1.1. Purpose and Scope of Dissertation
This dissertation aims to provide analysis of the impact of natural disasters on peace negotiations. It focuses on the impact of the 26 December 2004 tsunami on peace negotiations in Aceh, Indonesia, from January to July 2005. The analysis begins with terminologies, concepts, and theories which are relevant to natural disasters and peace processes. The peace negotiations before the tsunami were also examined for the purpose of understanding peace negotiations under normal circumstances. The analysis of post-tsunami peace negotiations is important in understanding changes of the attitudes in the warring parties towards the peace process. Furthermore, it aims to establish recommendations which could support strong foundations for long lasting peace in Aceh.
This dissertation also aims to analyse the impact of natural disasters on peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998-2000 and in Sri Lanka 2005. The purpose is to find if there were any similarities and differences between these two cases, and to identify important lessons for the case study of Aceh. In Ethiopia and Eritrea there were massive drought-induced famines from 1998 to 2000, and Sri Lanka was also hit by the December 2004 tsunami.
This dissertation also employs and tests a selection of concepts and theories from the predominant writers on peace negotiations such as Zartman, 2003 (ripeness); Stedman, 1997 (spoilers); Anderson, 1999 (diasporas); Kaye, 2001 (track-two diplomacy); and Walter, 1997 and 2002 (third party guarantor). The author aims to find if these concepts and theories are still applicable to cases of peace negotiations after natural disasters.
1.2. Rationale and Relevance of the Subject
Firstly, the author asserts that there are not many studies on the impact of natural disasters on peace negotiations. The wide concept of “disaster diplomacy” is under researched. One of the well-known studies was disaster diplomacy in the Greek-Turkish reconciliation after the earthquakes in both countries, respectively in August 1999 in Turkey, and in September 1999 in Greece. Each country was the first to deploy search-and-rescue teams in the other. Therefore, the author hopes this specific study on Aceh may contribute to the academic discourse on peace.
Secondly, the author also found that there were not many studies on the role of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)s in mediating internal conflicts or civil wars. Traditionally, mediation was carried out by international and regional organizations and governments. Furthermore, seeing the nature of the contemporary conflicts which do not favour international intervention and are very sensitive to nationalism, NGO mediation is worth examining and could contribute to the peace process in many developing countries.
Thirdly, the author argues that this study is important for the peace process in Indonesia. After the collapse of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) in 2003, the Acehnese struggled to create peace in their homeland. It seemed that after the 2004 tsunami people in Aceh and in Indonesia generally hoped that the peace would be permanent so reconstruction and rehabilitation process could proceed smoothly. The author hopes that this study may contribute to longer lasting peace in Aceh. It is widely believed that the tsunami had brought the warring parties closer. David Gorman, mediation advisor for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, also argued that there is a better chance for peace than before, because of the tsunami. In particular, both sides, Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM (Free Aceh Movement)) and the Government of Indonesia (GoI), do not want to lose the confidence of the people of Aceh (Media Indonesia, April, 2005).
Fourthly, the author argues that this study could contribute more to the understanding and commitment from the international community to support enduring peace in Aceh. This is important because without peace the international community’s aid and assistance will be useless. Violent conflict will divert attention and funding away from reconstruction and rehabilitation which were much needed after the tsunami.
Lastly, the author argues that some lessons from other countries with similar situations are important in understanding this topic. Therefore, this dissertation briefly deals with some lessons from the effect of famines on peace negotiations from 1998 to 2000 in Ethiopia and Eritrea and of the effect of the tsunami on peace negotiations in Sri Lanka in 2005.
1.3. Research Question
This dissertation is grounded in the following research question:
How did the tsunami, as a significant natural disaster, impact on the post-tsunami peace negotiations in Aceh in 2005?
1.4. Hypothesis and Central Argument
The hypothesis in this dissertation is:
Natural disasters do have an impact on peace negotiations. However, the impact can be temporary and superficial which allows a fragile peace to emerge.
This hypothesis is based on the argument that changes in behaviour and attitudes of warring parties only occur because of international pressure. This stems from the trend that warring parties need to preserve their credibility among the international community, and do not want to lose the confidence of their own people.
Pursuing the same line of argument, Jeswald Salacuse, a Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tuffts University, Massachussets, United States of America (USA), stated:
It creates an opportunity of a moment. It’s kind of an open window that often doesn’t stay open very long, if the parties are willing to take advantage of it. But I think often it’s momentary thing, and once relief is poured in or people adjust to it, then unfortunately the old ancient grievances seems to overshadow everything else (cited by Robert McMahon, 2005).
1.5. Research Objectives
The main aim of this dissertation is to identify the linkages between natural disasters and peace negotiations using the following objectives:
- To select and review the academic literature concerning the impact of natural disasters on peace negotiations.
- To explore the selected concepts above using the similar contexts of Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 to 2000 and in Sri Lanka in 2005. From this, the author intended to establish comparative lessons.
- To examine the peace negotiations in Aceh before the tsunami.
- To examine the impact of the tsunami on the peace negotiations in Aceh during 2005.
Therefore, the author, in this dissertation, examines the impact of natural disasters on peace negotiations in Aceh 2005. The peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2000 and between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) in 2005 were addressed in order to establish comparative lessons. The deadline for data gathering used to analyse the case study in Aceh was 15 August 2005 when GAM and GoI signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement.
1.6. Qualitative Research Methodology
Firstly, it must be noted this dissertation is solely based on qualitative research. It aimed to obtain nuanced descriptions from the different qualitative aspects of the life world; it works with words and not with numbers (Kvale, 1996: 32). In addition, David and Sutton added that qualitative research usually emphasizes words rather than quantification in the collection and analysis of data (2004: 35). In doing the research, the author used four data gathering techniques:
1.6.1. Literature Review
Regarding research in conflict areas, Barakat, Chard, Jacoby, and Lume (2002: 997) highly recommend a literature review:
A review of the relevant literature forms an important part of the background to field research strategy. The theoretical aspect of a study should also draw on points that may have been raised in the literature from which a synthesis for an alternative analytical framework may be developed, integrating various theories on local circumstances and their applicability to a particular case. A literature review should also provide information on the recent history of the political economy of armed conflict in the selected region. Such as analysis is helpful in that it provides a degree of background knowledge with which to identify gaps in the understanding of the societal aspects of an armed conflict.
1.6.2. Content Analysis
According to Alan Bryman (2004: 183), content analysis is an approach to the analysis of documents and texts that seeks to quantify content in terms of predetermined categories and in a systematic and replicable manner. Bruce L. Berg (2004: 267) adds that in content analysis, the researcher examines artefacts or social communication. Typically, these are written documents or transcriptions.
1.6.3. Case Study Approach
On case studies David and Sutton (2004: 111) stated:
Case studies are in-depth studies of specific “units”. Units may be individuals, organizations, events, programmes or communities. Case studies are distinguished from experiments in that they are not conducted in controlled condition and are not specifically designed for comparison. Case studies are distinguished from surveys in that they are primarily designed to investigate specific cases in depth.
It is therefore asserted that that the case study approach is insightful in examining and focussing on the impact of the natural disasters on the peace negotiations.
According to Bryman (2004: 275), triangulation entailed using more than the method of source of data in the study of social phenomena. Triangulation is particularly important in the context of armed conflict. As argued by Barakat, Chard, Jacoby and Lume (2002: 992), traumatic conditions that affected people’s experiences might also inhibit their ability or willingness to communicate them. As for the case in Aceh, and in relation to content analysis, Stanley (2005), an Indonesian journalist, argued:
Since the martial law and civil emergency phases in Aceh most media are still in New Order paradigm. Media cannot uncover facts on the ground. Journalists prefer to interview civilian and military officials. Many journalists just prefer to staying in hotels or to the media centre than finding facts directly on the ground.
1.6.5. Constraints on Field Research
It would have been useful if interview data gathering techniques were applied. However, during the author’s work placement with the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) in Aceh between April and May 2005, it was impossible to do interviews because of security problems. Moreover, the host organisation, the CRS, will not allow its staff to become involved in politics or any other activities which might endanger the CRS presence in Aceh. However, the author argues that the research question does not demand the collection of empirical data. Instead, it is proposed that insight can be gained from the literature review, content analysis and the case study approach.
1.7. Structure of the Dissertation
In Chapter Two, the author establishes a composite analytical framework, including theoretical frameworks, concepts, and terminologies which are related to and deal with “natural disasters and peace negotiations”. And, in Chapter Three, the author provides lessons from peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998-2000 and between the LTTE and GoSL in Sri Lanka in 2005.
Furthermore, in Chapter Four, the author examines the peace negotiations before the tsunami, focusing on the CoHA in 2002 between GAM and the GoI. The CoHA which was signed in December 2002 and facilitated by Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC), an NGO, collapsed in May 2003.
In particular, in Chapter Five, the author examines peace negotiations between GoI and GAM in Helsinki, Finland (January-July 2005), which was facilitated by CMI, also an NGO, and culminated in the signing of the MoU between the GoI and GAM on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki. Finally, in Chapter Six, the author suggests conclusions and recommendations for a long lasting peace agreement and further peace process.
In the next chapter, the author examines the analytical framework which is used to analyze the impact of natural disasters on peace processes. The concepts of ripeness, spoilers, track-two diplomacy, third party guarantor, diasporas and civil society groups are examined. However, the relations between natural disasters and conflict will be examined first.
In this chapter the author examines the theoretical frameworks, concepts, and terminologies that will be used to analyze the impact of natural disasters on the peace process, that was peace negotiations between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 1998- 2000, between the LTTE and GoSL in Sri Lanka in 2005, and mainly in Aceh, Indonesia between GAM and GoI in 2005. Beginning with the terminologies of natural disasters, the author continues with relationship between disasters, conflict, peace and conflict resolution. In this chapter the author also examines the theoretical frameworks which argued why negotiations failed and how to make them successful.
2.2. Natural Disasters
Firstly, we look into the definition of natural disasters. For example, El-Masri and Tipple (1997: 2-3) gave following definition of natural disasters:
Natural Disasters are the interaction between natural hazards and vulnerable conditions (social-economic, cultural and political) which are usually created by human actions. Thus the distinction between natural and man-made disasters is blurred; many of the tragic impacts of natural disasters result from human misuse of resources, inappropriate actions and lack of foresight.
And the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (cited by El-Masri and Tippe, 1997: 3) offered a holistic framework for natural disasters, in terms of creation, effects, outcomes and responses:
…a natural disaster could be defined as the interaction between a natural hazard, generated in most cases from a sudden and unexpected natural event, and vulnerable conditions which cause severe losses to man and his environment (built and natural).
2.2.2. Why Are Disasters Significant for Peace Negotiations?
It was believed that disasters had a significant impact on conflicts significantly. For instance, Cuny maintained that “disasters often highlight the social struggles in a society and underscore the inherent inequities within a political system. Earthquakes and hurricane, for example, affect a disproportionately high percentage of the poor in developing countries, for it is they who live in un-reinforced, poorly built structures, often located on marginal lands. A disaster makes it very evident that the poor are vulnerable because they are poor, and this can lead to profound political and social changes within society: many governments destablize in the years immediately following a disaster. In the Sahel drought, every government fell, many directly as a result of dissatisfaction with relief efforts” (1983: 40).
Moreover, Cuny also suggested, “disasters often bring changes in the structure of community leadership. New organizations may be borne out of necessity to deal with the disaster and remain to continue the work of bringing economic change to the community. New leaders often emerge, sometimes to replace leaders felled by disasters, but more often to replace those who have proved ineffective or unable to cope with the aftermath of a disaster” (1983: 15). The increased awareness of poverty and greater level of participation led many Guatemalans to become politically active. In such circumstances the old order is forced to change. An example of this is when in November 1970, a strong cyclone struck East Pakistan, and in 1971, India entered the civil war which led to the establishment of Bangladesh (Cuny, 1983: 12).
Perhaps one of the most extensive pieces of research on that issue was done by Shaw and Goda (2004: 17) on the effect of Kobe earthquake in Japan in 1995. According to Shaw and Goda, more than eight years after the earthquake, when the impact of the earthquake was assessed, it was apparent that the earthquake not only affected the physical, social and economic segments of Japanese society, it also forced behavioural changes on its members. The Kobe earthquake in 1995 was defined as the year of the “renaissance” of voluntarism, rather than year one” of voluntarism. Although many of the “earthquake born organisations” disappeared with time, several organisations developed new skills for sustaining the effort at grassroot levels, and had promoted a culture for a safer and sustainable future, owned and run by communities.
2.2.3. Disasters and Conflicts
Violent conflict interacts with natural disasters in many ways. For example, Wisne, Blaikie, Cannon and Davis (2004: 27-28) listed several interactions between them:
- Violent conflict can interfere with the provision of relief and recovery assistance.
- The application of existing knowledge for the mitigation of risk from natural events is often difficult or impossible during violent conflict.
- Violent conflict often diverts national and international financial and human resources that could be used for the mitigation of risk away from extreme natural events.
- Conflict sometimes destroys infrastructure, which may then intensify natural hazards (e.g. irrigation systems, dams, levees) or compromises warnings and evacuations (e.g. landmines on roads).
- Violent confrontation often wreaks havoc on vegetation, land and water, and this undermines sustainable development.
2.2.4. Disasters and International Humanitarian Response
Disasters in many cases have attracted an international response. As asserted by El-Masri and Tipple (1997: 3), natural disasters created suffering and chaos in the normal patterns of life, which led to socio-economic, cultural, and sometimes, political disruptions. Such a situation required outside intervention at the international and national levels in addition to individual and communal responses.
Moreover, recovery from disasters is complex. As argued by Awotona and Johnson (1997: 108), for example, “in the case of a war situation structures, there is also a breakdown of the political and social institutions that are essential for reconstruction”. In other examples, as stated by Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon and Davis (2004: 27), “conflicts have continued to exacerbate natural extreme events such as drought in Afghanistan and the volcanic eruption in eastern Congo in 2002. However, since the mid-1990s, the possible role of ‘disaster diplomacy’ in peacemaking has also been noted, and at least a dozen ‘windows’ for conflict resolution that opened during a natural hazard event have been documented”.
