Widely viewed as a passive and ineffectual leader, Megawati has failed to bring about much-needed and popularly supported military reform, including civilian government control over the military, transparency of the military's budget and the dismantling of its "shadow government" territorial command structure throughout Indonesia. Her administration has also failed to challenge the military's impunity with respect to severe and widespread human rights violations in Aceh, West Papua, East Timor and elsewhere. Although she has made overtures to East Timor, her administration has refused to cooperate with the UN-mandated Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor. Under her watch in December 2003, Indonesian forces bombed a disputed island near East Timor's Oecussi enclave.
Retired Lieutenant General SBY became coordinating minister for politics and security affairs in August 2000, a post he held until he resigned in March 2004 from Megawati's cabinet to run for president.
On behalf of Megawati's government, Yudhoyono oversaw the deployment of tens of thousands of troops in Aceh, despite the cease-fire then in place. When martial law was declared in Aceh in May 2003, Indonesia launched its largest military operation since the invasion of East Timor in 1975. More than 2000 have been killed since then, most of them civilians.
Although widely viewed as a reformer, the Western-educated SBY spent nearly his entire career in the military and oversaw Megawati's repressive policies in Aceh and West Papua. He was armed forces (TNI) commander General Wiranto's top deputy in 1999, when Indonesian troops leveled East Timor after it voted overwhelmingly for independence.
SBY has always been a stalwart defender of the TNI against allegations of human rights violations, whether in Aceh, West Papua or East Timor. In a January 2004 speech, he reassured military hardliners by saying, "Democracy, human rights, concern for the environment and other concepts being promoted by Western countries are all good, but they cannot become absolute goals because pursuing them as such will not be good for the country."
In 1999, Yudhoyono was responsible for all territorial commands as the TNI's chief of territorial affairs and reported directly to Wiranto. In a June 1999 meeting with a ranking Australian military official, he dismissed allegations of TNI complicity in ongoing violence in East Timor. After Indonesia agreed to withdraw from East Timor, SBY minimized the military's crimes there, telling reporters "I am worried of opinion being formed in the international community that what happened in East Timor is a great human tragedy, ethnic cleansing or a large-scale crime, when in reality it is not."
SBY took part in the invasion of East Timor in 1975, serving several tours there in the 1980s, including one as a battalion commander.
Yudhoyono was chief of staff of the Jakarta regional command when security forces and their proxies attacked the offices of the Indonesian Democratic Party at a time when it was chaired by Megawati. She has since failed to support or order a government investigation into the 1996 assault which left at least five dead.
SBY was trained in the U.S. -- at Fort Benning, GA and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
see ETAN's U.S.-Indonesia Military Assistance page
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