABOUT OTHER ISSUES TOUCHING ON 
KALLA'S AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY, INCLUDING HEALTH AND THE 
ENVIRONMENT.  KALLA RESPONDED THAT IN ITS APPROACH TO HEALTH 
CARE, THE GOI WAS RETURNING TO THE TRADITION OF HAVING 
CLINICS IN EACH VILLAGE STAFFED AT MINIMUM WITH A NURSE 
CAPABLE OF DOING IMMUNIZATIONS.  KALLA DOWNPLAYED CONCERNS 
ABOUT AN EL NINO-INDUCED DROUGHT THIS YEAR, SAYING HE WAS 
CONFIDENT THAT STOCKS OF RICE WERE SUFFICIENT TO AVOID A 
LARGE-SCALE DISASTER.  RECALLING JAKARTA'S SEVERE FLOODS 
EARLY THIS YEAR, KALLA NOTED THAT FLOODS COULD BE AS 
DANGEROUS AS DROUGHT. 
 
¶15. (C) KALLA POINTED OUT THAT DURING INDONESIA'S 1998 
ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS, IT HAD NOT BEEN DROUGHT BUT RATHER 
ACCOMPANYING FOREST FIRES THAT HAD DONE THE MOST DAMAGE. 
KALLA SUGGESTED THE RISK OF A REPETITION OF EL NINO MAY 
NEARLY HAVE PASSED, AS MAY AND JUNE TENDED TO BE THE DRIEST 
MONTHS.  A/S KELLY ASKED KALLA ABOUT THE CONDITION OF 
INDONESIA'S CORAL REEFS.  THE MINISTER ASSERTED THAT 
FISHERMEN ARE BETTER TRAINED THAN PREVIOUSLY TO AVOID 
DYNAMITE FISHING, BUT THAT THE GOI NEEDED MORE CAPACITY TO 
POLICE ITS WATERS. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶16. (C) SOURCES SAY THAT KALLA, WITH HIS BUSINESS BACKGROUND, 
APPROACHES HIS JOB WITH A CAN-DO ATTITUDE THAT BORDERS ON 
NAIVETE.  BUT HIS EMPHASIS ON ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT IS 
REFRESHING IN A PLACE WHERE EVERY UNFORTUNATE EVENT IS SEEN 
AS THE WORK OF MALEVOLENT AND UNSEEN HANDS, WHOSE FEARED 
POWER THEN BECOMES AN EXCUSE FOR INACTION.  THE PRESENCE OF 
LASKAR JIHAD IN MALUKU IS A SERIOUS OBSTACLE TO PEACE, AND 
THE REAL REASON THE GOI HAS NOT EVICTED THEM IS FEAR OF AN 
ISLAMIST POLITICAL BACKLASH.  BUT KALLA IS RIGHT TO KEEP THE 
MILITIAS AND RUMORS OF MILITARY PROVOCATEURS INTO 
PERSPECTIVE.  THE GOI MUST LEARN HOW TO HANDLE THE LIKES OF 
LASKAR JIHAD, FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS.  MEANWHILE, A LOT 
COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF THE GOI STARTED TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON 
KALLA'S OWN PRESCRIPTION: POVERTY REDUCTION, AND IMPROVEMENTS 
TO HEALTH, EDUCATION, SOCIAL SERVICES, AND INFRASTRUCTURE, 
AND PRIVATE SECTOR COMPETITION. 
 
¶17. (U) A/S KELLY HAS CLEARED THIS MESSAGE. 
 
 
MULL