16 November 2018


Indonesia's Widodo, a maverick no longer

KONFRONTASI -   On Oct. 20, 2014, Joko Widodo was sworn into office as Indonesian president after a campaign that promoted him as a clean and modest outsider against the patronage-steeped veterans of party politics. Many analysts thought the system was stacked against his presidency succeeding. 

Theresa May promises Brexit deal will deliver vote of British people

KONFRONTASI-British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the draft deal the United Kingdom has struck with the European Union with regards to Brexit will adhere to what people voted for during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

"What we have been negotiating is a deal that does deliver on the vote of the British people," May told MPs on Wednesday after the UK and EU finalised the details of their plan on Tuesday.

May defended the agreement to a group of MPs from her own Conservative party ahead of a meeting with her cabinet, during which she is seeking her ministers' backing for the deal.

Despite an earlier statement, Downing Street said May would not make an official statement on if the cabinet had agreed on the deal on Wednesday night.

Hardline Brexit supporters said the deal included unacceptable compromises.

May said the agreement would guarantee an end to unlimited immigration from the EU and would allow Britain to set its own trade policy, two of the main issues raised during the Brexit campaign.

She added the agreement included a backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland but said this would be a temporary "insurance policy" if no future relationship is agreed.

"We want to bring the future relationship into place at the end of December 2020," she said.

Accoriding to Al Jazeera correspondent Paul Brennan, the next 24 hours will be crucial for both Brexit and the Theresa May government as a whole.

"We are wondering now if the Brexit piece falling into place or the British government falleng into pieces," Brennan said from London.

"The reaction has been almost universally opposed to the deal, both the Brexiteers and those who want to stay in the EU are extremely unhappy," he said.

"Parliament seems to be at an impasse."

The Irish border has been a key issue during negotiations between London and Brussels.

Both have vowed to prevent the re-emergence of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will leave the EU with Britain, amid fears the issue could reignite decades-old tensions.

But the two sides disagreed for a long time on how to resolve the issue.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the agreement "breaches the prime minister's own red lines", adding that negotiations with Brussels had been "shambolic".

"This government spent two years negotiating a bad deal that will leave the country in an indefinite half-way house," Corbyn said.

Conservative Peter Bone, a leading pro-Brexit MP, also criticised May.

"You are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters," Bone said.

Following the UK's announcement an agreement was signed, Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday that an emergency EU summit could be held on November 25 to vote on the deal.

UK parliament would then vote on the Brexit accord.

If successful, the whole Brexit process should be concluded on March 29, 2019, almost three years after the referendum was held.

However, Brennan said that a failure for the cabinet to approve the deal could lead to real issues for May and her government.

"The timetable from now is that the cabinet has to approve, and if they don't approve she will have to review her position as cabinet leader," Brennan said.

"The real problems will arise in parliament, because there is no majority and if they don't approve that's when we're really in uncharted territory because we might be looking at general elections," he added.

U.N. bemoans lack of funding for African anti-jihadist force

KONFRONTASI-International donors have disbursed less than half of what they had pledged for a regional force fighting to contain West African jihadists, hampering its efforts as insecurity spreads across the region, a United Nations report said.

A February conference of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway pledged 415 million euros ($470 million) for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Jokowi in Indonesia’s ‘Neo-New Order’

By:  Tim Lindsey *



On 16 September, police broke up an academic discussion at the offices of renowned activist NGO the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH). The topic was the killings of alleged leftists in 1965 and 1966 in the wake of the failed coup that brought former president Suharto to power, public discussion of which has often raised the ire of anti-communist mobs.

Indonesian democracy: from stagnation to regression?

By:  Eve Warburton and Edward Aspinall 



  For much of the past decade, observers have praised Indonesian democracy. Elections have been competitive, the country boasts a vibrant civil society, and the press enjoys far more freedom than in most Asian states.  An analytical consensus thus emerged that Indonesia’s democracy was stable and relatively liberal, with no serious existential threats on the horizon.

Jokowi's Panicky Politics

Indonesia's Widodo, a maverick no longer

By:  Hamish McDonald


Joko Widodo was sworn into office as Indonesian president after a campaign that promoted him as a clean and modest outsider against the patronage-steeped veterans of party politics. Many analysts thought the system was stacked against his presidency succeeding. 

Pilots say they weren’t trained for the risks of a new Boeing 737 Max flight feature

KONFRONTASI-Investigators in Indonesia have zeroed in on the role of a new feature on the Boeing 737 Max 8 as they try to pinpoint what led to the crash of Lion Air flight JT610, which killed 189 people when it went down in the Java Sea on Oct. 29.

Israel-Gaza border falls quiet after botched Israeli operation

KONFRONTASI- The Israel-Gaza border fell quiet on Monday after a botched Israeli undercover operation in the Gaza Strip led to fighting that killed a Hamas commander, six other Palestinian militants and an Israeli colonel.

Palestinians fired 17 rockets into southern Israel late on Sunday in response to the incursion and air strikes, which Hamas, the dominant armed group in Gaza, said were intended to cover the retreat of a car used by the Israeli troops.

Battle for Hodeidah: 110 Houthis, 7 civilians killed in 24 hours

KONFRONTASI-At least 149 Yemenis, including seven civilians, have been killed in the past 24 hours as forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi close in on areas held by Houthi rebels in the strategic port city of Hodeidah.

Medics in hospitals across the city - which is the main gateway for imports and relief supplies into Yemen - said on Monday that 110 Houthi fighters and 32 pro-government soldiers had been killed in overnight fighting.