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Jakarta Post

TNI chief strikes alarmist tone on proxy war

  • Nani Afrida

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, December 15 2015 | 05:14 pm

Indonesian Military ( TNI ) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo has warned that Indonesia could be the site of proxy wars between major powers aimed at controlling the country'€™s natural resources.

'€œThere are many ways that foreign countries could control our natural resources, one of the strategies is by using a proxy war. We can already sense that proxy war is creeping in today and we should be on the alert because it could be on its way,'€ Gatot said in Makassar, South Sulawesi, over the weekend.

A proxy war is a war instigated by a major power but in which it does not itself participates. It uses other governments and agents, including non-state actors to do the fighting. It can involve countries fighting their opponent'€™s allies, or assisting their allies in fighting their opponent.

Gatot said that the signs of a proxy war could already be felt.

'€œ[The strategy of proxy war] includes control of the media in Indonesia. The media engineers conflict between the military and police or between political parties, and instigates societal and cultural change. [There is also] drug smuggling, which has been going on for a long time,'€ he said.

Gatot said that Indonesia could easily prevent the outbreak of a proxy war as it already had the solution.

'€œWe have Pancasila and the communal spirit [gotong royong]. We should revive those values,'€ he said.

According to Gatot, currently around the world countries are scrambling to get their hands on dwindling natural resources, especially energy.

He claimed that the increased use of fuel between 2007 and 2009 had triggered skyrocketing costs of food by at least 75 percent.

'€œIt is predicted that with the depletion of fossil-based energy resources, in the future conflict will be more about controlling food resources, clean water, and bio energy, all of which comes from areas on the equator,'€ Gatot said.

The TNI commander said that three key regions on the equator; Indonesia, Central Africa, and Central America, could be targeted by major powers hungry for resources.

'€œSo Indonesia would be a center for energy resources, a food basket and source of clean water. It would be a future target for the agents of foreign countries that don'€™t have those kind of luxuries,'€ Gatot said.

Gatot has been preoccupied with the concept of proxy war for a while.

While serving as the Army chief of staff, Gatot said that he was convinced that Timor Leste seceded from Indonesia as a result of a proxy war waged to control the oil field in the Timor Gap.

Gatot also claimed that the major street protests and rallies that led to mass layoffs among 20 oil palm plantations managed by Indonesians were also part of a proxy war, which was directed at shutting down the operations of many Indonesian-controlled palm oil plantations, so that they could then be sold off to foreign companies.

He has also used the term '€œproxy war'€ quite liberally in dialogues with university students and the country'€™s youth.

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