Ultimately, the international community seemed to in favour of strengthening state rather than rebel groups. Paris (2005: 2) stated that the September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., reportedly perpetrated by a terrorist group in war-ravaged Afghanistan, dramatically illustrated the danger of allowing civil conflicts to fester. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw asserted in light of those attacks, “when we allow governments to fail, warlords, drug barons, or terrorists fill the vacuum…Terrorists are the strongest where states are the weakest”.
2.3. Peace, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
There are many definitions of peace. However, on this occasion the author refers especially to Galtung. Galtung (1996: 9) suggested two compatible definitions of peace:
1. Peace is the absence/reduction of violence of all kinds.
2. Peace is non-violent and creative conflict transformation.
Galtung argued (1996: 9) that “the first definition is violence-oriented; peace being its negation. To know about peace we have to know about violence…The second definition is conflict oriented; peace is the context for conflicts to unfold non-violently and creatively. To know about peace we have to know about conflict and how conflict can be transformed, both non-violently and creatively. Obviously this latter definition is more dynamic than the former”.
However, because of the unsatisfactory definition of peace, many experts used other terms, “conflict resolution”. Wallensteen (2002: 50) defined it as:
It is a social situation where the armed conflicting parties in a (voluntary) agreement resolve to peacefully live with-and/or dissolve-their basic incompatibilities and henceforth cease to use arms against one another.
Wallensteen (2002: 10) also maintained that “conflict resolution is not necessarily identical with peace. There is considerable overlap, however, as most notions of peace are based on the absence or ending war. A conflict, we have just made clear, is not resolved if it does not include an end to armed struggle. At the same time, it is not sufficient that it only contains the ending of fighting. Conflict resolution is more than the limited definition of peace. The parties are agreeing to respect each other and prepare for living together with one another. However, there are broader understanding of what peace is, such as the presence of cooperation, justice, and interaction. Conflict resolution may or may not include such larger values. It will depend on the situation”.
Furthermore, the author found that strategies and tools for conflict resolution from Stern and Druckman (2000: 5) are very useful (see below).
Tools that Feature the Strategy
Threats of force
Bargaining as a trade off of interests
Alternative dispute resolution
Reconciliation by truth commission
Electoral system design
Legal guarantees of free speech and association
Civilian control of military organizations
OSCE invocation of human rights norms
Note: These strategies and tools are often used in combination; moreover, the conceptual among them are sometimes blurred in use.
2.4. Conflict Resolution and NGOs
2.4.1. Track-Two Mediation
Firstly, the definitions of “negotiations” were looked into. According to Zartman & Rubin (2002: 12), “negotiation is joint decision making under conditions of conflict and uncertainty, in which divergent positions are combined into a single outcome”. Miall, Ramsbotham and Woodhouse (1999: 21) defined negotiation as “the process whereby parties within the conflict seek to settle or resolve their conflict. Mediation involves the intervention of a third party”.
Furthermore, Miall, Ramsbotham and Woodhouse (1999: 159) asserted that “mediation is especially important at a stage when at least some of the conflicting parties have to accept that pursuing the conflict is unlikely to achieve their goals. At this period, face-to-face meetings may be difficult to arrange, and mediation and ‘back-channels’ become important”. Some experts called it “track-two diplomacy”. The term “track two” diplomacy was coined by Joe Montville of the Foreign Services Institute in 1982 to mean diplomacy carried out by non-state actors (Philips, 2005).
In particular, Kaye (2001: 52) argued that track-two diplomacy “unofficial party dialogues focused on the problem-solving where participants have access to the official policy making process”. Rupesinghe and Andelini (1998: 117) defined it “as ‘unofficial, informal interaction between members of adversial groups or nations which aims to develop strategies, influence public opinion and organise human and material resources in ways that resolve their conflict”. As cited by Kreneger (2005), John W. McDonald referred to it as “unofficial, non-governmental, analytical, policy oriented, problem-solving efforts by skilled, educated, experienced and informed private citizens, interacting with other private citizens”.
In some examples, Rupesinghe and Andelini (1998: 117) suggested that it aimed to complement track-one diplomacy with its emphasis on relationships and policy changes generated through lower political levels. The involvement of former President Carter in Haiti or North Korea in 1994 or the initial secret negotiations undertaken by the Norwegian Fafo with tacit support from their governments in the Middle East were examples of semi-official second-track diplomacy. Away from the media spotlight, second-track diplomacy avoided embarrassment or “losing face” for all sides and could be useful in setting an agenda for official talks. Behera (2003) also maintained that track-two diplomacy is supposed to feed into official diplomacy by serving as a “testing ground” for new policy initiatives and in creating a public place constituency.
2.4.2. NGOs as Facilitators
The term “facilitation” was generally used to describe a third party’s informal role in bringing parties together in open-ended dialogue without resort to any formal authority to impose either a predetermined process or preferred solution (Huber, 2004: 5). Rupesinghe and Anderlini (1998: 128) defined facilitators as “those people who can guide and drive a communications or negotiations process forward. Facilitators should have a thorough knowledge of the conflict and strong analytical and mediation skills. They can range from ‘outsider neutral’ diplomats, special envoys or politicians who shuttle in and out, remaining neutral and giving objectivity and balance to events, to ‘insider partials’ that is local leaders, influential persons or local organisations who live in the conflict and have a strong commitment to the long-term stability of the region”.
However, as maintained by Albin (1999: 374), little work of a theoretical or more general nature had been carried out on NGOs in processes of international negotiations. Natsios (1997: 338-340) noted two characteristics of conflict which encouraged policy makers to turn to NGOs to provide not only traditional humanitarian aid but also conflict resolution and reconciliation interventions.
“1. The breakdown of central authority and the size of numerous centers of power is surely one reason why some policy makers are turning to NGOs with deep roots in the community and the lowest level of social organization as sources of indigenous authority that might act as mediators among warring parties…”.
“2. …the absence of discipline not just among but within those diffuse centres of power. We are seeing the egalitarian imperative being played out in the collapsing hierarchies of the military units (regular and irregular) and political movements involved in conflict. Factional leaders and warlords no longer exercise the same degree of control over their own forces that they did under the older centralized model. Conflicts are being driven by followers more than leaders. Indeed, in some conflicts warlords become prisoners of their own militias”.
In particular, Stein (2000: 384) also stated that NGOs were playing a growing role, directly and indirectly only in part because they could make use of some the less traditional, integrative strategies of conflict resolution. More importantly, states were increasingly less willing to run the risks created by strategies to mitigate violence.
Furthermore, Natsios (1997: 354) argued that NGOs did have some tools at their disposal: appeals to powerful donor governments (like the United States or the European Union) that the conflict’s parties either respect or fear, threats to expose the contestants to the international media and warnings to the contestants that diversions would cause donor governments to terminate relief programs altogether”.
However, in fulfilling that role, NGO had a significant weakness. As stated by Rupesinghe and Anderlini (1998: 126), “NGOs must be aware of potential threats to themselves and the extent to which they may be endangering local partners…Another critical question to be faced is whether a particular project or region falls within the competencies of an NGO. The point of entry into a conflict, consent from disputants and access to them are crucial”.
That was supposed to explain why many NGOs preferred to be involved in peace building activities. Rigby (2001: 957) estimated there were some 400 such groups around the world that could be characterized as national or international, non-profit, charitable organisations committed to working with or alongside local and international actors in analyzing, understanding and responding to conflict in constructive and creative ways.
2.4.3. Importance of Including Civil Society
It was argued that civil society was an important factor in preventive diplomacy in at least two ways. It was often a part of the crises that preventive diplomacy aims at de-escalating. It could also be an instrument in finding appropriate solutions. It would be futile to engage in conflict prevention without taking careful account of the effects of various measures not only on government but on all actors in societies. The United Nations and other practitioners of preventive diplomacy had, therefore, to have access to the viewpoints and concerns of civil society, through formal or internal channels (Elliasson, 2000: 228).
Hackett (2000: 281) was also of the opinion that support to local organizations that promote participation and pluralism was part of the process to ensure lasting peace. Local NGOs brought a particular advantage to peacemaking efforts. They were knowledgeable about the complexity of local conflicts, and when they enjoyed the confidence of local communities and leaders, they were more able to effect change that national, regional, or international organizations cannot. By strengthening local NGOs in civil society, constituencies could be created that held governments accountable to adopting policies that minimized conflict.
2.5. Prerequisites for Peace
It was argued that the success of peace negotiations was dependent on the “ripeness” of the situations. As stated by Zartman (2003: 19), parties resolved their conflict when they were ready to do so-when alternative, usually unilateral, means of achieving a satisfactory result were blocked and the parties felt that they were in uncomfortable and costly predicament. At that ripe moment, they grabbed onto proposals that usually had been in up in the air for a long period of time and only now appeared attractive. Also Walter (2002: 58) maintained that the most popular explanation for the success or failure of negotiations focused on the importance of situational factors, conditions that made civil wars ‘ripe for resolution’. Three conditions in particular were believed to make war less attractive and encouraged combatants to pursue a compromise solution: the high costs of war, military stalemate, and certain domestic political institutions.
The Concept of a ripe moment centred on the parties’ perception of a mutually hurting stalemate (MHS), optimally associated with an impending, past or recently avoided catastrophe. The concept was based on the notion that when parties found themselves locked in a conflict from which they could not escalate to victory and this deadlock was painful to both of them (although not necessarily in equal degree or for the same regions), they sought an alternative policy or way out (Zartman, 2003: 347).
2.5.2. Third Party Guarantor
It was argued that the third party guarantor factor was crucial in preserving peace agreements. Walter (2002: 105), for example, stated that a closer examination of the cases revealed that combatants in a majority of negotiations actively sought outside security guarantees and often made this a key demand on settlement. In 70 percent of civil wars in which the combatants eventually signed a bargain, either rebels, the government, or both requested a third party to help implement the agreement.
It was suggested that third party guarantor was needed to control and manage the spoilers. Stedman (1997: 6) argued that the crucial dividing line between the success and failure of spoilers was the role played by international actors as custodian of peace. Where international custodians had created and implemented coherent, effective strategies for protecting peace and managing spoilers, damage had been limited and peace had triumphed. Where international custodians had failed to develop and implement such strategies, spoilers had succeeded at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.
2.6. Challenges to Negotiations
2.6.1. Volatile Nature of Current Conflicts
It was suggested by many authors that civil wars were more difficult to resolve. Hackett (2000: 273) stated that civil war conflict proved difficult to resolve through traditional methods. Instead in wars between nation states, conflict often appeared as the struggles for power and dominance within states; pitting elite, ethnic, and religious groups against one another, often amid the breakdown of government.
Furthermore, Anderson (1999: 12) also asserted that civil wars also produced gangs that took advantage of the attendant lawlessness to threaten, rob, rape, and kill common people. Although these gangs might fight for one side, they were rarely fully under the control of the structures of war, so it was difficult to predict when they would follow the orders of the commanders who normally presided over them. They were organized by and were primarily loyal to the members of their own group and very often operated with impunity and recklessness towards others in their society.
In addition, it was stated by Walter (1997: 335), unlike interstate war, civil wars rarely ended in negotiated settlements. Between 1940 and 1990, 55 percent of interstate wars were resolved at the bargaining table, whereas only 20 percent of civil wars achieved similar outcomes. Instead, most internal wars ended with extermination, expulsion, or the capitulation of the losing side. In fact, groups fighting civil wars almost always chose to fight to the finish unless an outside power stepped in to guarantee a peace agreement. If a third party agreed to enforce the terms of a peace treaty negotiations always succeeded regardless of the initial goals, ideology, or ethnicity of the participants. If a third party did not intervene, these talks usually failed. And as also argued by Licklider (1995: 681), interstate opponents would presumably eventually retreat to their territories, but in civil wars the members of the two sides had to live side by side and work together in common government after the killing stops. Compromise was particularly difficult because the stake was control of the new government, and this, was literally, a life and death issue for combatants.
Furthermore, Zartman (cited by Licklider, 1995: 683) made the case for powerful argument that a likely outcome of internal wars was de facto secession, where each side had effective, unchallenged control of a territory and population. Most uprisings would be crushed, but for many others a kind of balance emerged. The government would have more resources-than its opponents, but the rebellion was not only-or even the most important-item on its agenda. The rebels compensated for lack of resources-with intense commitment.
There were always challenges to peace. Stedman (1997: 5) stated that the greatest source of risk came from spoilers-leaders and parties who believed that peace emerging from negotiations threatened their power, worldview, and interests and used violence to undermine attempts to achieve it.
Furthermore, it was argued by Stedman (1997: 7) that peace created spoilers because it was very rare in civil wars for all leaders and factions to see peace as beneficial. Even if all parties came to value peace, they rarely did so simultaneously, and they often strongly disagreed over the terms of an acceptable peace. A negotiated peace often had losers: leaders and factions who did not achieve their war aims. Nor could every war find a compromise solution that addresses the demands of all the warring parties”.
However, other many authors looked into it from an economic perspective. For example, Anderson (1999: 13) argued that economic gains were enjoyed by warlords whose personal coffers were enriched by territorial conquest, theft, and taxation. Warriors and gangs of thugs also used the power of their weapons to gain personal wealth. Moreover, as was suggested by Keen (2000: 27), civil wars had been usually presented as a contest between the government and rebel groups, with each seeking to win the war and defeat the enemy. Diplomats and journalist had tended to operate within this conceptual framework. However, the image or war as a contest had sometimes come to serve as a smokescreen for the emergence of a wartime political economy from which rebels and even the government (and government affiliated groups) might be benefiting. As a result of these benefits, some parties might be more anxious to prolong a war than to win it.
Many authors argued that diasporas were also responsible for spoiling peace. For example, Anderson (1999: 18) also argued that “another group that sometimes perpetuates war and makes peace more difficult include people who are related to the area in which a conflict is underway but who live in another location, the diaspora communities. Sometimes these people fled when war erupted and established themselves as an exiled group”.
Furthermore, it was stated by Shain and Barth (2003: 452) that “a recent study by the World Bank concluded that ‘by far the strongest effect of war on the risk of subsequent war works through diasporas. After five years of post conflict peace, the risk of renewed conflict is around six times higher in the societies with the largest diasporas in America than those without American diasporas’. Presumably this effect works through the financial contributions of diasporas to rebel organizations”.
