In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Papua
  • Muridan S. Widjojo (bio)

In 2012 the Government of Indonesia failed in dealing with the sporadic attacks by the armed resistance groups called the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka [opm])–National Liberation Army (Tentara Pembebasan Nasional [tpn]) and other “unknown persons.” As far as their responsibility for this failure is concerned, the Indonesian government sometimes showed its frustration by blaming difficult geographical conditions, limited numbers of personnel, and lack of equipment. Even though the challenges were greater this year, the security policy of the government was similar to that of 2011 and did not succeed in coping with the complex reality. In general, it did not demonstrate to the public that the state was present and that laws were being enforced justly. Compared to 2011 (38 attacks resulting in 52 deaths and 573 injured), 2012 saw a higher number of violent cases (67 instances resulting in 45 deaths and 120 injured). The number of casualties during 2012 was lower than in the previous year only because 2011 saw three communal clashes during the local election in Puncak in which casualties were high (35 dead and about 500 injured).

In line with the government’s security policy, the political policy during 2012 looked stagnant on the surface. The government tried to maintain an image that Papua was under control. Disturbances were framed as minor and insignificant. The real policy, hidden from the public and civil society, was implemented behind the scenes. Intelligence units associated with the military/police/civil government bodies as well as formal intelligence bodies such as Badan Intelijen Negara (bin, the State Intelligence Agency) and Badan Intelijen Strategis (bais, the Armed Forces Strategic Intelligence Agency) played a dominant role. But among these intelligence units there is a lack of coordination, and rivalries are rampant. The over-arching goal of “defending the sovereignty of Indonesia” is not formulated in a clear policy but rather emerges in reactionary and ad hoc ways.

This closed political policy reflects the dominance of old political players within the central government bureaucracy, who were mostly high officers recruited from the army. These officials tend to look down on Papuans. The situation is worsened by a deep mutual distrust between the government and the people of Papua. The resulting policy has constructed a political configuration overwhelmed by intrigue, rumor, suspicion, and [End Page 394] character assassination among political factions, nongovernmental organization activists, journalists, and even security officers and tpn/opm fighters. Mutual mistrust and fear, which have grown for so long, continued to spread steadily in 2012.

For its part, the tpn/opm retained its usual pattern of movement in 2012, but the organization also produced a new group and became more active in hunting for weapons from the police and the military. The Paniai and Puncak Jaya regions were more dynamic, while the Kerom group, led by Lambert Pekikir, was quieter due to the pressure being applied by a military operation. The Jayapura group shrank, as its leader, Danny Kogoya, has been detained since September 2012, while a new fighting spot emerged in Lanny Jaya (Tiom). The latest trend shows that the action locus and guerilla fighters are concentrated mostly in the highlands—areas where the police and army presence is growing. The tpn/opm sees these police officers and soldiers as targets, ambushing them when possible to confiscate weapons and to increase their reputations.

The political will of the government to employ peaceful means of solving the Papua conflict appeared more clearly at the end of 2011 and during the early part of 2012. On 9 November 2011 and again on 2 February 2012, President Yudhoyono stated that the government was prepared to hold open dialogue with Papuan leaders. However, the dialogue did not materialize in 2012. The Unit for Acceleration of Development in Papua and (West) Papua Barat (up4b) that the president established in September 2011 only focused on social and economic issues. What the special envoys of the president had arranged with Papuan leaders in Papua in 2011 in terms of dialogue was not followed up by the president himself. The old political players, under the umbrella of the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs...