Indonesia Aims at Aceh, Again

Neither side ever lived up to the earlier peace pact, and now Jakarta's army is storming back, vowing to exterminate the rebels

Indonesia's long-awaited peace accord with the ancient sultantate of Aceh looked like a nonstarter from the moment it was signed on December 9, 2002. Even then, the terms of the agreement were a stretch: The 5,000 guerrillas of the Free Aceh Movement (known by its Indonesian acronym, GAM), would lay down their few rifles and grenades, while the distant Jakarta government would surrender control over Aceh's oil and gas reserves. Centuries of hostility between Jakarta and Aceh, a semi-autonomous state on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, would cease miraculously.

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