Many experts had argued that natural disasters could open the window of opportunities for peace. This was based on considerations that reconstruction after disasters in conflict areas needed peace, and international support was crucial in this phase (Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon and Davis, 2004). There had also been a lot of research done on the topic of why negotiations failed and on how to conduct successful negotiations (Walter, 1997; Zartman, 2003). The roles of NGOs were significant in creating peace and they were now getting more support and opportunities (Elliason, 2000; Hackett, 2000; Natsios, 1997; Kaye, 2001). However, of course, some problems emerged, such as those from spoilers and diasporas which needed international support, such as a third party guarantor, to contain them (Stedman, 1995; Anderson, 1999; Walter, 2002). In the next chapter, the author examines the impact of natural disasters on peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 to 2000, and also on peace negotiations between the LTTE and GoSL in Sri Lanka in the first half of 2005.
Lessons from Ethiopia and Eritrea (1998-2000) and Sri Lanka (2005)
In this chapter, the author examines the peace negotiations during Ethiopia and Eritrea war from 1998 to 2000, and between the LTTE and GoSL in 2005. The analysis uses composite analytical frameworks and concepts from several authors, such as Walter (1997), Licklider (1995), Stern and Druckman (2000), Zartman and Rubin (2002), Stedman (1997)and Anderson (1999). The case of the Ethiopia-Eritrea war is taken as a lesson of peace negotiations on the level of states, and the lesson of Sri Lanka is seen as an example of a civil war, both in post-disaster situations.
3.2. Nature of the Wars
3.2.1. An Interstate War
The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea reignited on 6 May 1998 when Eritrean troops invaded Badme, an area under Tigrean administration which had not been contested by the Eritreans since the early 1980s. The Eritrean Government argued that Eritrea had not violated the internationally recognized borders between the two countries. However, the Ethiopians denied this idea and demanded an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of invading Eritrean forces, and warned that Ethiopia reserved the right to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Observers later observed that most of the fighting in 1998 and 1999 took place between the colonial border recognized by Eritrea, and the boundary as marked on the new Tigrean maps (Lata, 2003: 166). The second phase of the war started again in February 1999, when Ethiopia broke through Eritrean trenches and took back Badme. The last round of fighting occurred in May 2000, when Ethiopia breached Eritrean defense lines to advance far beyond the territory under contention (Lata, 2003: 171). Ultimately, in June 2000, the warring parties signed the Cessation of Hostilities.
Figure 1: Map of Ethiopia and Eritrea (CNN, 2000)
3.2.2. The Civil War
The LTTE, founded in 1976, led the uprising of Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka against the GoSL in 1983. The LTTE based their cause on the claims that the GoSL had discriminated against Tamils politically, economically, and culturally. The insurgents advanced the secessionist movement when anti-Tamil riots in 1983 caused the deaths of an estimated several hundreds Tamils after 13 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in an LTTE ambush.
After a series of violent incidents by the LTTE, including the killings of Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Premadasa in 1993, the Norwegian Government began its mission as the intermediary for peace in 2000. This process culminated in a Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed by the GoSL and LTTE in February 2002. However, the Tamil Tigers withdrew from peace talks in April 2003 after the GoSL refused the LTTE’s proposal to establish an Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) in eight districts namely: Amparai, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Killonochi, Mannar, Mullativu, Trincomalee and Vavuniya in the north-east (BBCNews, 2003). Furthermore, there was internal division within the GoSL and the Sinhalese, while the LTTE’s eastern commander, V. Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna, broke away from the mainstream LTTE in the north in 2004.
3.3. The Natural Disasters
3.3.1. Drought-Induced Famine
In 1999, belg (short) crops in Ethiopia largely failed due to drought. The worst hit was Wello and Tigray. Land preparation and sowing of long-cycle maize and sorghum in East and West Haraghe and North Omo were also delayed, and these crops were replaced by lower yielding, short-term crops (teff, wheat, and barley). In North Wello and South Tigray over 20,000 cattle were reported to have died due to a lack of foodd and water. Southern and eastern pastoral areas had some good rains but not enough to recover from consecutive year of drought and severe water shortage. High levels of livestock mortality were also reported (White and Cliffee, 2000: 4; White, 2005: 10).
During 1999-2000, Ethiopia suffered its worst food security crisis in a decade and a half. High levels of malnutrition prevailed for several years in the country, and high levels of excess mortality were observed in areas of the Somali Region from early to mid-2000. Overall, 10 million were estimated to be in need of assistance at the peak of the crisis (Maxell, 2002: 48).
During the same period, Eritreans also faced drought. It was reported that one million Eritreans, nearly a third of its population, faced starvation (Guardian, 2000b). Normally, Eritrean Government bought surplus grain from the highlands and sold it cheaply to people of the lowland villages such as Giset during the dry season. However, this was not possible in 2000, as hundreds of thousands of people in the highlands were forced by the border war to leave their homes and live in camps (Guardian, 2000a).
In the situation of “no peace and no war”, on the 26th of December 2004, a tsunami hit Sri Lanka killing more than 30,000 persons and displaced more than a half million. It was reported that most of the victims were located in the LTTE-held areas, such as Jaffna, Killochi, Mullitavu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. However, some areas held by GoSl were also hard hit, such as Hambantata, Matara, and Galle.
Figure 2: Map of Sri Lanka (Yahoo, 2005)
3.4. International Mediation
After a group of facilitators failed to convince Eritrea of a peace deal, the next mediation was carried out by the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The proposal submitted by the OAU in June 1998 also embraced the idea of Eritrean withdrawal from Badme and its environs to positions they held prior to May 1998. The UN found it politic to endorse the proposal. The US (United States) government backed OAU efforts to operationalize them. The European Union (EU), too, gave all-out support to the OAU-led mediation effort (Lata, 2003: 167-168).
Nevertheless, Eritrea once again rejected the proposal and instead wanted Ethiopia declared as the guilty party for detaining thousands of Eritreans and expelling others. Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki criticized the OAU for disregarding numerous violations of its charter by regional hegemonies and dictatorial elites. Moreover, as the OAU headquarters was located in the Ethiopian capital, the OAU was regarded by Eritrea as in-neutral and failed itself as a credible mediator. The situation was exacerbated when Ethiopian Government declared Eritrea’s permanent representative to the OAU as persona non grata (Lata, 2003: 170).
After losing Badme in February 1999, Eritrea Government announced that it had accepted the OAU Framework setting out the peaceful resolution of the border dispute. However, the Ethiopian Government refused to stop the war by arguing that the Eritrean acceptance was a strategy for gaining time to recover from its heavy defeat by the successful Operation Sunset (Negash and Tronvoll, 2000: 86).
However, mediation efforts ultimately succeeded on 18 June 2000 when foreign ministers of the two countries signed the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. The peace agreement itself was signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea on 12 December 2000 in Algiers, on the basis of the Framework Agreement and its modalities mediated by the OAU and supported by the UN.
3.4.2. Norwegian Government
Long before the tsunami, in 2000 The Norwegian Government started to facilitate peace talks between GoSL and the LTTE. This culminated in the signing of the CFA in 2002. After the tsunami, the Norwegian Government continued to facilitate the peace process in particular, by forcing both parties to form a joint mechanism to manage the tsunami-related aid and assistance.
Norwegian mediation was backed by several countries. The Dutch Ambassador to Sri Lanka, in echoing the opinion of the EU, felt that the joint mechanism, later known as the Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS), would make the delivery of aid more efficient and increase funds from donors (TamilNet, 2005a), and the US, through its Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina B. Rocca, also saw that a joint mechanism was an opportunity to build trust between the parties and was therefore an important contribution to building trust between the parties and was a major contribution to the peace process should it come into fruition (TamilNet, 2005b). Finally the PTOMS was signed by the GoSL and LTTE in June 2005.
3.5. Prerequisites for Peace
3.5.1. Ripe Situations
After losing Badme and its surrounding areas to Ethiopia in March, Eritrea finally accepted the OAU’s Framework Agreement for peace. It was argued that the loss of Badme to Ethiopia was a terrible blow for the Eritrean army and for the prestige of President Issaias Afwerki. Prior to this defeat he was reported to have said that expecting Eritrea to withdraw was as unlikely as the sun never rising again (Negash and Trovoll, 2000: 74). It was also estimated that more than 35 per cent of Eritrea’s able bodied men and women were armed at the front lines. Consequently, the war had an ernomous impact on the Eritrean economy and society by draining the state’s scarce resources (Negash and Tronvoll, 2000: 2).
Furthermore, the World Food Program estimated that there were then some 750,000 Eritreans who were displaced by the fighting. Most were from the Gash Barka region, which produced the bulk of Eritrea’s grain. The region had already been badly affected by drought before the hostilities (IRIN, 2000). In particular, infrastructure for the government services, including those relating to agriculture, livestock, and other assets were abandoned and destroyed (White, 2005: 12).
In January 2000, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) Appeal for Eritrea targeted a total of 584,000 people (almost 20 percent of the Eritrean population) of whom the majority (372,000), were classed as war-affected and the remainder drought-affected. The war-affected population included 266,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 28,000 rural deportees from Ethiopia and 77,000 people in host communities affected by the influx of IDPs. A further 39,000 urban deportees were largely left to fend for themselves. The Sudanese authorities also reported that 20,000 Eritreans fled to Sudan to escape the Ethiopian advance (White and Cliffee, 2000: 11-12). Moreover, Eritrea’s economy, which used to depend partly on trade with Ethiopia, was also in trouble after nearly two years of war (Dese, 1999).
For the other side, it was estimated that the Ethiopian Government spent more than 1 $ million every day maintaining half a million soldiers along the Eritrean border in addition to resettling and feeding up to 350,000 civilians displaced by the conflict. One-tenth of the country’s trucks were used to ferry personnel and war material to the northern front (Jeffrey, 2000). When Ethiopia surprised Eritrea in the May 2000 offensive, the Ethiopian Prime Minister justified it as an effort to end the war quickly because his drought-stricken country could not afford another year living in a state of conflict (White, 2005: 13).
Similarly, because of the tsunami large sums of money were needed for relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation in Sri Lanka. The GoSL estimated it would need US$1.6 billion approximately to rebuild towns, schools and other infrastructure that had been destroyed (TamilNet, 2005a). The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) argued that if the GoSL failed to agree on the PTOMS, the aid would go directly to the Tigers and LTTE controlled NGOs. Such a failure would also leave the GoSL out of the decision-making process for reconstruction. Furthermore, it was argued, the GoSL’s credibility with the Tamils, all tsunami victims in the North and the East, and the international community, would be shattered (TamilNet, 2005c).
As for the LTTE, it was reported that the tsunami caused a massive setback, particularly for its Sea Tigers naval force. Of the 2,800 LTTE cadres who perished, 2,100 were Sea Tiger personnel. Before the tsunami, the strength of the Sea Tigers which had been increasing significantly since the current ceasefire, stood at between 5,000 and 6,000. This also included onshore marine engineering and maintenance personnel, naval communications and intelligence cadres and the Black Sea Tigers suicide units (Lankanewspapers, 2005).
3.5.2. International Support and Aid Conditionality
In Ethiopia, it was suggested that political factors contributed to the lateness of recent foreign contribution to the Food Security Reserve (FSR). Both the EU and US, along with other multilateral organizations, had cut back or eliminated development assistance and suspended any discussion of debt relief, as punishment for Eritrea’s war with Eritrea (Jeffrey, 2000). The UK, for example, indicated that funding was dependent on progress in the peace negotiations, although it confirmed that humanitarian aid would continue (Christian Aid, 2005).
Similarly, in Sri Lanka, it was reported that international donors pledged US$3 billion in aid, but stressed the importance of progress in resolving the island’s protracted ethnic conflict to pave the way for the disbursement. Over 200 delegates from fifty donor states and agencies contributed to Sri Lanka’s post-tsunami and post-conflict aid requirements and related issues. Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary, P. B. Jeyasundra said the pledges included US $745 million in bilateral assistance, US$631 million by multilateral agencies and US$853 million by NGOs. A further US$300 million was to be accrued in the form of debt-relief (TamilNet, 2005a).
3.5.3. The Need for An Effective Third Party Guarantor
At the final stage of the war on 12 May 2000, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1297 which expressed concern at the renewal fighting and warned that the new outbreak of violence had a serious humanitarian implication for the civilian population of both countries. The UN Secretary-General issued a statement deeply deploring the resumption of large-scale fighting. He urgently appealed to both countries to cease hostilities immediately and return to the process of negotiation. On 17 May 2000, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1928 which imposed measures aimed at preventing the supply of weapons or arms-related assistance to the two countries (UNMEE, 2005). According to that resolution, all states should prevent the sale or supply to Eritrea and Ethiopia of weapons, ammunition, military vehicles, equipment and spare parts, as well as any provision to the countries of technical aid or training related to the manufacture or use of arms.
On 31 June, 2000, the Security Council, through Resolution 1312, decided to establish United Nations Missions in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) consisting of up to 100 military observers and the necessary civilian support in anticipation of a peacekeeping operation subject to future authorization. On 9 August 2000, the UN Secretary-General outlined the mandate of the expanded UNMEE and recommended a total of 4,200 military personnel, including 220 military observers, three infantry battalions and necessary support units, to promote the ceasefire and the border delineation between Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE, 2002).
For Sri Lanka, there was no third party guarantor. The GoSL and the LTTE signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the PTOMS in June 2005, a joint tsunami aid sharing mechanism that would allow for the distribution of relief funds to all affected areas in Sri Lanka. The General Secretary of the UN Kofi Annan only expressed his pleasure and welcomed the inclusion of the Muslim minority in the committees that would administer the funds (TamilNet, 2005d), and similarly, Japan, the US, and the EU backed the agreement as well, however, it was still far from the role of a third party guarantor. Therefore, the peace process in Sri Lanka was questionable.
3.6. Challenges to Negotiations
3.6.1. Spoilers in Ethiopia and Eritrea
It was argued that the nature of the Eritrean (Tigrean) leadership was responsible for the start of the war. According to Medhane Tadese, the life of an Eritrean was submerged by the sanctity of the Eritrean “State”. The motto was “the right of the Eritrean nation is supreme to the right of Eritreans”. The slogan was everything to the nation, nothing for the individual. The government in Eritrea remained under the firm control of the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front (EPLF), a dictatorial military organizations which in every aspect was the continuation of the guerrilla movement. Accordingly, many argued that the military syndrome was still dominant. Consequently, many Eritreans and their leaders considered Eritrea as an exception, with its strong and unparalled military arm (1999: 119-121).
