Terrorists have struck again on the Indonesian tourist island paradise of Bali. Almost three years to the day the Islamic terrorists bombed Bali night clubs in 2002 the terrorists now struck a popular shopping and dining area on the island:
The blasts struck the seaside area of Jimbaran Bay and the bar and shopping hub of Kuta, 30 kilometers (19 miles) away at about 8 p.m. Saturday night (8 a.m. ET).
In addition to the 26 fatalities, hospital officials said 102 people were wounded. One of those who died was a 16-year-old Australian boy, officials said, while South Koreans, Americans, Japanese and Britons were among those wounded.
It is not official yet that this was an attack carried out by Islamic terrorists yet, but it is more than likely an operation carried out by the notorious Indonesian Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah:
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned Saturday’s bombings as an act of terrorism. There were no claims of responsibility.
But terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna told CNN that the attacks had the hallmarks of Jemaah Islamiyah — a Southeast Asian terrorist group with ties to al Qaeda.
"There is no other group with this level of capability," he said.
The 2002 bombings were blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah.
So why are the terrorists striking Bali? Bali is a mainly Hindu enclave in the world’s most populous Muslim country. The terrorists have no qualms killing Hindus and foreign tourists on the island. Plus terrorism on Bali dries up one of the main sources of tourist income for the Indonesian government. Less money the government has in it’s coffers means less money to keep a stable democratic government functioning. The terrorists cannot stand 180 million Muslims living under a democratic government.
However, not everyone thinks that the attacks may have been carried out by Islamic militants. This from Chinese Xinhua News Agency:
Saturday night’s bomb blasts in Bali could have link with fuel oil price hikes which were felt by the people as a very heavy burden, the official news agency Antara quoted a political observer as saying.
"I think groups who are unsatisfied with the fuel oil price hike have been behind the explosions, not those who want to shift attention on fuel oil issues," Professor Budiatna, a political observer at the University of Indonesia, said here on Saturday night.
According to Budiatna, the unsatisfied groups thought protests in the form of demonstrations were no longer effective because the government paid no attention to it.
"They pressured (the government) by resorting to terrors. Their message is to lower the fuel oil price or else the terror acts will continue," the observer added.
Sounds pretty outrageous to me to resort to terrorism because of fuel prices. Why Xinhua would even give this theory credence is beyond me. However, it is going to be interesting to see if the Indonesian government is going to take the strong measures necessary to crack down on the Islamic militants within Indonesia. So far they have been using the kid gloves on them hoping they would just go away. It is clear now that the terrorists will not go away and will continue to strike within Indonesia to undermine and weaken the democratic government of the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Ban, a 61-year-old career diplomat, has himself been tipped as the likely contender in South Korean media — a step he would not rule out if his government put him up for the job.
"If and when the opportunity is given to me or anybody else, then I think Korea can serve the effectiveness and advancement of the United Nations," Ban told Reuters in an interview when asked about the news reports.
If Minister Ban decides to run for the office he is going to face some stiff competition from two other prominent Asian diplomats:
Two Asian contenders have already declared their bids — Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and Sri Lankan peace negotiator Jayantha Dhanapala.
A South Korean candidacy could make it more difficult for Asian states to unite around a single contender, although Ban said consensus was important.
"There are already two very good candidates but, you know, when I was in New York last month I heard from many, many member countries that Asia needs to have a very good, credible candidate," Ban said.
Out of all the of the Korean President Roh Moo-hyun’s ministers, Ban Ki-moon is probably the most well liked within Korea and internationally. A big plus for Minister Ban is that he is also well liked by the American government since he is a graduate of Harvard and has worked closely with United States diplomats during the six party talks with North Korea. However, he is probably not liked enough for the United States to back him as the UN Secretary General. Korea-US relations are probably at an all time low currently due to the current North Korean nuclear crisis and anti-Americanism effecting the US-ROK alliance. Also don’t expect Russia and China to back a candidate from a country with a military alliance with the United States. That leaves three of the permanent security council members against the nomination from the start. Britain and France as well are not a sure thing to back a South Korean candidate. Finally, if the UN is looking for a Secretary General that can clean up it’s history of corruption, South Korea is probably not the right place to turn to.
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