Lessons worth learning: The Indonesian model (Arab Media & Society)

Issue 6, Fall 2008 What a difference a few thousand miles makes. I spent the summer in Indonesia, a vast and complex nation that is home to more Muslims than all Arab countries put together. When I lived there in the 1990s, covering the final years of the Suharto era, there were many parallels to […]

Dwifungsi: The Dual Function of Indonesia’s Military

Published in The Earth Times Magazine (March 2002) There is no issue more pivotal to the future of the terror war in Southeast Asia than the relationship between the U.S. and Indonesia’s generals. Nor is there any relationship fraught with more pitfalls. Under the armed forces’ policy of dwifungsi, the military is responsible for safeguarding […]

Ousted leader haunts Indonesian political scene Suharto still exercises power through his offspring (Washington Times)

Washington Times, July 3, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – Six weeks after he was ousted from power, former President Suharto continues to loom as a presence in the Indonesian political landscape. After three decades of one-man rule, Indonesia now resembles a political smorgasbord of emerging political parties representing everyone from students and Muslims to supporters of […]

Habibie Stumbles Through: First week tough for new Indonesian leader (San Francisco Chronicle))

June 1998 (JAKARTA) – Indonesia ended the first full week of the post-Suharto era a nation drunk on reform after three decades of authoritarian rule. The most striking thing was the sheer volume of political noise. The long-repressed voice of the Indonesian populous was suddenly released in a cacophony of debate, discussion and denunciation. Everyone, […]

Habibie to call for elections by 1999 Indonesian leader yields to pressure (Washington Times)

Washington Times, May 25, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – President Bachruddin Jusuf Habibie is ready to accept genuine economic reform and new parliamentary elections within a year to save the country from continued turmoil, a leading opposition leader said yesterday. Muslim leader Amien Rais disclosed the results of a private meeting with Mr. Habibie as five […]

Indonesians look past new leader Ally of Suharto’s seen as unlikely to bring reform (Washington Times)

Washington Times, May 22, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – Newly installed President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie led his country into the post-Suharto era yesterday with a vow to increase democratic freedoms, prompting a mix of relief and suspicion from riot-weary Indonesians. Few believed the close ally of Indonesia’s longtime ruler would be more than a transitional figure, […]

After 32 years, Suharto resigns No. 2 to serve out Indonesian’s term (Washington Times)

Washington Times, May 21, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – After more than three decades of unrivaled rule over the world’s fourth-most-populous nation, Indonesian President Suharto has resigned. “After truly considering the opinions of parliament and heads of factions in it, I decide to declare withdrawal as president of the republic of Indonesia,” a humbled Suharto said […]

Suharto should resign, ally says Leader prepares to address nation (Washington Times)

Washington Times, May 19, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – The influential speaker of parliament yesterday urged President Suharto to step down for the good of the nation, prompting cheers in the streets as citizens welcomed the crumbling of support for the 76-year-old ruler. Suharto appeared on television today to speak to the nation, but the address […]

Suharto won’t resign, pledges cabinet changes Indonesian troops gird for more riots (Washington Times)

Washington Times, May 18, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – In the long tradition of Third-World dictators under siege, President Suharto dug in over the weekend, ordering the military to crack down on unrest and offering only cosmetic changes in response to riots that made a charred skeleton of his capital. Three days after returning to Indonesia, […]

Troops take to streets as riots rage in Indonesian capital; Generals hem and haw over Suharto’s future (Washington Times)

Washington Times, May 15, 1998 JAKARTA, Indonesia – Widespread rioting and looting gripped the Indonesian capital for a third day yesterday as power brokers maneuvered behind the scenes to pave the way for the end of President Suharto’s 32-year reign. With 20 reported killed, the military ordered its troops to take over the streets. “Jakarta […]