|=Subject: SCMP: Analysis: E Timor integration the
key to army's fortunes
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 09:06:08 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
South China Morning Post Saturday, May 1, 1999
East Timor integration the key to army's fortunes
ANALYSIS by Vaudine England in Jakarta
The defiance of East Timor's pro-integration militias against any United Nations presence in the territory signifies the Indonesian armed forces' determination not to let East Timor achieve independence.
"If East Timor was let go, it would discredit the whole armed forces completely," Marzuki Darusman, head of Indonesia's National Human Rights Commission, said yesterday.
Mr Darusman, who is also a leading member of the ruling Golkar party, admitted it was virtually impossible to prove that Indonesia's military (Abri) was directly supporting and encouraging the violence unleashed by para-military groups in East Timor.
But, he said, "there is no sense in denying it". "Of course Abri could stop the militias", he said. "So if the militias are against a United Nations presence, then Abri is against the UN."
Talks between East Timor's former colonial ruler Portugal and Indonesia are being held under UN auspices in New York. A key subject is how to manage a promised ballot of the East Timorese people over their future.
The ballot is tentatively set for August 8, but recent violence in East Timor - including the massacres of scores of civilians in Liquica and in the capital Dili - have raised serious security concerns.
For members of Abri, for whom East Timor is described as "their Vietnam", the granting of autonomy or independence to a territory which it has allegedly controlled for 23 years would be a stunning blow.
"Abri is fighting for political survival in this country," said Mr Darusman, referring to the popular demand that the military be excluded from politics once and for all.
"If East Timor was let go, it would open up a chain of reactions.
"Then you could easily shunt Abri aside from politics. It's countdown time for them."