Ten questions about East Timor for which we need answers

Recommended Citation

"Ten questions about East Timor for which we need answers", APSNet Policy Forum, June 08, 2006, https://nautilus.org/apsnet/0618a-tanter-html/

Ten questions about East Timor for which we need answers

Richard Tanter *

  1. Introduction
  2. Essay – Ten questions about East Timor for which we need answers
  3. Sepuluh Pertanyaan Mengenai Timor Leste – Indonesian translation by Rachman Jafar
  4. Nautilus invites your response


Richard Tanter, Acting Director of Nautilus Institute at RMIT, argues that since

“The dominant characteristic of the coverage of East Timor in the past two weeks has been utter confusion, both inside and outside the country, this is really a time for a little humility amongst the foreign pundits and experts.”

Tanter asks “ten questions to which we need some substantial answers and preferably some serious debate.”

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. Readers should note that Nautilus seeks a diversity of views and opinions on contentious topics in order to identify common ground.

Essay – Ten questions about East Timor for which we need answers *

The dominant characteristic of the coverage of East Timor in the past two weeks has been utter confusion, both inside and outside the country. The simple and clear narrative of the long hard decades leading up to September 1999 of good Timorese seeking self-determination and bad Indonesian military colonialists has been replaced by doubt and confusion amongst both Timorese and outside observers. Even well-informed foreign observers admitted their uncertainty about what was actually happening and why – though many of less well informed operated under no such restraint, thereby adding to the confusion.

The violent events in East Timor in the past two weeks should not really have been a surprise. There had been little explicit warning in the foreign press prior to the army mutiny two months ago. Most critical commentary outside the country to that date concentrated on just two issues – the tensions between justice and reconciliation over the crimes of the Indonesian military and their Timorese militias leading up to independence, and the protracted and unhappy negotiations between the newly independent country and Australia over the division of oil and gas revenues from the Timor Sea fields.

Yet over the past half year or more disturbing signs had been seeping through the generally benign but uninforming portrayal of post-independence Timor Leste. Two were particularly distressing. The first was the 2006 Human Development Report for Timor Leste from the United Nations Development Program [1], showing that that the poorest country in a poor region was becoming markedly poorer and more desperate, with almost every indicator of health and collective well-being in decline. After two and a half decades of the depredations of Indonesian military colonialism, this was a bitter pill. The second signal, with even worse connotations, was a report in April by Human Rights Watch that carefully documented the use of torture and serious mistreatment of detainees by East Timorese police. [2]

Even without more detailed knowledge, these were enough to set off alarms that the hard-fought for self-determination was no more than a necessary condition for peace and human security in East Timor, and that there was more to the explanation of the misery of many thousands of people than the continuing antipathy of the Indonesian military and the arrogance and short-sightedness of the Australian government in the oil negotiations, important as they undoubtedly were.

This is a moment when we need to take stock, to admit uncertainty, and carefully explore the underlying dynamics of a situation that is as complex as it is dangerous. The media are full of plenty of instant diagnoses, some from the usual suspects (“failed states” and “Australian coup d’ etat” are two popular lines that we hear a lot of). But this is really a time for a little humility amongst the foreign pundits and experts.

Here are ten questions to which we need some substantial answers and preferably some serious debate.

  1. What inhibited the Alkatiri administration from effectively addressing the army rebellion and the antagonisms between the army and the police? Why were the divisive recruiting policies of the army and the police allowed to take root?

    The first public signs of rebellion were many months ago. Insiders must have been aware of severe distress long before that. Nothing about control of armed force in small weak states should ever be allowed to drift. The only explanations offered to date have been either in terms of personalities, both inside the Council of Ministers and within the armed forces (FDTL) and the police (PNTL), or in overly simple terms of “ethnicity” and region. The army recruited mainly ex-Falantil guerrilla fighters, by default of their survival, mostly from the east of the country. The police, disproportionately from the west, allowed in former members of the Indonesian police force, and according to some, substantial numbers of former militia. But the key question is not about the policies, but why the Council of Ministers could not or would not reverse these dynamics. To answer that, we need much more than just caricatures of “bad Alkatiri, good Gusmao”. To some degree these policies were in place by UNTAET before the transition to independence, but the question still remains as to why sophisticated and perceptive political figures such as Mari Alkatiri and Jose Ramos Horta were unable to rein in the Ministers of Defence (Roque Rodrigues) and Interior (Rogerio Lobato), and the FDTL’s chief, Major-General Taur Matan Ruak. For this we need a clearer account of the politics of the administration, and not simple abuse about “failing states”.