According to Fiona Lortan (2000), Eritrea’s initial strategic assessment of the Ethiopia war was based on the political fragility of Ethiopia’s ethnic coalition government. That is, Eritrea believed that the existing resentment of the minority Tigrayan Government in Addis Ababa would grow as the rest of the Ethiopian population would perceive the conflict to be a Tigrayan war. For this reason, Eritrea provided material support to Ethiopian opposition groups, most notably the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), as well as the Islamic fundamentalist group Al-Ittihad Al Islami, which operated in both Ethiopia and Somalia.
On the other side, Ethiopians believed that Eritrea would collapse if Ethiopia could prolong the war. The strategic assessment was based on Eritrea’s vulnerability to shocks because of its limited physical and economic capacity (Lortan, 2000).
3.6.2. Spoilers in Sri Lanka
Within Sri Lanka, there were four main groups of spoilers which threatened the peace negotiations:
As argued by Christina B. Rocca, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, the LTTE continued to use assassinations and suicide bombers, which underscored their character as an organization wedded to terrorism, and was thus labelled as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (TamilNet, 2005b). The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) also reported that from the truce in 2002 until April 2005, the Tigers were responsible for 2,873 violations, compared to 129 violations by government forces. Most of the Tiger’s violations were related to the recruitment of child soldiers.
The Karuna faction was believed to be involved in the political killings of the LTTE’s cadres. One of the most notorious killings was the killing of a senior leader of the Tiger’s political arm in eastern Sri Lanka, E. Kausalyan and five of his associates. The LTTE blamed the state forces, although the GoSL condemned these killings.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)
The JVP was a coalition partner of SLFP in the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government when they won the general elections in April 2004. The JVP quit the government just before President Chandrika Kumaratunga signed the PTOMS. The JVP brought the case to court because it said the PTOMS was unconstitutional. According to Wimal Weerawansa, propaganda secretary of JVP, donor countries and their NGO agents were holding Sri Lanka to ransom. It was believed that the JVP’s anti-globalisation stance received support from thousands of rural and urban poor marginalized by the World Bank and the IMF economic restructuring policies (TamilNet, 2005e).
Elements of the Sri Lankan Military
The LTTE believed that some elements in the Sri Lanka military, for example, the military intelligence wing, backed the killings of the LTTE’s cadres through Colonel Karuna and paramilitaries in the military controlled areas or near to the SLA checkpoints. The GoSL denied its involvement and but also blamed the Karuna faction (unspun.mithuro, 2005). Before the tsunami in 2004, media and international monitors disclosed the presence of Karuna cadres in government-controlled areas (Amesty International, 2004).
It was found by Byman, Chalk, Hoffman and Rosenau (2001), that the LTTE ran sophisticated internal revenue-generating operations that drew heavily on diasporas contributions. There were four main important contributions:
1. Direct contributions from migrant communities;
2. Funds siphoned off from contributions given to NGOs, charities and benevolent groups;
3. People smuggling; and
4. Investments made in legitimate, Tamil-run business.
The exact amount or percentage breakdown drawn from each of these sources was not known. Combined, however, they were thought to provide at least $50 million in total a year in operating revenue (Byman, Chalk, Hoffman and Rosenau, 2001: 49-50).
The LTTE was reported to focus on countries with large Tamil expatriate communities, particularly the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. These three countries were estimated to provide up to $1.5 million a month to the LTTE cause. Most of this money was procured via a standard, baseline “tax” that was imposed, as a minimum obligation, on all families living in the respective host state. In Canada, the 1999 sum ran to $240 a year per household (Byman, Chalk, Hoffman and Rosenau, 2001: 50).
3.7. Excluded Role of Civil Society Groups
In Ethiopia, the voice of civil society groups was not heard, eventhough as stated by Tekeste Negash, the Ethiopian people refused to get involved in the war carried out by the conscripted soldiers of the Ethiopian military government (Tadesse, 1999: 122). Moreover, national NGOs were seen as only the artificial product of the international need for tool for the delivery of relief assistance, and did not reflect the organic evolution and indigenous consolidation of civil society (Vaughn and Tronvoll, 2002: 63).
Similarly, in Sri Lanka, civil society groups did not participate in peace negotiations even when the civil society groups supported the peace process. For example, Jayathunga, General Secretary of the Sri Lankan Teachers Union, argued that people in the south were against the resumption of the war. He accused the power-seeking politicians infusing the idea of the war in the minds of people in the south (TamilNet, 2005h). In particular, the Tamil Refugee Organization (TRO), which was accused of being a terrorist organisation by some (Zunzer, 2004: 28), was a key actor for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the North and East (TamilNet, 2005b).
It is clear from the analysis above that the peace negotiations were more difficult in ending the civil war in Sri Lanka, as argued by Walter (1997). This stemmed from the number of spoiling factors, which did not exist in the interstate war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, such as the root causes of the protracted social conflict in civil wars and the existence of diasporas. International mediators also found it difficult to guarantee the peace negotiations in Sri Lanka because the problems were more complex. In the interstate war, there were only two actors, whereas in Sri Lanka civil war, there were a number of stakeholders which included the LTTE, Karuna faction, the UNP, the JVP, and the Sri Lankan military with their own agendas. Last, in the interstate war, it was clear that the aid conditionality from donors was strong enough to pressure the warring parties to continue negotiations. In the next chapter, the author examines the peace negotiations in Aceh prior to the tsunami, especially the case of the CoHA.
A Shaky Framework for Peace:
The CoHA 2002 in Aceh
This chapter initially examines the root causes and phases of the secessionist rebellion instigated by GAM in Aceh. Secondly, the author looks into the track-two mediation facilitated by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC). In addressing why the framework for peace collapsed, the author employs the concepts of ripeness (Zartman, 2003), spoilers (Stedman, 1997), diasporas (Anderson, 1999) and the third-party guarantor (Walter, 2002). In the last subsection, the author states the importance of involving civil society groups in the negotiation process (Eliasson, 2000).
4.2. Nature of the Civil War: GAM versus the GoI
It was widely believed that the civil war in Aceh was mainly caused by economic reasons. For example, Aspinall and Berger (2001: 1017) argued that the emergence of a separatist movement in Aceh in the 1970s was directly related to the growth of the massive oil and natural gas zone around Lhokseumawe in North Aceh. This created the perception that Acehnese natural resources and wealth were being drained out of Aceh. GAM, founded in 1976, proclaimed the independence of Aceh on 4 December 1976. Furthermore, Al Chaidar (1999: 140) maintained that another major contributory to the conflict was the highly centralistic government in Jakarta. With the absence of any financial balance between the central government and Aceh, Aceh became a poor province. Al Chaidar has quoted an anecdote which illustrates this in 1970s, “In Jakarta there are many bridges with no rivers, but in Aceh there are many rivers with no bridges”.
In addition to this, Al Chaidar (1999: 137) has explained the root cause of the conflict sociologically. He maintained that Suharto’s New Order, perenially, treated Aceh like a bonsai, which meant it could not grow bigger. Accordingly, the Javanese and Bataks were regarded as “scissors” which cut the bonsai. Work opportunities were prioritized for workers from outside Aceh, who lived luxuriously. This created injustice and marginalization among the Acehenese, who lived in poverty.
After the rebellion was suppressed and Hasan di Tiro fled in 1979, hundreds of GAM guerrillas who had undergone training in Libya since 1986 came back to Aceh and rekindled a rebellion again in 1989 (Shulze, 2004: 4). Ross (2003: 16) estimated between 250 and 2,000 GAM recruits, drawn primarily from the Acehnese population in Malaysia, slipped into Aceh from Malaysia and Singapore. Many ex-military and police officers, dismissed by the state anti-narcotics campaign in Aceh, also joined GAM and began to attack military installations and personnel. To crush the insurgency, the Indonesian Government introduced Martial Law through the Military Operations Area (DOM (Daerah Operasi Militer)) which lasted from 1989 to 1998.
However, the biggest rebellion by GAM started in 1999, when GAM increased in number and became better funded, and then challenged the Indonesian government’s control of the province. In 1998, with the fall of Suharto and the lifting of DOM, overseas Acehnese, many in of whom were exiled in Malaysia, began to return to the province. Furthermore, the January 1999 announcement by President Habibie on East Timor’s referendum inspired a surge of hope throughout Aceh that a similar referendum might be called (Shie, 2005: 15). Violence and human rights abuses by the Indonesian military during the DOM period strengthened the cause for independence and popular support among the Acehnese. The table below describes the human rights violations during the DOM.
Table 1: Human Rights Violations in Aceh during the Military Operation Region (1989-1998)
Type of Violation
Source: Compiled by ELSAM (The Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy) from various sources, 1999 (Sulistiyanto, 2001: 442).
4.3. Weak NGO Mediation: HDC
4.3.1. Unclear Entry Point
Little was known why the HDC was interested in facilitating the negotiations between GAM and the GoI. One author, Kay (2003: 2) argued that HDC was looking for a conflict that needed its service and would put the organization and its mission on the map. Kay (2003: 5) maintained that the HDC had funds but they did not have recognition for mediation or very many clients. They sent a researcher to East Timor, which had already been successful in its independence struggle, and this researcher reported back that the next frontier of negotiations was Aceh. Despite having no regional experts or Indonesian speaking staffs, it was invited by President Abdurrahman Wahid to participate in the negotiations.
The Indonesian Government in the past always argued that the conflict taking place in Aceh was its domestic affair. However, there were, at least, two reasons why the GoI was willing to accept HDC’s proposal for peace negotiations. Firstly, President Abdurrahman Wahid was believed to be more interested in solving the conflict by peaceful means (Fachrurriza, 2003: 2-3). Secondly, it was track-two (NGO) mediation which did not involve the UN or other countries. This was important as the Indonesian Government had long refused international intervention (Kay, 2003: 3). The Indonesian Government was wary of having the international community involved in the Aceh peace process because of their experience with East Timor which ultimately brought about the independence for East Timor with a referendum. The Indonesian Government, however, accepted the “soft” involvement of the international community, as in the case of the Henry Dunant Centre (McCormack, Ishida and Hara, 2005: 13).
There were also, at least, two factors to be taken into considerations as to why GAM accepted the negotiations. Firstly, GAM wanted to be internationally recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Acehnese community. GAM also wanted to analogize their situation to East Timor. It believed that the involvement of the international community would ultimately bring about independence in Aceh through a referendum (McCormack, Ishida and Hara, 2004: 12). Secondly, GAM believed that negotiations would force the Indonesian Government to give GAM official recognition (Fachrurriza, 2003: 30).
4.3.2. The Little Known HDC
HDC, founded by Martin Griffith, a British diplomat who had spent a significant time in humanitarian organizations such as Action Aid and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), was officially launched in January 1999, registered under Swiss law as independent international institution for promoting humanitarian dialogue. Its specific aim is to bring together parties, through dialogue on humanitarian issues and mediation in conflict zones, in order to reach agreements that reduce the human cost of conflict, increase security, and ultimately contribute to the resolution of conflict (HDCentre, 2005).
In its mission statement, the HDC stated that it recognized the intrinsic value of dialogue with its respect for individuals and their different views. It believed that dialogue about humanitarian issues can unite the divided, create a common vision and build trust between people. It also believed that dialogue could also lead to the discovery and acceptance of a peaceful means of resolving dispute. It was financially supported by a number of donors, including governments, private foundations and other humanitarian organisations (HDCentre, 2005).
However, the author found that the HDC was relatively unknown by many Indonesian political elites and officials. Many of them did not have a very high opinion of the HDC. One influential Indonesian political figure, Amin Rais, also a presidential candidate in 2004 election, described the HDC as an NGO of little significance.
4.3.3. Meagre International Support
The primary interest of the UN in Aceh was to provide assistance to those who were in greatest need, such as the 100,000 internally displaced person in 1999. In 2001, the UN-OCHA established the United Nations Resource Centre (UNRC) in Banda Aceh to facilitate the coordination of humanitarian activities among UN agencies, NGOs and the local government (McCormack, Ishida and Hara, 2005: 12).
The United State’s interest in resolving the conflict in Aceh was two-fold. First, since the September 11 attacks, the US had focussed its attention on resolving regional conflicts around the globe as part of the war against terrorism. The second reason involved protecting the presence of ExxonMobil in Aceh. In March 2001, for example, ExxonMobil was forced to shut down the operation of its major plant, as a result of the constant danger from intensified conflicts in North Aceh (McCormack, Ishida and Hara, 2005: 11).
In addition, Japan, for example, had strong security and economic interests in Aceh. Japan had long relied on imports of oil and liquid natural gas from Indonesia. Moreover as argued by Wardhani (2004: 6), most states did not support Aceh’s bid for independence, as it would affect the stability of Southeast Asia as a whole.
However, the author found that the international support for HDC was meagre. When the warring parties of GAM and the GoI, broke the CoHA, HDC seemed unable to obtain international support to contain and manage the spoilers. Most of the support was financial lacking the political and military support which were mostly needed to maintain peace on the ground.
4.4. Not Ripe for Resolution
4.4.1. From the Humanitarian Pause (2000) to the CoHA (2002)
The first round of talks, facilitated by the HDC, started on 27 January 2000. After that, HDC facilitated a series of talks which produced the informal ceasefire, recognised as the Humanitarian Pause on 2 June 2000 which was later extended to 15 January 2001. The objectives of the Humanitarian Pause were:
· Delivery of humanitarian assistance to the population of Aceh affected by the conflict situation;
· Provision of security modalities with a view to supporting the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to reducing tension and violence which may cause further suffering; and
· Promotion of confidence-building measures towards a peaceful solution in Aceh (Galli, 2001: 74).
Ultimately the peace talks culminated in the signing of the CoHA on 9 December 2002 in Geneva. Briefly, the CoHA had four main concerns:
· Security: ceasefire, reduction of violence, creation of peace zones, demilitarization (relocation of TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Soldiers)) troops and storage of GAM weapons, reorganization of Brimob (Mobile Brigade) into a police force).
