Foreign Affairs/US-Indonesia Relations

US Will Try Indonesian Terrorist Hambali

The world will soon get a new look at the man accused of plotting the October 2002 bombing in Kuta, Bali, that killed 202 people, and the 2003 attack at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta that killed 11. Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, and his two associates will face a formal arraignment in front of a United States military commission in Guantanamo Bay on Aug 30. It has been some 18 years coming. Hambali, now about 57, was captured in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Aug 14, 2003 in a joint US-Thai operation and transferred to Guantanamo in September 2006. He is believed by investigators to have masterminded the strategy of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror organisation of striking at soft targets. JI has previously been linked to Al-Qaeda and later to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Hambali was not formally charged in the US with any crime until January this year and remains wanted in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines in connection with terrorist plots. In Dec 2001, 15 JI operatives were arrested in Singapore for planning attacks on government buildings, embassies and US servicemen in the Republic. In 2002 came the Bali bombing – the worst terrorist attack ever on Indonesian soil. Then in 2003, the group carried out the bombing at the JW Marriott in Jakarta (excerpt from Straits Times)

US-Indonesia Collaborate on Maritime Center

Indonesia and the United States have broken ground on a new $3.5 million maritime training center in the strategic area of Batam, in the Riau Islands, Indonesia’s maritime security agency said. Attending the ceremony virtually on Friday, the US ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Kim, said the maritime center would be part of ongoing efforts between the two countries to bolster security in the region. “As a friend and partner to Indonesia, the United States remains committed to supporting Indonesia’s important role in maintaining regional peace and security by fighting domestic and trans-national crimes,” he said, according to a statement from Bakamla, Indonesia’s maritime security agency. The training centre, located at the strategic meeting point of the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, will be run by Bakamla and houses classrooms, barracks and a launch pad, the agency said.

US Sends Papuan Students to Rhode Island

U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Indonesia Heather Variava on June 17 sent off 24 students from Papua province who received special autonomy scholarships from the Papua provincial government to study in the United States.

The event, which was attended by the Head of Human Resources Development Agency (BPSDM) of Papua Province Mr. Aryoko A.F. Rumaropen on behalf of Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, marked the continuation of the long-term collaboration between the University of Rhode Island (URI) and the Papua provincial government to provide opportunities for Papuan youth to pursue academic degrees at universities in the United States.