  2. What have been the key political dynamics in East Timor post-independence?

    Remarkably little informed analysis has been available about the politics of East Timor since the August 2001 parliamentary elections and the subsequent presidential election in April 2002. As a result of the 2001 elections, Fretilin holds 55 out of 88 seats in the parliament, and its leader Mari Alkatiri is prime minister. Much has been made by foreign commentators of Alkatiri’s unpopularity, but until the elections scheduled for later this year or early next year, this is untested. More seriously, here in Australia we have seen little careful analysis of the real state of Fretilin, the role played by the party in Alkatiri’s administration, and the popularity and positions of the more substantial opposition parties, such as the Democratic party.

    The less than democratic conduct of the recent Fretilin Congress did not help matters either internally or externally, leaving the party more vulnerable to charges of favouritism and collusion and cover-up of the Council of Ministers’ ineffectiveness.

    Apart from Helen Hill’s recent careful but brief review of the actual characteristics and achievements of Alkatiri’s policy approach [3], there has been almost no serious Australian media coverage of policy debates in East Timor in recent years, apart from the question of oil and gas negotiations, questions of language policy, and the reconciliation vs. justice for those accused of war crimes.

    Fundamental issues about livelihood, poverty, health, the distribution of the benefits of oil and gas revenues to the people of the country, and the actual effects of government budget and foreign aid to the communities and infrastructure of the country – all of which are matters of great debate inside East Timor and some careful analysis in Timorese and outside policy circles – have been left unreported in the wider media.

  3. Is the framework of “ethnic tensions” and “easterners vs. westerners” the real key to the current political dynamics, or is there some other organising factor behind the riots?

    Long-time observers of East Timorese society and politics are both sceptical and surprised about the deep salience of this divide. This is an old split that appeared to lose much of its salience during the war of resistance against a common enemy. Helen Hill has argued that marriage patterns show a much more complex, nuanced reality. [4] Moreover, as she has pointed out, most political organisations in fact span this “divide”, with members from both regions. And whatever the case, the lazy use of “ethnic tensions” is surely inappropriate in such an ethnically diverse country. If this is a divide, real or manufactured, it is around matters of regional benefit and deprivation.

    Yet the army and police divisions have certainly expressed themselves in part along this fault line. The accretion in the police of numbers of people from the western part of the country who had closer relations with the Indonesian occupiers show that it is not simply a matter of geography or “ethnicity”. Rather “east/west” became to some extent at least a reflection of the unfinished business of the reconciliation vs. justice debate, and the politics of patronage. This is not at all to say the division is a mirage, but rather we need to look a lot harder at how regional division has overlaid other lines of conflict with nothing to do with region.

    More importantly, we have almost no informed reports on the political dynamics of the uses and promotion of this division either within the army and the police or amongst the well-organised rioters. “Conflict entrepreneurs” is a term well suited to those who are exploiting confused situations like this. We know that text messages on mobile phones – some based on honest fears, some intended to manufacture fear based on false information – were skilfully used to cause terror, confusion and flight. We also know that rioters and teams of young men targeting particular individuals – to burn houses, loot government departments and agencies, intimidate and in some cases to murder – have been coordinated by mobile phone. Criminal gangs have also used mobile phones to coordinate lootings. The key question is who was coordinating these destabilising political actions? Is more than one elite group using such tactics? Who is coordinating with whom? It appears to be a complex situation with more than one set of oppositions as well as different opportunists involved.

  4. What does Australia know about the dynamics of violence in East Timor this time?

    While the Australian media has reported the violence in terms of roaming bands of young men and odd groups of police and army personnel, divided along ‘east/west” lines, the Australian government certainly knows that this media picture of aimless and apparently spontaneous violence is not correct. Australian intelligence organisations – especially our electronic intelligence collection agency, the Defence Signals Division – have the means to catch, decrypt and analyse all mobile phone and radio conversations in East Timor. Undoubtedly the Australian Secret Intelligence Service would have retained some of its earlier capacities in East Timor. This is precisely what DSD did in 1999 and what gave InterFET such a decisive advantage over the Indonesian military and its militia. As in 1999, the Australian government would have had access to advance warning that groups were planning some kinds of political intervention. In their meeting this week, Mr Downer appeared to have intimated to President Gusmao that Australia had such information on current planning of riots. The key questions then are what did the Australian government know through its intelligence sources in the run up to the eruption of violence, and with whom did it share this knowledge? In 1999 the Australian government kept its considerable forewarning of the conflagration being planned by the TNI to come from its own citizens, from its American ally, and of course, from the people of East Timor about to be its victims.

