Sid Harta Publishers
Defense & Foreign Affairs [Washington D.C.]
Volume XXIII, No. 98
Analysis. Staff Report. A new book by veteran intelligence officer and author Kerry Collison hasemerged as essential reading for any analyst or official attempting to make comprehensible the complex, and often contradictory, web of historicalfactors and relationships which led to the two sets ofterrorist bombings in Bali, Indonesia, in 2002 and2005, and the array of terrorist and nationalist unconventional warfare undertakings in Indonesia and across South-East Asia over the past few decades. The study makes clear that Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) and itsrelated organizations, such as Laskar Jihad (LJ) andAbu Sayyaf, are far from finished in their mission, or their relationship with the global al-Qaida movement,and remain sustained by many aspects of the nationalist and economic societies they seek todestroy.
The book, Crescent Moon Rising, was, like a number of Collison's books, written as a "fact-based politicalthriller" to enable the author to get around Indonesia's delicate libel laws as well as to placeall the historical facts into a narrative matrix which allows the broad sweep of cultures, historical developments, and characters within a framework where the events, and people, start to make sense.
For the professional intelligence reader, the fictional narrative used to bind the historical data into a context does not get in the way of Collison's case presentation, but makes it easy reading and a way to get analysts - even those only marginally familiar with Indonesian history and politics - into a frame of reference which makes the topic intelligible. Collison has decades of experience in Indonesia, and knows virtually all of the key players on all sides of the Indonesian military and intelligence spectrum, for example. This earlier had made him perhaps the first commentator to highlight the fact that current Indonesian Pres. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would rise to the national leadership.
Among the things which Collison highlights are:
Collison does not neglect the linkages of the groups into Afghanistan and Chechnya, noting, quite apartfrom the concerns over the acquisition by Islamist-jihadist groups related to Osama bin Laden of "suitcase" nuclear weapons, the prospect and probability that the South-East Asian operations have acquired former Soviet Radio Thermal Generators(RTGs), which could be employed as substantial-scale "dirty" bombs.
Given the current overall climate of the US-led "waron terror", and the consequent need to create a viable and unified Indonesia (as far as the US and Australiaare concerned), and the longer-term Chinese strategic desire to see a break-up of a Western-oriented Indonesia controlling both strategic resources andstrategic waterways critical to Chinese interests,Collison's book is essential reading for analysts andpolicy officials attempting to understand thesituation. Moreover, the book brings into perspectivethe factors which lead to state sponsorship of, or acquiescence to, many aspects of terrorism.
At a time when Australians are wavering in support of a proposed US led invasion of Iraq, more than six hundred US Marines rotating on R & R in Bali suddenly disappear; then, Kuta erupts in a fireball and Australia falls into line with America. Read more about “Crescent Moon Rising - The Bali Bombings”