· Humanitarian Assistance: provision of humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced people.
· Reconstruction: rehabilitation and reconstruction of the infrastructures destroyed by the armed conflict.
· Civil Reformation: organization of dialogues for the strengthening of the democratic process in Aceh (Sentya, 2003: 3).
However, the CoHA ended after the last effort to save the peace process, on 18 May 2003 in Tokyo, resulted in failure. The GoI on 19 May 2003 introduced Presidential Decree 28/2003, what it called Operasi Terpadu (Integrated Operation), which put martial law into effect. In particular, the CoHA failed because the GAM refused to accept the GoI’s demands that GAM had to recognize the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, special autonomy arrangements for Aceh, and immediate disarmament (Sukma, 2004: viii).
4.4.2. The CoHA as the “Trojan Horse”
There was a debate as to whether the signing of CoHA resulted from the “ripeness” of the situation in Aceh. Kay (2003: 4) argued that the conflict in Aceh before CoHA had reached a “hurting stalemate”. However, Huber (2004: 3) thought differently. According to Huber, the belligerents faced insufficient pressure for change, whether from a hurting stalemate with their adversary, from domestic civil society and elite public opinion, or from international actors. The author also found that each of the warring parties used the CoHA as their “Trojan Horse” for their own political and military gains. There were several factors which seemingly strengthened this argument:
First was GAM’s claim for independence. GAM saw the negotiation process as central to its political strategy of internationalization and viewed internationalization as the only way to achieve independence. The dialogue was used to gain international legitimacy and obtain outside support for its struggle (Schulze, 2004: 51). As cited by Schulze (2004: 48), one leader of GAM, Malik Mahmud has been quoted saying:
The negotiations are within the framework of NKRI [Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia (Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia)]. But we have different interpretation of what that means. Our aim is still independence. We don’t talk about autonomy. For us it is a decolonization process.
The Humanitarian Pause was also seen as a Trojan horse for GAM, allowing it to raise taxes, recruit new members, and establish a parallel local administration while government forces were prohibited from offensive operations (Huber, 2004: 33).
Second was military resistance, which was clear as from his ascendance to power in 1999, President Abdurrahman Wahid, popularly known as Gus Dur, was always at odds with the military which urged him to put some parts of Aceh under emergency rule. The conflict between Gus Dur and the military began when Gus Dur tried to reform the military (Liddle, 2001). Gus Dur admitted that he was having great difficulty finding genuine reformers who would help him establish the foundation of civilian supremacy. Moreover, it was reported that the conservative military personnel were, perhaps, still thinking to return the situation how it was under Suharto. This included generals, who were willing to spend their money to fund widespread violence in order to maintain interests they had enjoyed for many years (Kusno, 2003: 7).
Third was GoI’s Insistence for Special Autonomy. After President Abdurrahman Wahid fell, following pressure from the military and parliament, Megawati Sukarnoputri succeeded him in July 2001. Megawati presented a new autonomy package (July, 2001) to GAM and firmly refused to entertain demands for independence. Under the new autonomy package Aceh, renamed Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), was offered an increase in the share of oil and gas revenue totalling 70 per cent as compared to 5 per cent under Suharto. In addition, Aceh was allowed to implement Sharia Law. Briefly, the negotiating stance of Megawati’s government was “autonomy or nothing”. However, GAM rejected this special autonomy package and began moving more steadily in the direction of independence for Aceh (Iyer, 2003: 6).
4.5. The Absence of An Effective Third Party Guarantor
A major weakness of the CoHA was that the agreement did not have a third party guarantor (Huber, 2004: 3-4). The HDC failed to establish a state or intergovernmental body to step in as a credible third party guarantor. Therefore, the HDC lacked the formal authority necessary to ensure an effective accord. According to Taf Haikal, Executive Director of Aceh NGOs Forum, the international persons, known as the “wise men”, did not represent their countries which weakened the HDC’s mediator’s position in front of the Indonesian military and police (Acehkita, 2005b).  These two events below might well illustrate this argument.
In May 2003, just after the collapse of CoHA, five GAM negotiators, Tgk Muhammad Usman Lampoh Awe, Teuku Kamaruzzaman, Tgk Amny Achmad Marzuki, Teungku Nashiruddin, and Teungku Sofyan Ibrahim Tiba, were arrested by Indonesian police and jailed for 11 to 15 years. In his jail in Sukamiskin, West Java, Teuku Kamaruzzaman has been quoted as saying:
That was what we regretted. They did not care about us at all. That was we knew. Because they have never seen us, since we’re arrested, tried in the court, and even until now. HDC should be responsible for the arrests of its negotiators. However, whether HDC had done something without our knowing to advocate our arrests, or now it is trying to free us, we do not know at all. The only thing we know is that they seem not to bother caring about us at all (Acehkita, 2005b).
And at the end of 2000 in the second period of the Humanitarian Pause, two GAM representatives in the Joint Committee on Security Modalities, Teungku Kamal and Sufrin Sulaiman, were killed apparently by security officers. However, the HDC did not do anything (Acehkita, 2005c).
4.6. Eager Spoilers to the Peace Process
4.6.1. Indonesian Military
The author saw that there were three factors which pushed the Indonesian military to spoil the peace process:
The first is the political factor. Leading elements in the Indonesian military had consistently argued for a forcible solution to the problem of Aceh and were opposed to the CoHA because they saw the agreement as implicit recognition of rebel forces which threatened the territorial integrity of Indonesia. One senior officer, Lieutenant General Kiki Syahnakri, attacked the CoHA as allowing GAM to campaign freely (Sherlock, 2003a: 5). In addition, when army chief of staff Ryamizard Ryacudu visited Aceh, he saw that certain parts of Aceh were divided into GAM areas and areas belonging to the Republic of Indonesia (Aguswandi, 2005c). It was reported also that the TNI had an interest in sustaining the insurgency in Aceh as a way of underlining its continuing importance in national life (ICG, 2001: 14).
The second factor was economic. Many authors maintained that the TNI had direct material and economic interests in maintaining a presence in Aceh. Sherlock (2003a: 6) noted that the official budget for the TNI had never covered more than a third of the real operating costs. The remainder was made up through officers’ official and unofficial involvement in private and government-owned business activities and by contributions from wealthy business people. These activities included illegal trade, unofficial levies on local interests and sheer extortion. Aceh had provided the best cover for the more lucrative fund-raising activities. It was an open secret that TNI officers had been involved in illegal logging, drug smuggling, extortion and other illegal activities in Aceh. For example, the 2002 Indonesian defence budget was US$800 million, less than 1 per cent of Indonesia’s GDP and less than 4 per cent of the government budget (Rabasa and Haseman, 2002: 70).
The ICG (2001: 13) also reported that the military as an institution generally obtained contributions from enterprises that its soldiers protected. Under its Production Sharing Contracts, ExxonMobil in Lhokseumawe, for example, paid the Indonesian state oil company, Pertamina, for limited logistical support to the 1,000 security forces protection for the Arun gas field. This support included some vehicles, accommodation, food, water, fuel and a small stipend for individual soldiers (Aspinall and Crouch, 2003: 3).
Third was factionalism within the military. It was believed that serious problems were also associated with the credibility of the military as instruments for internal and external security in the pos-Bali bombing environment. The TNI was ridden with factionalism, corruption, and functional capacity. The military had been accused of partisan involvement in civil conflicts and the sale of arms and explosives to the highest bidder (Sherlock, 2003b: 4). Cornelius Lay (cited by David Liebhold, 2001) believed there were two great factions within the military: those who were loyal to General Prabowo Subianto, Suharo’s son in law and those loyal to General Wiranto who served as Wahid’s Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs. Robert Hefner (2002: 22) noted that in 2000 the security officials failed to obey the President, Minister of Defence, and Governor of Maluku to prevent the Laskar Jihad from travelling to Maluku. The Laskar Jihad commander admitted that they were supported by military retirees.
The preponderance of Javanese in the military elite was also believed to play a role as GAM always blamed the Jakarta Javanese-dominated government as the new “colonizers”, who replaced the Dutch. The table below shows the ethnicity roots of the Indonesian military in 2001.
Table 2: Ethnicity of the Indonesian Military Elite
Number of Officers
Percentage of Total
Source: Cited from “Current Data on the Indonesian Military Elite, 2001: 137” (Rabasa and Haseman, 2002: 64).
There were also three factors to explain why GAM spoiled the CoHA. The first was political. GAM did not want to abandon its aim for independence on the grounds, which contradicted its position at the negotiations. GAM’s strategy in the negotiations was not a way to find any common ground with Jakarta but a means to compel the international community to pressure Jakarta into ceding independence. The exiled leadership of GAM, in addition, believed that Indonesia was a failed state about to implode (Schulze, 2004: 3). Sofyan Daud, commander and also spokesman of GAM, openly declared that the CoHA was only a first step towards Aceh’s independence. GAM considered that the local election in 2004 would not be part of the Indonesian general and presidential elections but a referendum to decide whether Aceh stayed in Indonesia. Daud maintained that three fourths of the population would favour GAM (Suryadinata, 2003).
In fact, by May 2003, GAM had gradually increased their active membership fivefold, expanded from their traditional stronghold areas into the rest of Aceh, and successfully controlled between 70 and 80 per cent of the province, which included a shadow civil service structure (Schulze, 2004: 2). The Governor of Aceh, Abdullah Puteh described local government as virtually paralyzed. In many areas GAM collected housing taxes, vehicle taxes, and arranged driving licenses. Even in the matters of marriage, the people preferred to deal with GAM rather than the local Religious Affairs Office (Aspinall and Crouch, 2003: 36).
Economic factors formed the second factor. In its propaganda campaign GAM denounced the “theft” of its mineral wealth by the Javanese. Speakers and pamphlets suggested that if independent, Aceh would be as wealthy as Brunei (Ross, 2003: 27). In its struggle, GAM had three main sources of revenue: taxation, foreign donations, and crime, involving drugs, and kidnapping (Schulze, 2004: 24-25). During the early period of the Humanitarian Pause in 2000, GAM was able to siphon off 50 to 75 per cent from some humanitarian assistance programs. Local partners of the international NGOs were presented with tax demands of 15 to 30 per cent. Chinese merchants were considered a “soft target” because they were comparatively wealthy and would stay out of the conflict. Contractors, civil servants, and the Javanese were seen as “legitimate targets” since they worked for the Indonesian provincial government, or were seen as potential collaborators with security forces.
Regarding ExxonMobil, GAM spokesman Isnander al-Pasi in 2002 maintained:
ExxonMobil is a legitimate target in war. Why? Because it helps the opponent’s military and now Exxon is housing a military base within its complex. And the people living next to Exxon tell us that they do not get anything from Exxon while Exxon takes our oil (cited by Schulze, 2004: 38-39).
The third factor was the existence of at least five factions within GAM. One was the exiled leadership in Sweden. The HDC maintained that GAM on the ground had become far more willing to accept an interim solution and said that a potential agreement had floundered on the exiled leadership (Schulze, 2004: 21). Aspinall and Crouch (2003: 52) also argued that it was the negotiators themselves on the GAM side who were hardliners. The Stockholm-based leaders were aware that their credibility among their followers would have been at stake if they had given up their fundamental goal of independence.
The second involved the lower ranks within GAM’s military wing (Tentara Negara Aceh (TNA)) in Aceh. Schulze (2004: 12-13) maintained that at the level of Panglima Sagoe, the TNA’s command was highly factionalized and the troops were the most undisciplined. Sometimes they were just bandits and stand-over men who exploited the chaos (Sherlock, 2003a: 7).
The third was the group led by Husaini Hasan who founded Group Eight (Kelompok Delapan (also known as MP (Majelis Pemerintahan (Government Council))-GAM) and was based in Malaysia. According to Al Chaidar (1999), Hasan Tiro introduced values which were contradictory with the values of Islam and traditional law and customs in Aceh. Other factors were that Ahmad Kandang’s fighters, loyal to Hasan Tiro, destroyed schools, displaced Javanese migrants, and instigated robberies, killings and other criminal behaviour.
The fourth group was Front Mujahidin Islam Aceh led by Fauzi Hasbi whose main grievance was GAM’s secular nationalist ideology. His movement’s goal was to return to Daud Beureueh’s Islamic agenda. And the Fifth group was Republik Islam Aceh (RIA). The origininal RIA was said to have appeared in the context of the Darul Islam rebellions in the 1960s (Schulze, 2003: 252).
4.6.3. Megawati’s Government
It was believed that the decision of Megawati to declare a state of emergency in Aceh on 19 May 2003 was part of her efforts to build popular support in the lead up to Indonesia’s national election in April 2004. All indicators showed there was little or no popular sympathy for Acehnese separation and support for military action was strong. By imposing the “security approach”, it would have boosted her image as a strong leader and defender of national unity (Sherlock, 2003a: 8).
4.6.4. Recalcitrant Acehnese Diasporas
Apart from its main leadership who lived in Sweden, and had proved to become an obstacle in the peace process, the majority of GAM lived in Malaysia. In 2004 the number was estimated to be between 15,000 and 27,000 (Tong, 2004: 1), with a small fraction in Southern Thailand (Wardhani, 2004: 6). There were reports that some lived in the US (The Achenese Bulletin, 2004: 3). GAM was known to have received financial contributions from Acehnese businessmen in Malaysia and Southern Thailand to purchase weapons from Cambodia. In addition, there were suggestions that militants based in Malaysia had facilitated the regional transhipment of arms (Rabasa and Chalk, 2001: 32).
However, the author argues that the influence of Acehnese living in Malaysia on the peace process in Aceh was insignificant. This was because the presence of Acehnese insurgents in Malaysia was not welcomed by the Government of Malaysia. Malaysia did not have a system to provide protection for refugees and asylum seekers and thus did not recognize Acehnese fleeing the armed conflict as refugees. Consequently, the Malaysian Government had arrested, detained, and deported Acehnese refugees. Those who managed to avoid deportation frequently lived in situations of extreme poverty and were regularly subject to extortion from the local police (Human Rights Watch, 2004).
