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Jakarta Post

Rethinking the anti-terrorism strategy of Indonesia

  • Sylvia W. Laksmi Silalahi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 19, 2015   /  06:23 am

Terrorism is a specific terminology that refers to aggressive movements in society that are aimed at achieving its perpetual purpose by spreading the psychology of fear.

Bomb explosions, kidnappings for ransom and robberies are several activities conducted by terrorists both individually and in groups.

The significant damage and the hundreds of victims have shown that the '€œwar on terror'€ must be upheld globally. Terrorism is not only a matter of insecurity of one nation, but of all entities in the world.

New phenomena in the world recently reflect the rapid development of many radical organizations, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known as Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS). ISIS is one of the international aggressive terrorist networks that have also influenced many in the young generation in Indonesia to join its radical movement in Syria.

Based on those facts, it is a remarkable reason for the Indonesian government to intensify the policy concerning terrorism issues. It is also important to set a policy focusing on the analysis of terrorism itself.

A successful anti-terrorism strategy should identify the roots of terrorism as a national threat then decide the priority for action. The policy should also formulate some guiding principles in the short, medium and long term on both the national and international levels.

Those comprehensive courses of action are in the executive, judiciary and legislative realms. In the end, a synergistic policy will generate a unity of coordination and power concerning the prevention and eradication of terrorism.

In terms of anti-terrorism issues in Indonesia, we encounter not only assertive policies such as joint operation to combat terrorists or disarmament actions, but also the implementation of laws, including the Anti-Terrorism Law No. 15/2003 and Law No. 9/2013 regarding Prevention and Eradication of Anti-Terrorist Financing. These laws should be enforced simultaneously in order to optimally combat terrorist networks.

Anti-terrorism policy works very closely with anti-terrorism financing because money is the blood of terrorism itself. The strategy addresses the action to track the flow of terrorist funds in order to discover the interconnectivity of terrorist networks and to prevent future terrorist activities.

Since the Bali bombing in 2002, Indonesia has been developing an anti-terrorist financing policy in order to meet Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering recommendations. From 2012 to 2014, Indonesia was considered a jurisdiction with strategic Anti Money Laundering/Counter-Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies that posed a risk to the international financial system.

Within the last three years, Indonesia has been endeavoring to overcome the deficiencies by implementing Law No. 9/2013 and adopting without delay the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1267 and 1373 Sanction Lists.

Those actions are initial steps to establish a prudent anti-terrorist financing strategy that mandates the National Police (through its counterterrorism squad Densus 88) and the State Intelligence Agency as the leading sectors for investigations, the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the prominent policymakers and the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) as the financial intelligence authority.

Concretely, relevant agencies have successfully established a joint regulation that accommodates the actions.

As a focal point in anti-terrorist financing, the PPATK has a significant role in monitoring suspicious transactions reported by financial service providers, observing the International Funds Transfer Instructions (IFTIs), generating financial intelligence analysis and disseminating confidential information to support criminal investigations.

Moreover, the PPATK works closely with relevant agencies in Indonesia and with its counterparts globally. The main purposes in tracking the suspicious transactions conducted by terrorists are to determine the flow of funds, the mobilization of groups, the purposes of transactions, the operational spots and the development of alleged terrorist networks both domestically and overseas.

Recently, much research on terrorism focused on the way to discover terrorists and their networks. The new paradigm concerning the anti-terrorist financing policy leads us to investigate the money trail connections that are used by suspected terrorists, such as through informal money remittance, money service providers and banking instruments.

The terrorists might never know who the fund raisers are and whether the fund raisers are not terrorists themselves. Therefore, the investigation into the money flow is more significant than the way of tracking the offenders.

The core functions of the PPATK would benefit the ongoing investigation process conducted by the investigators and the intelligence authorities to optimize preliminary detection of potential terrorist networks and their movements that threaten our national security. As a result, the tactical cooperation among those strategic institutions would support robust anti-terrorist financing policy, thus reinforce a successful anti-terrorism regime in Indonesia.

The writer is a researcher focusing on financing terrorism, who holds master'€™s degree in terrorism studies from University of Indonesia, Jakarta.

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