A website claiming to represent the successor organisation to Indonesia’s Jema’ah Islamiyah terrorist network has claimed that the recent bombings of two luxury hotels in Jakarta was an attack against foreign intelligence and businesses operating in Indonesia. It also claimed the bombings in honor of JI leader Azhari, who was killed in a shoot-out with Indonesian security forces in 2005.
The website, claiming to represent an organisation called ‘Tandzim al Qo’idah Indonesia’ (Indonesian Organisational Base), represents a new trend in Indonesian Islamist terrorism, being the first such official claim of responsibility for a terrorist attack. Its ‘official statement’, dated 26 July 2009, was ‘signed’ by Indonesia’s most wanted man, Noordin Muhammad Top.
Tandzim al Qo’idah is a break-away faction of JI, following a split within JI over whether or not it should continue its bombing campaign. ‘Moderates’ within JI claimed that the bombing campaign killed mostly Indonesian Muslims and made it more difficult for the organisation to secure support for its goal of establishing an Islamic state. Radicals viewed the bombing campaign as a means of attacking ‘the enemy’ while at the same time sharpening the distinctions between true Muslims and non-believers.
The Tandzim al Qo’idah website is being viewed by regional terrorism analysts as likely to be authentic, given that it complies with the rhetoric and rationale of the JI splinter group. Some are also viewing the website as a troubling new development in Indonesia’s war on terrorism, given that the web site represents a call to arms to Indonesia’s Islamist minority.
The website appears to have gathered more than 60 followers since being launched last Sunday. While most post photos with what appear to be bogus names, one has used a photo of Osama bin Laden.
A major question raised by the Jakarta bombings, and now the website, is where their funding is coming from. Despite claiming a nominative link to Al Qaeda, this is an unlikely source, given Al Qaeda’s focus elsewhere. It is possible that related organisations, such as the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (Righteous Army), have funded the Indonesian Tandzim al Qo’idah. It is more likely, however, that the funds have been raised within Indonesia itself.
With no arrests so far in the hunt for Noordin Top and other members of Tandzim al Qo’idah, it appears that, as in 2002, Indonesian counter-terror police are having to start from the beginning in their search for the Jakarta hotel bombers.