Sunday, January 23, 2005

Foreign troops in Indonesia

Interesting bit of news found on www.mcot.org:
Indonesia need not be too suspicious about foreign troops in Nangroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) because they are there to assist the government and nation in overcoming the problems caused by the recent natural disaster, a cabinet minister said.

"I think we should not let our suspicions go to the extent of discrediting them. About their activities which according to certain quarters are beyond humanitarian motives, let us leave this matter to the experts," Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Alwi Shihab said in Banda Aceh when contacted from Jakarta on Saturday.
Sounds sensible enough.I don't understand what this next bit means though:
He said, if the foreign military personnel really had an agenda not in keeping with humanitarian activities, it was better not to consider it skeptically.
Anyway, this seems to be part of what's causing the concern in Jakarta:
Earlier, Syamsir Siregar, chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), reminded Indonesian authorities to increase their alertness because the foreign military had other objectives beside helping to alleviate the tsunami victims' suffering. He said foreign forces in NAD had made three-dimension photos of the province.
Let's hope this turns out to be a false alarm. Elsewhere, we read on news.au.com that:
SOME tsunami survivors in Indonesia's cramped refugee camps do not want foreign volunteers, including US forces, to leave, fearing their government would not be able to relieve their deep suffering without help.
(Read the whole thing.) Probably true. But as the USMC office in this previous post noted, even the US military may not exactly be the best people for the next phase--rebuilding.

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