Islamic Radicals Seek a Spectacular SlaughterFebruary 17, 2007: Police and troops on Sulawesi were put on high alert, because military intelligence had picked up information indicating that Islamic radicals from all over Indonesia were moving to Sulawesi in an attempt to launch a spectacular attack on local Christians. Australia has warned its citizens to stay away from Central Sulawesi, where most of the violence tends to take place. To make matters worse, the Christians are ready to strike back if the Islamic terrorists go after them again. Over the last few years, some 2,000 people have died in religious strife on Sulawesi. The Islamic radicals need a spectacular operation to revive declining enthusiasm for the cause (of global Islamic conquest).
February 16, 2007: Six warships have been sent to "sand mining" areas (small islands where the sand is put on boats and shipped to other countries for making concrete and other construction uses), to enforce a new ban on sand exports. The ban is mainly directed against Singapore, which is refusing to extradite Indonesians wanted on corruption charges. The accused stole hundreds of millions of dollars, and can thus afford the best lawyers, publicists and influence peddlers. That works even in Singapore, one of the least corrupt places on the planet.
February 14, 2007: In Papua, police and soldiers got into an argument, and a policeman was shot dead. Such clashes have been common since 1999, when army control of the police force was removed. The soldiers are having a hard time getting used to dealing with cops who can now arrest them, or at least try to.
February 10, 2007: The UN is passing the hat, trying to raise the money, and people, to extend the East Timor peacekeeping force. The 1,800 peacekeepers are mostly police, and they are dealing with a population of about a million. But fifteen percent of the population are refugees, and most of the adults are unemployed, and dependent on UN food aid to live. Thus people have plenty of time to devote to street gangs, many of which are politically motivated. The presidential elections are on April 9, and the UN would like to have more troops or police on hand to deal with the usual (for East Timor) election violence. The current peacekeeping operation expires on February 25, and the UN is seeking the votes, and money, to extend that for a year. But many countries are getting tired of paying to police places like East Timor, that never seem able to care for themselves.