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Home Worldwide Indonesia March, 2011 Retired Generals Using Islamic…
Retired Generals Using Islamic Groups in Attempt to Topple President: Report
Jakarta Globe, Indonesia
Retired Generals Using Islamic Groups in Attempt to Topple President: Report
March 22, 2011

Al Jazeera is reporting that “senior retired generals” are supporting the Islamic Defenders Front and other hard-line groups to incite religious violence and overthrow Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“The generals are using the groups in their efforts to topple President Yudhoyono because they feel he is too weak and too reformist,” said Al Jazeera correspondent Step Vassen in the report.

Al Jazeera acknowledged that though the claims that certain hard-line groups had powerful backing were not new, “this can now be confirmed for the first time.”

“This revelation shows that behind religious violence, a dangerous political power play is happening.”

Al Jazeera quoted Chep Hernawan, leader of the Islamic Reform Movement (Garis), as saying that “the generals are fed up with the president’s lies.”

Chep said the generals had previously attempted to use a number of issues, including corruption, to foment a backlash against the president, “but they failed.”

“Now they are using the Ahmadiyah issue and it works,” he said, referring to the Islamic sect currently being persecuted by the mainstream Muslim majority.

“The generals say Ahmadiyah has to be disbanded or we’ll have a revolution.”

Chep told the cable news channel that he was approached by a retired three-star general in January.

“He told me that we should keep fighting a jihad, we should not back down so the liar can be toppled.”

In December last year, the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace named Garis as one of seven radical Muslim groups working behind the scenes to shore up their support by forging political alliances and embracing more liberal groups and moderate clerics.

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), allegedly involved in a number of high-profile, well-organized religious attacks, was another of the seven groups.

Retired Army Chief Gen. Tyasno Sudarto, a staunch government critic, told Al Jezeera about his support for the groups that he said aimed to topple Yudhoyono in a “revolution.”

“We work together to enlighten each other. Our angle is different. They fight in the name of Islam, we use national politics but we have a common goal, which is change. We want to save our country, not destroy it. The revolution should be peaceful, not anarchist or bloody.”

Al Jazeera cited a Web site that detailed a proposed cabinet line-up for the so-called Islamic government, which included Tyasno.

Muhammad Al Khaththath, secretary general of the Islamic People’s Forum (FUI), a leader of the anti-Ahmadiyah protests, said he was one of those that had drafted the line-up.

He also said he had met with generals who want to overthrow the government. “I won’t say anything more,” he said.

Al Jazeera said experts said that the chances Yudhoyono being toppled “were slim.”

“But with former generals supporting hard-line groups, the battle to end religious violence seems hard to win.”

Copyright 2010 The Jakarta Globe
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