  5. Are there external factors at work – Australian or Indonesian?

    Those in Australia looking for evidence of an “Australian coup” will be convinced by the likes of the Australian’s Greg Sheridan:

    “Certainly if Alkatiri remains Prime Minister of East Timor, this is a shocking indictment of Australian impotence. If you cannot translate the leverage of 1300 troops, 50 policemen, hundreds of support personnel, buckets of aid and a critical international rescue mission into enough influence to get rid of a disastrous Marxist Prime Minister, then you are just not very skilled in the arts of influence, tutelage, sponsorship and, ultimately, promoting the national interest.” [5]

    Undoubtedly the Australian government would prefer someone other than the economic nationalist Alkatiri to lead East Timor. The real question is whether such a preference would lead it to support the murder and mayhem of the present eruption, and the certain long run destabilisation of Timorese politics that would now ensue. On balance, the answer is no. Alkatiri and Fretilin were due to face an election in a matter of months in any case. Australian bullying and arrogance is undoubtedly the order of the day, but not, in this case, coup-making.

    On the other hand, given the swaggering stance of the Australian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, it is not surprising that, as Loro Horta said:

    “Many members of the Dili government are far more concerned over Australian indentations than they are over Jakarta’s. Many believe that Australia and the U.S. are to some extent behind the crisis.” [6]

    While Horta regards this notion as bizarre, the front page blusterings of the Sheridan camp feed the anxiety, and would appear to reflect some strands of Australian government thinking – thus at the very least complicating the task of the ADF and AFP personnel on the ground.

    A more serious question has to be asked about Indonesian intervention – or more precisely, intervention by particular groups in Indonesia. When Mari Alkatiri was reported – incorrectly – as having accused Indonesia of being behind the riots, the Indonesian Foreign Minister denied any such intervention, and his denial should be taken seriously. But that does not mean taking it at face value. Much happens in the Indonesian state that is no longer under the control of the president and his advisors. In particular, recent events in Papua have demonstrated that the president’s pro-autonomy policy in Papua is being actively undermined by the military, the most important intelligence agency and by the Ministry of the Interior. [7] That is not to say that there is any proof that any of these organisations – or civil society organisations linked to them – have been involved in East Timor, but it certainly means that the Foreign Minister’s denial, honourable in intent though it may have been, is not the last word on the matter. Moreover since the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975 began with intelligence agencies’ destabilisation of Timorese politics, history leads us to err on the side of caution, and with an eye for links at one remove from the immediate action.

    Possible Indonesian involvement in at least three elements of the present violence and chaos need to be examined carefully. The first is the two attacks on repositories of records of investigations and testimonies about the crimes of the 1975-1999 period, both Indonesian and Timorese. The UN Serious Crimes Unit office was looted, with files relating to Indonesian army officers criminal actions stolen, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Secretariat ( CAVR) building was attacked by about 100 armed men. There are no copies of the CAVR materials held outside East Timor.

    The second issue that needs careful examination for any trace of Indonesian links – official or otherwise – is the behaviour of the East Timorese police. Accused by Human Rights Watch of illegal detention and torture, the ongoing links of senior police who began their careers in the Indonesian police needs careful scrutiny – especially in the “east-west” context, and the abandonment of court actions for past crimes in favour of reconciliation.

    The third issue is both the most important and the most difficult to assess: which groups are behind the organised rioting, looting, and killing of the past two weeks. This was Alkatiri’s actual question. Have militia connections no salience? Have cross-border linkages beyond matters of kinship no relevance? Have the intrigues of East Timorese politics no connection to the ongoing activities of Indonesian-based former militia leaders with longstanding Indonesian intelligence links such as Eurico Guterres? Most importantly, the focus must be on the organization of the chaos – whether the East Timorese formateurs of violence are singular or multiple, and whether they act entirely without outside links.

    These are questions that have to be asked, and it is in the interests of democrats in East Timor, Indonesia, and Australia that they be both asked and answered. Given the past behaviour and ongoing behaviour of both the Indonesian army and the Indonesian intelligence agencies, this is not a time for taking offence just because the questions are put. And given the arrogance of the Australian government’s behaviour, the blind rush to the status of regional mini-hegemon, and its misleading of its own population about what its intelligence agencies knew last time, there is every reason to scrutinize the long run intentions and assumptions behind Australian intervention.

