Apart from ending the bloodshed in Aceh, a lasting peace deal could bring broader benefits. A planned $5 billion post-tsunami reconstruction programme, largely funded by foreign donors, would be much easier to carry out if there were peace in the province. Aceh’s oil and other plentiful natural resources could be better exploited, bringing prosperity to the region. Peace in Aceh might even reduce piracy in the Malacca Strait—one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, between Indonesia and the southern tip of Malaysia—as well as diminishing an Islamist insurgency in southern Thailand, since many of the Malacca pirates, and the Thai insurgents’ arms, are said to come from Aceh. Last but not least, ending a long-running conflict by civilised means, rather than brute force, would set a wonderful example across the whole of South-East Asia and beyond.Why, yes it would.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The Economist holds out some hope here: