Getting through the center of aceh is a ...
Trip Start Sep 11, 2002
11Trip End Ongoing
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Sitting on the top of the mini bus through the highlands of Aceh is the only worthwhile part of this trip. This is only possible from about half way because the police are to afraid to enter the area. The reason they are afraid is not because this is a lawless crime riddled area it's because the locals don't recognize the predominately Javanese government as their government. Retaliation from the locals to what law is enforced by the police has driven them out of certain areas. As in Africa The locals have magic men, chiefs and live under a combination of tribal law and a more modern but more corrupt legal system.
The acehneese attitude is not what you would expect from what is touted as a fundamentalist militant Muslim one
The local attitude certainly lacks the irrational hatred necessary for a nation at war...
Having said that, if the bombings in Bali where carried out by AQ. It seems unlikely that they would have been possible without local militant support. Divide and conquer is a pretty well proven strategy. I find it difficult to understand the USs strategy of labeling all militant groups as terrorists and encouraging assisting or even pressuring governments into taking firmer action against them. For a country that has declared itself at war with terror it is doing a pretty good job of uniting the local freedom fighters with the more venomous international terrorist organizations. It is pretty ironic that a nation who funded any and all militant groups to oppose the spread of communism during the cold war, crippling many nations economies and in the more extreme cases indirectly killing of half countries populations, has now turned about face and declared war on all of them
This blanketing of all militant groups as terrorists may be a sure way for America to gather support from the governments who couldn't give a shit if America is attacked or those that stand to benefit from it, but this heavy handed approach is definitely not helping the international situation. How much of the collaboration between the freedom fighters and the international terrorists is due to Bushes heavy handed approach is unclear but using statements like "Crusade", "Good over evil" and "Your either with us or against us" hasn't helped the situation much either.
For a nation that seems to be permanently at war to protect it's way of life, the "freedom" it fought for and is so vocal about it has been quick to deny others of the same right.