4.7. Weak Inclusion of Civil Society Groups
According to Huber (2004: 3), the HDC should include civil society groups in reaching a political settlement. Aguswandi (2005b) also argued that the exclusion of civil society groups from the peace process was a denial of the importance of engaging the civilian population as equal partners at all levels of the process. As a result, the far-reaching social change that civil society activism had achieved on the ground was not translated into official engagement in political negotiations.
However, as viewed by Aguswandi (2005b), the potential of civil society remained hindered by other factors. One of these was the weak capacity of civil society groups due to the long period of suppression from constant militarization. Government policies also weakened local civil society, disempowering local communities, and creating almost total dependency. Even humanitarian work was dangerous in Aceh. The security apparatus regularly accused human rights defenders of being GAM supporters or sympathizers (Front Line & IMPARTIAL, 2005: 45).
The CoHA 2002, which was signed in December 2002 by GAM and GoI, finally collapsed in May 2003. The author found several factors which led to CoHA’s demise. Firstly, the situations leading up to the signing of CoHA were not ripe (Huber, 2004). GAM did not relinquish its aim for independence, and the Indonesian military, for economic and mainly political reasons, were opposed to negotiating with GAM. Also, Megawati’s government insisted on Special Autonomy, presumably as leverage to win then 2004 elections. Secondly, factionalism within GAM and the GoI has prevented the CoHA from having a strong foundation. Thirdly, recalcitrant Achenese diasporas, especially in Sweden and Malaysia, which contributed arms and funding to GAM, proved to be obstacles in reaching compromise on the ground. Fourthly, perhaps the most important factor, HDC failed to line up an effective and strong third party guarantor to contain and manage the CoHA spoilers. And, finally, the exclusion of civil society groups in the peace negotiations helped prevent GAM and the GoI from considering civil population aspirations for peace and moderation. In Chapter Five the author examines the post-tsunami peace negotiations in, Aceh which resulted in the signing of MoU between GAM and GoI in August 2005.
The MoU (2005) between GAM and GoI
This Chapter examines the success of the informal peace negotiations in Helsinki in 2005 between GAM and GoI which culminated in the signing of MoU between GAM and GoI on 15 August 2005. Five rounds of talks were facilitated by the CMI. In analysing the negotiations, the author applies, the concepts of ripeness (Zartman, 2003), spoilers (Stedman, 1997), diasporas (Anderson, 1999), and third party guarantor (Walter, 2002). The involvement of civil society groups is also briefly examined.
5.2. The 2004 Tsunami
On the morning of 26 December 2004, an earthquake that measured 9.0 on the Richter scale hit the province of Aceh. People, who were not aware of the danger of the tsunami, went to the beach to collect fish left by the receding water or just stayed in their houses. Minutes later the tsunami hit the coastal areas in Aceh. Within hours it reached Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, and Somalia.
The extent of the devastation in Aceh itself was later revealed. It was reported that more than 130,000 people were killed with more than 30,000 missing. More than 500,000 displaced persons were spread out across the 21 regions/cities throughout Aceh. 44 health centres were destroyed and 50-70 per cent of their staff were killed. 57 bridges were demolished or damaged. There was also a threat of epidemics of measles and malaria. Some described the situation as a “critical emergency” (Roberts, 2005).
Figure 3: Map of Aceh (Rionaldo, 2003)
5.3. Track-Two Diplomacy
5.3.1. Pre-Negotiation Talks
The pre-negotiations between GAM and the GoI involved an Indonesian official doctor from the Health Department, Farid Husin and Juha Christensen, a business consultant from Helsinki and also a staff from the CMI. Christensen’s wife, Pirkko, was well-known for her language research in South Sulawesi in 1990-1991. As a former negotiator in Maluku and Poso conflicts, Vice President Jusuf Kalla appointed Farid Husin to help Christensen establish contacts with the GAM leadership in Sweden.
It was reported that the GAM leadership welcomed Christensen, not Farid Husin because Farid Husin was regarded as “the hand of oppressors”. After some persuasion, finally GAM leadership agreed to meet Farid Husin, and they began exploring ideas to retrieve dialogues between GAM and GoI which had previously collapsed in May 2003. GAM and the GoI also agreed that the CMI would become the mediator (Achmad, 2005).
The CMI was an independent, non-governmental organisation responding to challenges in sustainable security. The aim of the CMI was to enhance the crisis prevention, active crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation capacity of the international community. Additionally, the CMI sought solutions to global problems through strengthening democratic practices and through a firm commitment to equitable development. In preventing conflicts, it sought to understand the causes and to mitigate through various initiatives and projects. Through these initiatives, the CMI sought practical and implementable solutions.
The work of the CMI, which was founded and then led by Martti Ahsaari, the President of the Republic of Finland during the period 1994-2000, was divided into three programmes: Conflict Prevention and Response, State-Building and Democracy, and Human Security and Development. In addition, the CMI worked as the Secretariat of the Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy, an initiative by the Finnish and Tanzanian governments in search of novel and empowering solutions to the dilemmas of global governance (CMI, 2005).
5.3.3. The MoU
The informal negotiations involved five rounds of talks in Helsinki: first round (27-29 January 2005), second round (21-23 February 2005), third round (12-16 April 2005), fourth round (26-31 May 2005), and fifth round (12-17 July 2005). Finally the peace negotiations resulted in the signing of the MoU by GAM and the GoI in 15 August 2005 in Helsinki.
The MoU addressed the following topics: governance in Aceh (including a law on the governing of Aceh, political participation, the economy, and the rule of law), human rights, amnesty and reintegration of insurgents, security arrangements, establishment of the Aceh Monitoring Mission, and dispute settlement. The Government of Indonesia had invited the European Union and a number of ASEAN countries to carry out the tasks of the Aceh Monitoring Mission (CMI, 2005).
5.3.4. Obstacles during the Negotiations
However during the informal negotiations some obstacles emerged which threatened the future of the negotiations. First was the meaning of informal. This issue was coming up because many parliament members on the Indonesian People Representative Board (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR)) initially opposed the peace negotiations. They questioned the legality of the Indonesian negotiators because they did not involve the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Internal Affairs. For example, one member of the DPR from Fraction of Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (F-PDIP (Struggle Indonesian Democratic Party)), Effendy Simbolon, also maintained that the Indonesian negotiating leader, the Minister of Law and Human Rights Hamid Awaludin, was not assigned by the GoI, but acted as personal envoy of Vice President Jusuf Kalla. The Head of Fraction of the Nation Awakening Party (Fraksi Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (F-PKB)), Ali Masykur argued that the negotiations so far had caused a loss for Indonesia because GAM had become equal in status to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (SIB, 2005).
To counter this concern, the GoI, through its Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda argued that no Indonesian diplomats were involved in the negotiations and this meant it was treated as Indonesian internal affairs. It was suggested that the negotiations were informal and non-binding. Key Indonesian negotiators were “All the Vice President’s Men”, which meant they were coming from Sulawesi, such as Hamid Awaludin and Farid Husein. According to Jusuf Kalla, if an understanding had been reached in the informal negotiations, the next step would be formal negotiations. Martti Ahtisaari also always maintained that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. He also stressed from the beginning that the facilitator, CMI, could not create peace. The facilitator could only mediate if both parties really wanted peace (Laksono, 2005; Santoso, 2005a).
Second was the issue of the local political party. Since GAM put aside the demand of secession, it wanted to become a local political party which, it believed, would enable the Acehnese to participate in direct local elections. GAM argued that the existing political parties were tightly controlled by Indonesian elites in Jakarta and had thus failed to represent the people of Aceh. Initially the Indonesian Government, including the President and the Vice President, rejected the idea. The GoI argued that it contravened Law No. 31/2002 which stipulated that all political parties had to be headquartered in Jakarta and be represented in half of the country’s 33 provinces. Some linked this with the prevention of separatism. The GoI then made the following offer that GAM members could join the existing political parties to run for elections. However GAM refused the idea (Santoso, 2005b).
Finally, the GoI accepted GAM’s proposal to allow local political parties exist in Aceh. It was the Minister of State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a law expert, who then masterminded the government efforts to convince the DPR to acquiesce to this agreement. According to Mahendra, the government did not necessarily amend the Law No. 31/2002, but instead only amended Law No. 18/2001 on Special Autonomy in Aceh. Mahendra maintained that the establishment of local political parties in Aceh would not contravene the law on political parties which banned local parties nationwide, as the Aceh province would be treated as a special case. The special autonomy law was considered lex specialis instead of lex generalis (The Jakarta Post, 2005a). Regarding the warning from the F-PDIP in the DPR of the need for the DPR to ratify the peace agreement with GAM, Mahendra argued that the government did not need the ratification because the negotiations were domestic affairs and it was only an MoU to be signed, not as a treaty, agreement or pact as referred to by 1945 Constitution. Thus, it was DPR which made GAM into a state in that the DPR insisted the MoU had to be ratified by the DPR (Republika, 2005a). It was reported that the majority of the DPR members agreed to this government decision to allow local political parties to exist in Aceh.
Thirdly, the CMI was accused of betrayal. To the CMI’s dismay, the military spokesman for GAM, Sofyan Dawood, attacked the CMI on the eve of the third round of peace talks stating it had betrayed the trust the people of Aceh and GAM. Dawood referred to CMI website statements that the conflict would or should be resolved within the framework of special autonomy. He said that GAM never agreed that the conflict should be resolved in that way. He also said GAM had not agreed to other elements specified by the CMI, such as a reduction rather than removal of all Indonesian troops from the province (Moore, 2005). The CMI later withdrew those statements from its website.
5.4. Prerequisites for Peace
5.4.1. Ripe Situation for Negotiations
It was believed that the situation in post-tsunami Aceh was ripe for negotiations to begin. This argument was based on three factors:
First was the GoI’s Need for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation
The Indonesian Government had admitted from the beginning that it could not reconstruct and rehabilitate without any international assistance (Kingsbury, 2005). That was why the GoI had let international troops and humanitarian workers into Aceh, which was previously closed off through martial law. According to the Coordinator Minister of Public Welfare, Alwi Shihab, foreign assistance in July 2005 reached US$6 billion and a half of that was received through the national development budget and another half was directly managed by international donors (Analisa, 2005a). Even one member of the DPR, AS Hikam suggested that reconstruction and rehabilitation activities by foreign agencies, such as the ICRC, IFRC and international NGOs, were much more prevalent than the Indonesian Government (Serambi Online, 2005b). Many Acehnese, even including the Governor of Aceh, Azwar Abubakar, complained that the central government did not do enough to rebuild Aceh (Adward, 2005a).
Furthermore, thing was the Indonesian military and police also suffered significantly because of the tsunami. In particular, 350 soldiers were reportedly killed. According to Indonesian military chief, General Endriartono Sutanto, this number far exceeded the total number of dead soldiers during the two years of emergency rule, 213 (Acehkita, 2005d). Similarly, 612 police personnel were reported dead and missing (presumed dead) in Aceh. 22 sub-district police headquarters and 29 police housing complex were also destroyed (Suara Merdeka, 2005)
Second was GAM’s incapacity was also a factor that had to be taken into consideration. Guerin (2005) argued that any moral high ground the rebel might have was rapidly disappearing under a massive onslaught of foreign aid being delivered to their beloved province by their mortal enemy, the TNI, whose mission was to crush GAM. The army’s territorial network, which reached down to the district level, served to help maintain internal security, but in the beginning months of the tsunami had proved to be of immense value as a conduit for distributing aid. Foreign troops and international aid workers were also helping the Acehnese people. It all added up to a big loss of face for GAM who claimed to represent the people of Aceh.
It was believed that should GAM reject the terms of any new peace deal, for whatever reasons, it would end up as public enemy no. 1, not only in the eyes of TNI, the central government, and the Indonesian people, including the Acehnese themselves, and also the US (Guerin, 2005). On the acceptance of the agreement, GAM spokesman Bakhtiar Abdullah said that GAM took it because they wanted to give the people of Aceh a chance to rebuild after the devastating tsunami, and to provide them with the opportunity to determine their own internal affairs (ASNLF, 2005b).
5.4.2. International Support and Aid Conditionality
International communities which were willing to help reconstruct and rehabilitate Aceh made security a precondition. Laksono (2005) argued that this made sense because the donors did not want their aid and assistance destroyed by the ongoing conflict. For example, German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, pledged long-term reconstruction aid to tsunami-ravaged Aceh but pressed Indonesia and separatist rebels to end their decades-long conflict. Germany had committed 500 million euros in aid over a period of three to five years to tsunami-hit nations. He reiterated his hopes for peace in Aceh because it was crucial to ensure that Aceh remained open to foreign aid and for reconstruction to begin. Otherwise, he maintained they would not be able to maintain the infrastructure they had established (AFP, 2005).
Similarly, the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, David Ritchie, suggested that with peace intact, Australian aid would be more optimal to reconstruct Aceh. Without security guarantees the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Aceh would not go well. The aid from the Australian government totalled 1.3 billion Australian dollars in rebuilding social, health and education facilities, housing, transportation, ports, and other infrastructure. It was reported that 1 billion Australian dollars was coming from the Government of Australia, and another 300 million Australian dollars from public donations (Serambi Online, 2005c).
Moreover, the US had interests in creating peace in Aceh. Dillon (2005) argued that for the American military in the Pacific, the Indonesian military could become a partner for regional security. Also, the US could support a more professional TNI if it took part in U.N. peacekeeping and other military missions. In addition, 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’s web of terrorist contacts in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, a successful peace treaty could also bring some relief from rampant maritime piracy in the region. There was a significant evidence to suggest that GAM was involved in at least some of the piracy in the straits, but a peace deal could reduce such activity.
5.4.3. Willing Acehnese Diasporas
Unlike the previous reactions of diasporas which spoiled the peace process, the stance of the Acehnese diasporas after the tsunami supported and facilitated the peace negotiations. The GAM leadership in Sweden, for example, such as Malik Mahmud, Zaini Abdullah, Bakhtiar Abdullah, and Nur Djuly, stopped demanding independence and a referendum in the negotiations. Malik Mahmud, the “Prime Minister” of GAM’s “government in exile”, believed that the tsunami helped bring the Indonesian Government to the negotiating table, opened Aceh to international aid efforts, and focussed the interest of the world on the province (Helsingin Sanomat, 2005).
