[ETAN-key] Bush To Ask $16 Mln From Conggress For Indonesian Military Funding
John M Miller
fbp at igc.org
Mon Feb 4 04:54:15 PST 2008
The Jakarta Post
Monday, February 04, 2008
Bush to ask Congress for $16m in Indonesian military funding
Tony Hotland, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
U.S. President George W. Bush is poised to deliver his annual budget
request Monday, proposing US$186 million in bilateral assistance to
Indonesia in 2009, including some $16 million for military funding.
The total amount is, as reported by the Associated Press, down $4
million from 2008, but the military aid level remains roughly the same.
For 2008, Bush asked for and received $15.7 million for foreign
military financing to help Indonesia "promote defense reform and
improve maritime security, counterterrorism, mobility and disaster
Military analyst Ikrar Nusabakti of the Indonesian Institute of
Sciences (LIPI) said Sunday the figure was not unusual and would
simply maintain Washington's military cooperation with Jakarta.
"Regardless of some haunting human rights issues and still
overshadowed by Bush's terrorism policy, the requested amount is a
peanut," Ikrar told The Jakarta Post.
Besides, he added, Washington had to have learned that it could not
afford to forgo military relations with Indonesia as it did between
1999 and 2005.
Military relations between the two countries were strained in 1999
following the referendum in breakaway province East Timor (now Timor
Leste), with human rights groups accusing Indonesia of mass killings
by the militia groups with the support of the army.
Bush revived all cooperation in 2005 after declaring Jakarta had made
progress on some of Washington's earlier demands, including the
prosecution of military officials in several human rights cases.
"There was sort of a generation loss during the embargo when the U.S.
military had no Indonesian counterpart," said Ikrar.
The Bush administration sees Indonesia, home to the world's largest
Muslim population, as crucial to fighting terrorism in Southeast Asia.
New York-based rights group East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
(ETAN) has opposed increasing military assistance to Indonesia
because it believes change in the Indonesian military's conduct over
the past few years has yet to warrant such a generous increase.
On Monday, Bush will also request nearly $16 million in military aid
Jacked up from around $5 million for 2008, the amount is seen as
support to spark change in the country after its military junta
crushed pro-democracy protests led by students and Buddhist priests last year.
Monday's request will be the start of a long process. The Senate and
the House of Representatives must make recommendations on funding,
and negotiators from each side will then hammer out a compromised
bill before sending it to the president for enactment.
With Bush entering his last year in office, he faces strong
opposition from the Democratic party that controls Congress, meaning
there's no guarantee the budget will be funded at the levels he has requested.
Terjemahan (atas jasa "Kataku"):
Joyo Indonesia News Service
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