Mumbai-Style Plot Foiled in Indonesia

Monday, 17 May 2010 10:02 AM

By Steve Emerson

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Indonesian police say they have foiled a plot to assassinate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other top officials, murder foreigners, and declare an Islamic state in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The attack focused on the Aug. 17 Independence Day celebration, which would be attended by the leading Indonesian politicians and foreign dignitaries.

"They were confident that all state officials and dignitaries would be there," national police chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri told reporters. "Killing all the state officials would have accelerated the transition from a democracy to a state controlled by Islamic Shariah law."

This news also comes just weeks before President Obama's planned visit in June, which had been postponed from earlier this year.

It also follows a crackdown on the al-Qaida-inspired terrorist organization, al-Qaida in Aceh, in the rebellious province of Aceh. Police shut down a training camp run by the group in February.

Indonesia has been fighting a running battle with al-Qaida-linked militants since the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed 202 people in a nightclub frequented by Westerners.

The successful police operation underscores a number of new trends in Indonesian radicalism.

Terrorism expert Al Chaidar noted a transition from the use of difficult-to-obtain explosives toward the use of military-style training, similar to the Mumbai attacks.

Aceh, a former haven of independence-seeking rebels, is no longer the pacified province which was forced to sign a peace treaty in 2005 following that year's devastating tsunami. Instead, it has transitioned to a front for militants dedicated to overthrowing Indonesia's democracy and replacing it with Shariah over all of Indonesia.

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