  6. Does Operation Astute have adequate – and appropriate – resources for the job?

    As in 1999 Australian armed intervention was an urgent necessity, whatever the subsequent damage caused by Howard’s triumphalism then and its echoes now. But there are very real doubts about Australian capacities this time round. Not only is the situation on the ground much more confused than in the orchestrated chaos of 1999, but as many commentators have rightly said, Australian military and policing resources are stretched much more thinly over a very wide range of conflicts. Specialised Australian military personnel suitable for such interventions are in fact always small in numbers – the three units that makes up the Special Operations Command (the SAS and two commando groups) and the Army’s Airborne battle Group, with the 3rd battalion (parachute) Royal Australian Regiment (RAR).

    Operation Astute is staffed by military personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Portugal, and the US has lent logistical assistance. Both Australia and Portugal have deployed police groups, in the Australian case, 57 Australian Federal Police officers. Australian military personnel are mainly from 3 RAR – some just back from Iraq (others are still deployed in the Solomons) – and a smaller number from 4 RAR. [8] Confusion about who to target, suitable rules of engagement, strategy and simple lack of numbers inhibited the effectiveness of the force for a time after landing. While a greater degree of physical control was established, even now there is no comprehensive police protection against looting and assault, as the raid on the CAVR building demonstrated.

    The CAVR looting demonstrates another side to the lack of capacity of the intervention force. When the organised mass looting of the CAVR building began – only motorbikes were taken in the end – CAVR Timorese staff called the ADF, to be told that they did not have enough personnel to deal with looters at that time. What is most disturbing about this is not so much the lack of resources as the failure to recognize the political and legal importance of those CAVR archives and the need to protect them as a priority. This tends to confirm one suggestion that the ADF – or at least the part that had to carry out the rapid reaction role – was prepared in terms of intelligence and language preparation in the same way that they were in 1999. It is important to remember that this is an international force, with all the inherent problems of such formation – including arguments about command. [9] Present military and police and intelligence commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and elsewhere have stretched Australian capacity to contribute to as effective a force as may be necessary in East Timor. Moreover, the ambiguities about Australian longterm intentions mean that as soon as possible it would be wise to widen the international character of the intervention and policing force. Leaving aside any arguments about the desirability (or absurdity) of Australian thoughts of regional hegemony and the dangerous and foolish involvement in the Iraq catastrophe, the reality is that Australian capacities are in fact quite small, and vulnerable to both breakdown and discrediting.

    This leads to questions about the desirability of Australian forces staying in East Timor for an extended period, or whether it would be in the interests of both East Timor and Australia for the Australian government to press the Security Council for replacement forces from other countries. This is 1999, and the chances for the hard-pressed and over-extended forces of the ADF to make mistakes in a confusing situation are that much higher – with the political costs higher still. The fact that the AFP is now to be supplemented by 100 officers drawn from state police forces is clear evidence about the over-extension in terms of numbers. Needless to say, the limits of the Howard government’s Mini Me notion of regional hegemony are much more evident in Southeast Asia than they are in the Pacific.

  7. What is the likely and desirable future role of the United Nations?

    Often it has seemed that critics of the UN role in East Timor have been completely contradictory, some saying that the United Nations handed over power to an independent East Timor too soon, others that it stayed too long and weighed too heavily. Undoubtedly, despite its achievements there were undesirable aspects to the prolonged UN presence in what was really a new form of governance. But on the whole it would have to be judged a success, if not in quite such glowing terms as some of its advocates have suggested. Many of the problems attributed to the UN presence itself in fact can be traced to the wider issues of the role and impact of large numbers of foreign advisers in a diverse range of international government and non-government bodies, and to policies of other international agencies.

    The dispatch of the experienced Ian Martin as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General is a welcome move, but it is not now clear what the next move will be. Some have called for a resumption of UN control; others have seen this as an external coup by another name. It is most unlikely that there will be any relinquishing of formal sovereignty by the government of Timor-Leste, but equally, there are a myriad lines of leverage from both the UN and its important member countries – in this case, the US, Japan, with Australia leading the charge. When Ian Martin reports to the Secretary-General, there may well be important questions about how the UN should exercise its ongoing responsibility to East Timor, the answers to which are not obvious.

    The constitution of the new country was developed under UN tutelage, and the questions arises as to what the attitude of the Security Council should be to the constitutional forms of government in the face of the assault on the government, as well as its inability to maintain order.

