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PacNet #22 – Strides in Aceh, Strides in Indonesia

There is a joke circulating around Jakarta these days. It goes like this: Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, represented the Old Order; the next president, Suharto, named his government the New Order; post-crisis president Habibie’s government had No Order; and current president Wahid’s government is Out of Order. When one looks around the Indonesia, it is not difficult to understand the joke. Riots plague Jakarta; President Wahid, his cabinet, and the national parliament are too busy engaging in political machinations to focus on creating a sensible policy agenda; the economy shows few signs of resurrection; the currency lost nearly 10% of its value last week alone; and a religious battle seems to be looming in the eastern Moluccan Islands where at least 2,000 members of the radical Muslim organization, Lashkar Jihad, have made their way in recent weeks.