Similarly, as another example, it was reported that in one demonstration in Denmark, approximately 200 Acehnese supported the peace negotiations in Helsinki, self-government and demanded the establishment of local political parties. They began the demonstration in front of the Indonesian embassy, and then moved to the US embassy, the Unicef office, the Japan embassy, and the office of the European Commission (Acehkita, 2005m).
5.5. The Absence of An Effective Third Party Guarantor
As in the CoHA, the MoU between GAM and the GoI did not specify any third party guarantor apart from the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM). According to the Minister of Communication and Information, Sofyan Djalil, the AMM would consist of 200 personnel: 100 personnel from the European Union and 100 personnel from ASEAN countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Brunei. The AMM personnel were not militarily armed and uniformed (Serambi Online, 2005d). The Indonesian chief negotiator, Hamid Awaludin also said that the AMM would act only as “umpire”, rather than “security guard”. That is, it would only monitor and decide who broke the agreement, and then report it to the CMI. One of its tasks was to monitor the withdrawal of non-organic soldiers from Aceh and the decommissioning of 5,000 GAM fighters (Acehkita, 2005j). The 200 member team would start moving into Aceh on 16 August 2005, and would serve for six months, with a possible extension for another six months (Siboro, 2005).
However, among human rights activists and intellectuals, the arrival of the AMM received mixed, if not pessimistic, responses. For example, Thamrin Ananda (2005) argued that if the AMM did not have enough authority to punish the spoilers, the MoU would collapse shortly. He maintained that as the AMM was not armed militarily, it would find itself in trouble in this armed conflict area. Adward (2005b) also reported that many Acehnese were sceptical toward the AMM’s role because it was not armed. As experienced by the CoHA, the warring parties broke the agreement and the Joint Security Council (JSC), which was not unarmed, either, was powerless. Consequently, the CoHA collapsed just five months after it was signed by both parties in Geneva in May 2003.
5.6. Dangerous Spoilers to the MoU
The author asserts that GAM was two-faced in these peace negotiations in the sense that they dropped its demands to independence for international consumption, but its attitude towards Acehnese still remain the same. In its explanation of the meaning of “self-government” in its website in Bahasa Indonesia (ASNLF, 2005c ), Bakhtiar Abdullah, GAM spokesperson maintained:
Firstly it had to be emphasized that The Government of Aceh State/Gerakan Aceh Merdeka will never drop its demand to independence, the aspiration of the people of Aceh which has been fought with blood, tears, and sweat since 1873, and led by Gerakan Acheh Merdeka since 1976.
Bakhtiar Abdullah argued that the peace negotiations were held to let reconstruction and rehabilitation continue, because if GAM did not drop its demand for independence, the GoI would not have to startthe negotiations.
Moreover, it was also thought that GAM, with an estimated 5,000 fighters, was still plagued by factionalism. Regarding the divisions within GAM, Aguswandi (2005b) suggested that in its contemporary form, the armed opposition group GAM could be roughly divided into four groups:
- The first was the political group which believed that the transfer of Aceh’s sovereignty from the Dutch to Sukarno’s government was illegitimate.
- Those whose relatives had been victims of DOM or other military operations. This group was the largest.
- Those who were more interested in exploiting the conflict for economic benefits.
- Those who were critical of government injustice and had been forced to choose between the conflicting parties, and finally chose to join GAM as a result of ill treatment at the hands of the Indonesian security forces..
The Chief of Aceh Regional Police Bachrumansyah also admitted that within GAM there was a group which was eager for peace. However, there was also another group he called “GAM Cantoi (criminals)”, which did not want peace and instead carried out kidnappings and killings. Even he hoped that if there had been a peace agreement between GAM and the GoI, the “real” GAM and the GoI would track down the GAM Cantoi members. Aceh Regional Military Chief, Major General Supiadin AS also raised similar concerns that the criminal elements within GAM were responsible for the violence so far (Analisa, 2005b).
Below the author lists several spoiling activities committed by GAM after the GAM leadership in Sweden announced a unilateral ceasefire:
· A GAM spokesman for the Peureulak area, East Aceh, Tjut Kafrawi claimed GAM had shot dead one soldier, Husnidar, on 9 June 2005 (Acehkita, 2005e).
· The Head of the Village of Lhok Sialangcut, Pasi Raja, South Aceh, Nasir, was shot dead by GAM in front of his wife and children on 31 July 2005 (Media Indonesia, 2005).
· One militia leader and also the Head of the Village of Buket, Kuta Makmur, North Aceh, Abdul Gani, was shot dead by GAM on 12 July 2005 (Analisa, 2005c).
· The Secretary of the Regional People’s Representative Board of Lhokseumawe, Dasnil Yusar, was kidnapped by GAM on 24 June 2005, and later was released after paying a ransom (Acehkita, 2005f).
· Security officials found and burned 2 hectares of marijuana field in Seulimum sub-district, Greater Aceh, which presumably belonged to GAM (Analisa, 2005d).
5.6.2. Indonesian Military
The Indonesian military, numbered 39,000 personnel,did not reciprocate GAM’s unilateral ceasefire just one day after the tsunami and continued its missions from 2003 to wipe out GAM. According to the Coordinator Minister of Politics, Law, and Security, Widodo AS, the government decided to continue with the “Operation of Comprehensive Security Restoration”, but in a more defensive way. Indonesian Army Chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu proudly announced that the soldiers had shot dead 205 GAM members three weeks after the tsunami (Berita Sore, 2005a).
Below the author has listed some incidents which involved the military just after Indonesian military chief, General Endriartono Sutarto, ordered the military to stop chasing GAM members and focus on protecting the communities after GAM and the GoI agreed on a peace deal on 12 July 2005 in Helsinki:
· Two GAM members, Ayah Mando and Ahmad Kangkeng, were shot dead by the military on 25 July 2005 in Gle Geunteng, Greater Aceh, after soldiers surrounded the hills for two hours (Acehkita, 2005g).
· One GAM member, Munir, was shot dead after soldiers ambushed one group of GAM fighters on 25 July 2005 in Blang Buloh, Simpang Kramat, North Aceh (Acehkita, 2005h).
· Two GAM members of Aceh Rayeuk area, Muhammad bin Samidan and Mukhsin, were shot dead on 26 July 2005 in Gleu Geunteng. According to the GAM spokeperson for the Aceh Rayeuk area, Muksalmina, both died after soldiers attacked the GAM headquarters in Gle Geunteng, Greater Aceh (Acehkita, 2005i).
The table below shows the number of gun battles between GAM and the military during the period 1 March-15 May 2005:
Table 3: Gunbattles between GAM and the TNI (1 March-15 May 2005)
Time of Gunbattles
According to the TNI
According to GAM
5.6.3. Megawati’s Party
The only fraction in the DPR which still opposed the peace deal was the FPDIP, led by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri. According to Megawati, Indonesian international agreements had to be approved by the DPR, and she questioned the government’s motives not to reveal publicly the draft of the Memorandum of Understanding which was to be signed on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki. She also accused the government of overstepping democratic tradition by ignoring the public’s right to information (Jawa Pos, 2005).
5.7. Continued Exclusion of Civil Society Groups
Many believed that civil society groups were crucial in peace negotiations. Kingsbury (cited in Balowsky, 2005), for example, argued that the views of Aceh civil society should be included in any possible peace agreement. Rafendi Djamin (cited in Balowsky, 2005), the Coordinator of Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), also maintained that Aceh’s future could not solely be decided by GAM representatives. The process should involve civil society, for example, women’s groups, Islamic religious leaders and all forms of social institutions across the province.
However, the Helsinki peace negotiations did not involve civil society groups. Although, GAM claimed to have consulted Acehnese civil society groups, including Sentra Informasi Referendum (SIRA) Aceh in the meeting between them on 9 and 10 July 2005 in Stockholm funded by the Olof Palme International Centre (Balowsky, 2005), the civil society only provided a supporting rather than leading role. The Majelis Ulama Indonesia (Indonesian Ulama Council(MUI)) only reacted just after the President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asked the MUI to support government efforts in peace negotiations (Berita Sore, 2005b). Other civil society groups were only able to stage demonstrations, sending press releases to the mass media, or sending letters to express their views. For example, on 24 June 2005, 27 civil rights activists sent supporting letters for peace negotiations to the President of Indonesia and GAM leadership in Sweden (Acehkita, 2005k). On 4 July 2005, hundreds from the Acehnese community in Jakarta staged demonstrations in front of the US embassy, State Palace, and the office of the Coordinator Ministry of Politics, Law, and Security, to support the Helsinki negotiations (Acehkita, 2005l).
After five rounds of peace talks in Helsinki between GAM and the GoI, finally both parties signed the peace accord on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki facilitated by the CMI. The success of the peace negotiations were mainly the result of several factors:
· The GoI needed an international fund to help reconstruct and rehabilitate Aceh.
· GAM was sidelined during the emergency, reconstruction and rehabilitation periods and continuing its armed conflict could ruin its credibility among the people of Aceh and in the eyes of the international community.
· The nature of the negotiations, which was informal using track-two diplomacy, also played a significant role in taming the hardliners and nationalists within the military, government, and parliament to allow the peace negotiations to proceed effectively.
· However, it was still debatable if this peace deal, after it was formalised, would be long-lasting since there was no third party guarantor and because of the prevalence of spoilers within GAM, military, and parliament.
· The diasporas, different from before the tsunami, supported the peace process.
In the next chapter, the author concludes by suggesting further recommendation for a long-lasting MoU (2005) between GAM and GoI, setting out the dissertation’s limitations and proposals for further research.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In this chapter, the author summarizes the main argument within this dissertation and makes recommendations. The main arguments stems from the research question, hypothesis, and findings which were tested by the analytical framework used in this dissertation. Furthermore, the author suggests a future possible path for the MoU. Some of the limits of the dissertation and suggestions further research are also made for academic reasons together with humanitarian interests.
6.2. Main Findings
This research question for this dissertation: How did the tsunami, as a significant natural disaster, impact on the post-tsunami peace negotiations in Aceh in 2005? To answer this question, the author suggested the hypothesis that the natural disasters do have an impact on peace negotiations, however, the typical impact is temporary and superficial, which allows a fragile peace to emerge. The argument was that the changes in behaviour and attitudes of the warring parties only came about because of international pressure and the fear of losing the confidence of their own people, rather than real motivations for peace.
Accordingly, the author took the case of post-tsunami peace negotiations in Aceh from January-August 2005. The author used qualitative research methodology utilising some data gathering techniques, such as the literature review, content analysis, a case study approach, and triangulation. To strengthen the argument, the author also took some lessons from the peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 to 2000 and in Sri Lanka in 2005. During that period, Ethiopia and Eritrea experienced drought-induced famines and Sri Lanka was hit by the 2004 tsunami. It is therefore appropriate to conclude by directly writing the findings from the case study with the main concepts, introduced in the literature review, and the lessons from Ethiopia and Eritrea and Sri Lanka.
Firstly, the concept of ripeness from Zartman (2003) was mainly based on military foundations with a mutually hurting stalemate. However, in the case of Aceh, the author found that the ripe for resolution situation was not based in military calculations as firstly assumed by Zartman. It was based more on humanitarian needs, on the GoI’s needs for international funding for the reconstruction and rehabilitation process. Furthermore, GAM’s dropping of the demand for independence came from realization that it was incapacitated and was thus unable to provide help for the people they claimed to have represented. Prolonging the war meant the danger of losing the confidence from the Acehnese. The lesson from Sri Lanka was also the same. The LTTE and GoSL needed international aid and assistance to reconstruct and rehabilitate the tsunami-stricken areas in their own areas.
Furthermore, the concept of MHS (Zartman, 2003) is workable in analysing peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998-2000. Both parties stopped the war only after they knew that it was impossible to achieve a complete victory. Drought-induced famines in Ethiopia and Eritrea did not deter the warring parties from engaging in further armed conflict into longer period of warfare between the two states.
Secondly, the “informal” nature of the peace negotiations (track-two diplomacy) in five rounds of talks which were facilitated by CMI, between January and July 2005, played a significant role. The author found that by holding informal peace negotiations the government was able to avoid any unnecessary resistance from hardliners and nationalist elements within the government, military, and parliament.
Third Party Guarantor
Thirdly, concept of third party guarantor worked very well in the peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1998 to 2000, and as Walter (1997) suggest that a third party guarantor is needed to ensure the warring parties stick to peace agreements. However, in the case of Aceh, there is evidence to indicate that without a third party guarantor the MoU could survive. The President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla might be key actors in this peace process, which is worth examining in further research. However, from the lesson of Sri Lanka, it was not still clear if Sri Lanka would follow the same possible path road to a long lasting peace.
Furthermore, the author found that peace negotiations between Ethiopia and Eritrea were successful in 2000 because, as argued by Licklider (1995), partly the conflict was basically an interstate war which is typically easier to resolve. That is, the warring parties only needed to withdraw to their previously held areas and did need to share power. Also, the peace negotiations were guaranteed by the third party: the OAU and the UN Security Council so the behaviour of spoilers (elites within each government), as argued by Walter (1997), could be managed and controlled, which protected the implementation of the peace agreement.
On the other hand, in the case of Aceh before the tsunami (CoHA 2002), the author found that the absence of a third party guarantor allowed the spoilers (TNI, GAM, Megawati’s Government and Acehnese diasporas) the freedom to destroy the CoHA by May 2003, only five months after it was signed. GAM did not relinquish its claim to independence and started creating parallel government structures, involved in taxing and extorting. Similarly, the Indonesian Military was not willing to relinquish its dominant role in politics and profit-making practices in Aceh. Therefore, track-two diplomacy, which was facilitated by the HDC, could not sanction and reward changing the mentality and actions of the warring parties.
Fourthly, the Acehnese diasporas spoiled the peace process before the tsunami, in line with Anderson’s argument about diasporas (1999). However in the post-tsunami peace negotiations in Aceh in 2005, to the contrary, the Acehnese diasporas were willing to support the peace process. The author argues that the concept of the diasporas role in peace process needs to be revisited.
