Indonesia: How will it adapt counterterrorism strategy?

A recent spate of attacks has shown lapses in the nation's ability to prevent terrorism. How it steps up its strategy will have consequences at home and abroad.

Tatan Syuflana/AP
At a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Indonesian National Police spokesmen hold wanted posters of militants who are suspected to be involved in recent Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings.

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As Indonesia reels in the wake of a spate of terrorist activity and new evidence emerges of a global dimension to the archipelago's terrorist groups, some are questioning how the nation will step up its counterterrorism strategy to face the growing threat.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, has a remarkable track record of counterterrorism. Its police force has pioneered a model of arresting and then flipping many terrorism suspects, turning them from bomb-makers to informants. And the majority of the country's 235 million people are against violence.

But a foiled plot to assassinate the Indonesian prime minister, the simultaneous bombings of Western hotels in the capital, and a failed attempt to capture Southeast Asia's top terrorism suspect suggest a series of security lapses. And evidence has emerged that financing for terrorist operations in Indonesia is possibly coming from as far away as Saudi Arabia, Agence France-Presse reports.

That's left some wondering if Indonesia has been resting on its laurels. How it adapts its counterterrorism strategy has far-ranging implications at home and abroad and there are suggestions that Indonesia should take a cue from its neighbors, reports The Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper:

A shootout last week between police and militants has also led to questions about Indonesia's once vaunted deradicalization program. One of the militants killed, Air Setyawan, was a graduate of the program. But after word spread that he was working for the police, he was alienated from his community, and turned back to militancy, according to Channel News Asia, a Singapore-based news organization.

Perhaps most troubling, Indonesia's militancy problems are not merely home grown, The Jakarta Post reports:

Some improvements might be more mundane, but critical, as one concerned citizen writes in The Jakarta Post in reaction to the attacks that targeted Western-style luxury hotels in Jakarta.

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