INDONESIAN TERROR DIFFERENT TO MIDDLE EAST: PSYCHOLOGIST
JAKARTA, OCTOBER 10, 2006 (STAR) (AFP) - Indonesia's brand of terrorism is starkly different from that found in the Middle East and should be tackled using specifically targeted methods, a leading psychologist here said.
Sarlito Wirawan Sarwono, chairman of the Asian Psychologist Association (APA), said that while terrorism in the Middle East was rooted in nationalism, in Indonesia it has traditionally been based on ideology.
"The thing is that almost all terrorism theories are based on the results of research in the Middle East so it is understandable that many strategies, tactics and anti-terror technology applied in Indonesia have not been too effective," he told reporters late Monday.
The archipelago nation has suffered from a slew of bloody attacks in recent years, including the 2002 Bali bombing, which left 202 people dead.
Sarwono, a terrorism expert, said the families of Indonesian terrorists were mostly ashamed of their acts, unlike in the Middle East where such acts are often a source of pride.
Nasir Abas, a former regional commander of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional extremist network who has since joined efforts to fight terrorism, said Indonesian terrorists specifically targeted civilians, in contrast to their Middle Eastern counterparts.
"They launch their actions against non-military members, unarmed people and not while in a condition of war," Abas said, adding that JI leaders were among the most dangerous militants.
Sarwono described these leaders as "psychopaths", able to manipulate people into becoming suicide bombers -- even when technology allows bombings to be carried out without them.
"The suicide bombers are there as just a sensational (factor). The fact that there is a suicide bomber gives an attack a higher profile," the psychologist said.
The APA and anti-terror police are to hold a seminar later this month aimed at helping develop more effective Indonesian-focused programs to prevent terrorism.
Qatar still hopes for deal between feuding Palestinian factions 10/10 11:10:43 AM
GAZA CITY (AFP) - Qatar's foreign minister said Tuesday he still believes a Palestinian unity government can be formed, after holding urgent talks here to break the political deadlock amid escalating violence.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani arrived in Gaza City late Monday and went straight into a meeting with President Mahmud Abbas, of the moderate Fatah movement.
After emerging from a later meeting with Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, from the ruling Islamist movement Hamas, Sheikh Hamad said that recognition of Israel remains the main obstacle to an agreement.
"The main problem is in mutual recognition (by Israel and the Palestinians) and how to establish the two states," he told journalists.
Sheik Hamad said he expects to "reach an agreement", but Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said much work remains.
"The gap remains wide between Hamas and the international demands for forming a national unity government, and overcoming those obstacles will be difficult," he told AFP.
The Palestinians have been gripped by an unparalleled fiscal and political crisis since Hamas took office last March following its sweeping electoral victory over the once dominant Fatah.
After Hamas refused to recognise Israel, renounce violence or abide by past peace agreements, the West suspended direct aid, sending the economy into freefall and depriving civil servants of their full salaries for six months.
A stalemate in talks on forming a unity government acceptable to the West has persisted as spiraling inter-faction tensions spilled over into deadly clashes that have left at least 12 people dead over the past week.
Qatar boasts strong ties with the Islamic militant movement, which has continued to reject huge pressure from the West and from Abbas to take part in a unity government committed to recognising Israel and past peace deals.
According to one official, Sheikh Hamad met in Damascus with the exiled political supremo of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal before arriving in Gaza.
He already met Meshaal last week and presented a series of proposals aimed at reaching a breakthrough in the stalled talks.
The official said Sheikh Hamad was looking to bring Hamas round to a six-point compromise formula, focusing on the Palestinian government's respect for international resolutions and past Israeli-Palestinian agreements, accepting a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and an end to violence.
Such proposals reflect the views of the Palestinian president who wants a government equipped with a moderate outlook capable of ending the damaging international boycott and replacing the Hamas-led cabinet.
Although Hamas agreed on a national unity deal in September based on a reconciliation document approved in June, its leaders insist that agreement does not amount to recognition, even implicit, of Israel.
Abbas last week gave Hamas another fortnight to accept a platform acceptable to Western donors, saying there was no longer any dialogue and efforts needed to start again from the beginning.
But Haniya further complicated the process Sunday by casting doubt on an Arab peace initiative that was one of the main planks of the June reconciliation document because it requires the Palestinians to recognise Israel.
The initiative is "problematic, for it entails recognising Israel, while we have already made it known that we refuse such recognition," the Hamas prime minister told Muslim theologians in Gaza City.
The Saudi plan, adopted by the Arab League in 2002, offers Israel full normalization of relations in return for full withdrawal from Arab territories occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
Rudeina told AFP after the talks that Hamas still rejects recognising Israel and the Saudi plan.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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