    The reported agreement by Mari Alkatiri to accept a proposal by the UN representative in East Timor, Hasegawa Sukehiro, that his role in events leading up to the crisis should be the subject of investigation by international prosecutors is important both politically and legally – and in both cases with both short-term and long-term implications. [10] Assuming that such an investigation would have a wider brief than just the role of Dr Alkatiri, and also assuming this involves a reactivation of the UN Serious Crimes Unit or some similar successor body, this is an important extension of the idea of the universal jurisdiction of the Security Council with global implications. East Timor was the first occasion of direct UN post-conflict governance, and much was learned. It is now clear that that experiment in a new hybrid of global responsibility and local sovereignty is not yet over.

  8. Where does the debate about “justice vs. reconciliation” now stand?

    No leader of the Indonesian military or militia has had to face serious consequences for their conduct in East Timor up until September 1999. The Indonesian trials were a disgraceful and contemptuous farce, and the United Nations Security Council has taken the necessary step to establish an international tribunal. In East Timor itself, the president’s strong preference for a basically non-judgmental reconciliation process won out over calls for comprehensive and effective justice. To some degree that decision was motivated by pragmatism – the need to get along with Indonesia, lack of funds, and lack of firm international will to support the process to the end. But without suggesting that that was an easy choice to make at the time, it would now seem that there has been a price to be paid: justice was not seen to be done, justified resentments festered, confidence in policing and legal systems not fostered, and possibly institutional legacies of Indonesian rule not adequately challenged, for example in the police. Whatever the role in the current crisis of those guilty in the events leading up to 1999 may turn out to be, there are now very grave crimes committed by East Timorese against East Timorese – civilian, army and police. Moreover there are allegations that the government itself either ordered or instigated murderous assaults on its political opponents.

    Does the political and legal system have the capacity to deal with these crimes effectively? The apparently imminent reactivation of the UN Serious Crimes Unit in East Timor will go some way towards resolving this matter, but more serious thought needs to be given to repairing the damage in public confidence done not only by the violence of the past months, but by the failure to prosecute the crimes of the Indonesian period. The consequences of the failure by the United States, Australia and Japan to press for an international tribunal to do the work of the disgraced Indonesian judicial system and the tiny overtaxed East Timorese legal system are now evident.

    Once again the East Timorese have paid the price of great power – and I use the term loosely – realpolitik. With luck, the only Australian costs will be in money and prestige. But it is now time to realise that the documentation of human rights abuses and the application of universal jurisdiction in matters of serious crimes against humanity is in fact in matters of sheer political realism in the interests of all, and not an optional extra in international politics.

  9. Is oil the answer or the curse?

    Many both inside and outside East Timor have pinned their hopes for the future on the revenues from the Timor Sea oil and gas fields. Understandably many have been preoccupied with the urgent need to pressure Australia to offer East Timor a large share of the revenues – in its own self-interest if not for reasons of justice. Important and necessary as this process is and will continue to be, it does not in itself answer the question as to just how these hopefully increased revenues will benefit the country as a whole. This brings us back to perhaps the most unexplored aspect of East Timor’s post-independence political dynamics: the politics of patronage. We should expect patronage politics to be one part of the normal political modus operandi of East Timorese society given its economic and social structure. While there is a built-in tendency to what western and industrial capitalist societies view as simple matters of corruption and nepotism, this need not always be so. However, there have been many allegations of corruption in East Timor, but little hard evidence and serious analysis. But there are three key variables that make the patronage politics of Timor at present somewhat dangerous.

    The first, and much remarked on, is the relatively large impact of external aid and foreign advisers. This is one subject on which a lot has been written, but not – to my knowledge at least – on the intersection of these external flows and the structure of domestic patronage, and the political intersection of “traditional” and “modern” economic sectors.

    The second is the political nature of oil itself. Thirty years ago the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski put the Janus promise of oil well:

    “The concept of oil perfectly expresses the eternal human dream of wealth achieved through a kiss of fortune, and not by sweat, anguish, hard work. In this sense, oil is a fairy tale, and like every fairy tale, a bit of a lie.”

    The lesson of almost every case is that oil brings smelly politics, especially at the intersection of government and business. We know little about the details of East Timor’s oil politics beyond the dispute with Australia. The role of oil money – or hopes for it – in the present dispute or set of disputes has not been talked about, but it is potentially so large a basis for political capital that it must be looked at, especially given the mysterious character of the inner dynamics of the present crisis.

    With both police and army using their advanced small arms on a freelance basis in alliance with different groupings, and 1500 Glock pistols and their ammunition looted from the police arsenal, the faceless but undoubtedly active and well resourced conflict entrepreneurs still have plenty of fuel to play with.

