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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Peace in Aceh?

Interesting piece on the possible benefits of a peace being reached between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government here. Not only would the parties benefit, so would other countries:
The fight against terrorism would benefit as well. Although GAM did not directly participate in Al Qaeda-linked terrorist attacks, it did maintain contacts with a number of Al Qaeda-linked organizations. Moreover, GAM’s various terrorist and insurgent activities, including arms smuggling, money laundering, and training fighters, contributed economies of scale to the regional terrorist network. A peace deal would put a hole in the spider web of terrorist contacts in Southeast Asia.

A successful peace treaty could also bring some relief from rampant maritime piracy in the region. Piracy in the Malacca Straits, which Aceh borders, is so bad that Lloyd’s recently added the region to its list of 21 areas worldwide that are at risk for war and terror attacks; with this designation, insurance underwriters can, on short notice, cancel or increase insurance prices for ships transiting the straits. Because 50,000 vessels a year transit Malacca, the cost to shipping could be significant. There is considerable evidence that GAM is involved in at least some of the piracy in the straits, but a peace deal should reduce such activity.
Sounds good to me.

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