  10. What kind of war?

    The question of the social and political and economic relations that lie behind this outbreak of violence in Timor leads to a question about the nature and form of that war itself, with implications for Australian security policy. Until the questions already discussed about the nature of the current political dynamics of East Timor and the intersection of patronage politics, foreign linkages, and the possible manipulation of regional identity are answered we cannot be sure of the kind of conflict the Timorese and those who would help them at risk of their lives are facing. We know enough to be sure that this is not 1999, and that it is highly confused and confusing.

    The best guide to the worst possible answer to this question comes from Mary Kaldor’s evolving analysis over the last decade of the new kind of conflict she labels “new wars”. Some aspects of her summary description bear uncomfortably on the current crisis in East Timor and its ugly possibilities. Let me finish with an extended quotation from one of her early formulations in the hope that it turns out to be inappropriate:

    “It is the lack of authority of the state, the weakness of representation, the loss of confidence that the state is able or willing to respond to public concerns, the inability and/or unwillingness to regulate the privatisation and informalisation of violence that gives rise to violent conflicts. Moreover, this ‘uncivilising process’, tends to be reinforced by the dynamics of the conflicts, which have the effect of further reordering political, economic and social relationships in a negative spiral of incivility.

    “I call the conflicts ‘wars’ because of their political character although they could also be described as massive violations of human rights (repression against civilians) and organised crime (violence for private gain). They are about access to state power. They are violent struggles to gain access to or to control the state.

    “Privatised violence and unregulated social relations feed on each other. In these wars, physical destruction is very high, tax revenues plummet further, and unemployment is very high. The various parties finance themselves through loot and plunder and various forms of illegal trading; thus they are closely linked into and help to generate organised crime networks. They also depend on support from neighbouring states, Diaspora groups, and humanitarian assistance.

    “In the majority of cases, these wars are fought in the name of identity – a claim to power on the basis of labels. These are wars in which political identity is defined in terms of exclusive labels -ethnic, linguistic, or religious – and the wars themselves give meaning to the labels. Labels are mobilised for political purposes; they offer a new sense of security in a context where the political and economic certainties of previous decades have evaporated. They provide a new populist form of communitarian ideology, a way to maintain or capture power, that uses the language and forms of an earlier period. Undoubtedly, these ideologies make use of pre-existing cleavages and the legacies of past wars. But nevertheless, it is the deliberate manipulation of these sentiments, often assisted by Diaspora funding and techniques and speeded up through the electronic media, that is the immediate cause of conflict.” [11]

Information about the author

Richard Tanter is Senior Research Associate at Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability and Acting Director of the Nautilus Institute at RMIT. His most recent books on East Timor are Masters of Terror: Indonesia’s Military and Violence in East Timor in 1999, [co-edited with Gerry Van Klinken and Desmond Ball – new edition forthcoming] and Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia and the World Community [edited with Mark Selden and Stephen Shalom].

Other policy forums by Richard Tanter:

Email: rtanter@nautilus.org.


Author’s note: Thanks to Gerry Van Klinken, Glenda Lasslett, David Bourchier, and Helen Hill for helpful comments on an earlier draft.

[1] UNDP, Timor-Leste faces development challenges, March 8, 2006. The full report: ” The Path Out of Poverty“.


[2] Human Rights Watch, Tortured Beginnings: Police Violence and the Beginnings of Impunity in East Timor, April 2006.


[3] Helen Hill, ” Stand up, the real Mr Alkatiri“, The Age, June 1, 2006.


[4] Helen Hill, “Regional tensions”, East Timor Mailing List, May 28, 2006.

[5] Greg Sheridan, Throw troops at Pacific failures, The Australian, June 3, 2006.


[6] Loro Horta, ” Caution over Timor Leste“, Jakarta Post, June 7, 2006.


[7] Richard Chauvel, Australia, Indonesia and the Papuan crises, Austral Policy Forum 06-14A, 27 April 2006.


[8] The Wikipedia article on Operation Astute is, at least at the time of writing, an excellent source on the international military intervention force. To date, Nick Dowling has been its main contributor.


[9] Portugal refuses Australian command in E Timor, ABC News, June 3, 2006.


[10] Alkatiri agrees to UN investigation, Peter Cave, ABC News, June 7, 2006.


[11] Mary Kaldor, Cosmopolitanism and organised violence, Paper prepared for Conference on ‘Conceiving Cosmopolitanism’, Warwick, 27-29 April 2000. And see her New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, 1999.


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