The absence of civil society groups in the peace negotiations (CoHA) prevented conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
In order to maintain the MoU’s survival, the author suggested the following recommendations:
- The AMM needs to involve the UN or the EU to take the role as third party guarantor. The presence of third party guarantor was required to manage and control spoilers. Since the GoI was so resistant to UN involvement, after the secession of East Timor, the author suggests the CMI should ask for provision of third party guarantor. Minimally, it required a formal promise to intervene should the treaty breakdown. Although no ground forces were required, this promise had to be offered publicly during formal negotiations. In other words, the promise had to be widely publicised and could not be recounted without negative reputational effects on the leaders (Walter, 1999: 345-347).
- Using the typology of spoilers (limited, greedy, and total) from Stedman (1997: 9-12) and since there were factional elements within GAM and the Indonesian military which spoiled the peace deal totally (total spoilers), the CMI needed to prepare a contingency plan to be able to mobilise peacekeeping troops in the event of disputes and armed engagements. However, it had to first consult with GAM and the GoI.
- Civil Society groups, such as youth, women, religious leaders and business people had to become involved in peacebuilding and conflict transformation activities. It was because they were knowledgeable about the complexity of local conflicts and presumably enjoyed the confidence of local communities and leaders (Hackett, 2000: 281).
- The international communities had to monitor the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Aceh to ensure transparency, accountability and be free from corruption. This was meant to strengthen the GoI legitimacy and set up a viable future political set up for Indonesia (Frerks and Klem, 2005: 2-3) and in the words of Jack Straw, then British Foreign Secretary, it meant strengthening the state and reducing the threat of terrorism (Paris, 2005: 2). Moreover, it was important because it could prevent the root causes (economic discrimination, corruption, and military oppression) of the conflict from reocurring again in the future.
6.4. Dissertation Limitations and Further Research
The author found that there were limitations of to the scope ofthis dissertation. Firstly, the research was carried out within a limited time period, effectively from the early part of June to the second half of August 2005. The author realizes that more time is needed to provide more in depth analysis on this extensive topic. Secondly, this dissertation could have benefited from interviews and structured observation. If these two data gathering techniques had been used, then an alternative analysis would have been possible.
Finally, for the future, the author suggests the following ideas for further research:
- To examine whether the personality factor of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla were crucial in the making peace process in Aceh. Yudhoyono was the Indonesian key negotiator in the CoHA (2002), and Kalla was also a key negotiator in many internal conflicts in Indonesia. The author suggests that the first direct presidential election in 2004 provided the president with a bigger role and legitimacy to contain many peace spoilers who were very strong in the era of CoHA.
- To carry out a more in-depth comparative empirical study of the impact of the natural disasters on the peace negotiations in Aceh and Sri Lanka. The author believes that this could contribute more to academic discourse on this topic, and possibly could challenge or strengthen the theory and concepts in peace studies or conflict resolution.
The author concludes that the peace which emerged from the post-tsunami peace negotiations in Aceh was a fragile peace because the warring parties were more pressured by the international community for the sake of reconstruction and rehabilitation, rather than a mutually military hurting stalemate. To guarantee a long-lasting peace, the CMI needs to bring into a third party guarantor to safeguard the peace process. However, because the AMM did not as a third party guarantor, the author predicted that the MoU would collapse in the foreseeable future. Finally, the concept ripeness in the military sense and diasporas as peace spoilers needs to be revisited.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Memorandum of Understanding
The Government of the Republic of Indonesia
The Free Aceh Movement
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The Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) confirm their commitment to a peaceful, comprehensive and sustainable solution to the conflict in Aceh with dignity for all.
The parties commit themselves to creating conditions within which the government of the
Acehnese people can be manifested through a fair and democratic process within the unitary state and constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.
The parties are deeply convinced that only the peaceful settlement of the conflict will enable the rebuilding of Aceh after the tsunami disaster on 26 December 2004 to progress and succeed.
The parties to the conflict commit themselves to building mutual confidence and trust.
This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) details the agreement and the principles that will guide the transformation process.
To this end the GoI and GAM have agreed on the following:
1 Governing of Aceh
1.1 Law on the Governing of Aceh
1.1.1 A new Law on the Governing of Aceh will be promulgated and will enter into force as soon as possible and not later than 31 March 2006.
1.1.2 The new Law on the Governing of Aceh will be based on the following principles:
a) Aceh will exercise authority within all sectors of public affairs, which will
be administered in conjunction with its civil and judicial administration,
except in the fields of foreign affairs, external defence, national security,
monetary and fiscal matters, justice and freedom of religion, the policies of
which belong to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia in conformity
with the Constitution.
b) International agreements entered into by the Government of Indonesia
which relate to matters of special interest to Aceh will be entered into in
consultation with and with the consent of the legislature of Aceh.
c) Decisions with regard to Aceh by the legislature of the Republic of Indonesia
will be taken in consultation with and with the consent of the legislature of Aceh.
d) Administrative measures undertaken by the Government of Indonesia
with regard to Aceh will be implemented in consultation with and with the
consent of the head of the Aceh administration.
1.1.3 The name of Aceh and the titles of senior elected officials will be determined by the
legislature of Aceh after the next elections.
1.1.4 The borders of Aceh correspond to the borders as of 1 July 1956.
1.1.5 Aceh has the right to use regional symbols including a flag, a crest and a hymn.
1.1.6 Kanun Aceh will be re-established for Aceh respecting the historical traditions
and customs of the people of Aceh and reflecting contemporary legal requirements
1.1.7 The institution of Wali Nanggroe with all its ceremonial attributes and entitlements
will be established.
1.2 Political participation
1.2.1 As soon as possible and not later than one year from the signing of this MoU, GoI
agrees to and will facilitate the establishment of Aceh-based political parties that
meet national criteria. Understanding the aspirations of Acehnese people for local
political parties, GoI will create, within one year or at the latest 18 months from the
signing of this MoU, the political and legal conditions for the establishment of local
political parties in Aceh in consultation with Parliament. The timely implementation
of this MoU will contribute positively to this end.
1.2.2 Upon the signature of this MoU, the people of Aceh will have the right to nominate
candidates for the positions of all elected officials to contest the elections in Aceh in
April 2006 and thereafter.
1.2.3 Free and fair local elections will be organised under the new Law on the Governing of
Aceh to elect the head of the Aceh administration and other elected officials in April
2006 as well as the legislature of Aceh in 2009.
1.2.4 Until 2009 the legislature of Aceh will not be entitled to enact any laws without the
consent of the head of the Aceh administration.
1.2.5 All Acehnese residents will be issued new conventional identity cards prior to the
elections of April 2006.
1.2.6 Full participation of all Acehnese people in local and national elections will be guaranteed in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.
1.2.7 Outside monitors will be invited to monitor the elections in Aceh. Local elections may be undertaken with outside technical assistance.
1.2.8 There will be full transparency in campaign funds.
1.3.1 Aceh has the right to raise funds with external loans. Aceh has the right to set interest rates beyond that set by the Central Bank of the Republic of Indonesia.
1.3.2 Aceh has the right to set and raise taxes to fund official internal activities. Aceh has
the right to conduct trade and business internally and internationally and to seek
foreign direct investment and tourism to Aceh.
1.3.3 Aceh will have jurisdiction over living natural resources in the territorial sea
1.3.4 Aceh is entitled to retain seventy (70) per cent of the revenues from all current and
future hydrocarbon deposits and other natural resources in the territory of Aceh as
well as in the territorial sea surrounding Aceh.
1.3.5 Aceh conducts the development and administration of all seaports and airports within the territory of Aceh.
1.3.6 Aceh will enjoy free trade with all other parts of the Republic of Indonesia unhindered by taxes, tariffs or other restrictions.
1.3.7 Aceh will enjoy direct and unhindered access to foreign countries, by sea and air.
1.3.8 GoI commits to the transparency of the collection and allocation of revenues between the Central Government and Aceh by agreeing to outside auditors to verify this
activity and to communicate the results to the head of the Aceh administration.
1.3.9 GAM will nominate representatives to participate fully at all levels in the commission established to conduct the post-tsunami reconstruction (BRR).
1.4 Rule of law
1.4.1 The separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary will be recognised.
1.4.2 The legislature of Aceh will redraft the legal code for Aceh on the basis of the universal principles of human rights as provided for in the United Nations International
Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
1.4.3 An independent and impartial court system, including a court of appeals, will be
established for Aceh within the judicial system of the Republic of Indonesia.
1.4.4 The appointment of the Chief of the organic police forces and the prosecutors shall
be approved by the head of the Aceh administration. The recruitment and training of
organic police forces and prosecutors will take place in consultation with and with
the consent of the head of the Aceh administration in compliance with the applicable
1.4.5 All civilian crimes committed by military personnel in Aceh will be tried in civil courts in Aceh.
2 Human rights
2.1 GoI will adhere to the United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political
Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
2.2 A Human Rights Court will be established for Aceh.
2.3 A Commission for Truth and Reconciliation will be established for Aceh by the
Indonesian Commission of Truth and Reconciliation with the task of formulating and
determining reconciliation measures.
3 Amnesty and reintegration into society
3.1.1 GoI will, in accordance with constitutional procedures, grant amnesty to all persons
who have participated in GAM activities as soon as possible and not later than within
15 days of the signature of this MoU.
3.1.2 Political prisoners and detainees held due to the conflict will be released
unconditionally as soon as possible and not later than within 15 days of the signature
of this MoU.
3.1.3 The Head of the Monitoring Mission will decide on disputed cases based on advice
from the legal advisor of the Monitoring Mission.
3.1.4 Use of weapons by GAM personnel after the signature of this MoU will be regarded as a violation of the MoU and will disqualify the person from amnesty.
3.2 Reintegration into society
3.2.1 As citizens of the Republic of Indonesia, all persons having been granted amnestyor released from prison or detention will have all political, economic and social rights as well as the right to participate freely in the political process both in Aceh and on the national level.
3.2.2 Persons who during the conflict have renounced their citizenship of the Republic of
Indonesia will have the right to regain it.
3.2.3 GoI and the authorities of Aceh will take measures to assist persons who have
participated in GAM activities to facilitate their reintegration into the civil society.
These measures include economic facilitation to former combatants, pardoned
political prisoners and affected civilians. A Reintegration Fund under the
administration of the authorities of Aceh will be established.
3.2.4 GoI will allocate funds for the rehabilitation of public and private property destroyed
or damaged as a consequence of the conflict to be administered by the authorities of
3.2.5 GoI will allocate suitable farming land as well as funds to the authorities of Aceh for
the purpose of facilitating the reintegration to society of the former combatants and
the compensation for political prisoners and affected civilians. The authorities of
Aceh will use the land and funds as follows:
a) All former combatants will receive an allocation of suitable farming land,
employment or, in the case of incapacity to work, adequate social security
from the authorities of Aceh.
b) All pardoned political prisoners will receive an allocation of suitable
farming land, employment or, in the case of incapacity to work, adequate
social security from the authorities of Aceh.
c) All civilians who have suffered a demonstrable loss due to the conflict will
receive an allocation of suitable farming land, employment or, in the case of
incapacity to work, adequate social security from the authorities of Aceh.
3.2.6 The authorities of Aceh and GoI will establish a joint Claims Settlement Commission to deal with unmet claims.
3.2.7 GAM combatants will have the right to seek employment in the organic police and
organic military forces in Aceh without discrimination and in conformity with
4 Security arrangements
4.1 All acts of violence between the parties will end latest at the time of the signing of
4.2 GAM undertakes to demobilise all of its 3000 military troops. GAM members will not
wear uniforms or display military insignia or symbols after the signing of this MoU.
4.3 GAM undertakes the decommissioning of all arms, ammunition and explosives held
by the participants in GAM activities with the assistance of the Aceh Monitoring
Mission (AMM). GAM commits to hand over 840 arms.
4.4 The decommissioning of GAM armaments will begin on 15 September 2005 and will be executed in four stages and concluded by 31 December 2005.
4.5 GoI will withdraw all elements of non-organic military and non-organic police forces
4.6 The relocation of non-organic military and non-organic police forces will begin on
15 September 2005 and will be executed in four stages in parallel with the GAM
decommissioning immediately after each stage has been verified by the AMM,
and concluded by 31 December 2005.
4.7 The number of organic military forces to remain in Aceh after the relocation is 14700.
The number of organic police forces to remain in Aceh after the relocation is 9100.
4.8 There will be no major movements of military forces after the signing of this MoU. All
movements more than a platoon size will require prior notification to the Head of the
4.9 GoI undertakes the decommissioning of all illegal arms, ammunition and explosives
held by any possible illegal groups and parties.
4.10 Organic police forces will be responsible for upholding internal law and order in Aceh.
4.11 Military forces will be responsible for upholding external defence of Aceh. In normal
peacetime circumstances, only organic military forces will be present in Aceh.
4.12 Members of the Aceh organic police force will receive special training in Aceh and
overseas with emphasis on respect for human rights.
5 Establishment of the Aceh Monitoring Mission
5.1 An Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) will be established by the European Union and
ASEAN contributing countries with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the
commitments taken by the parties in this Memorandum of Understanding.
5.2 The tasks of the AMM are to:
a) monitor the demobilisation of GAM and decommissioning of its armaments,
b) monitor the relocation of non-organic military forces and non-organic police
c) monitor the reintegration of active GAM members,
d) monitor the human rights situation and provide assistance in this field,
e) monitor the process of legislation change,
f) rule on disputed amnesty cases,
g) investigate and rule on complaints and alleged violations of the MoU,
h) establish and maintain liaison and good cooperation with the parties.
5.3 A Status of Mission Agreement (SoMA) between GoI and the European Union will be
signed after this MoU has been signed. The SoMA defines the status, privileges and
immunities of the AMM and its members. ASEAN contributing countries which have
been invited by GoI will confirm in writing their acceptance of and compliance with
5.4 GoI will give all its support for the carrying out of the mandate of the AMM. To this
end, GoI will write a letter to the European Union and ASEAN contributing countries
expressing its commitment and support to the AMM.
5.5 GAM will give all its support for the carrying out of the mandate of the AMM. To this
end, GAM will write a letter to the European Union and ASEAN contributing countries
expressing its commitment and support to the AMM.
5.6 The parties commit themselves to provide AMM with secure, safe and stable working
conditions and pledge their full cooperation with the AMM.
5.7 Monitors will have unrestricted freedom of movement in Aceh. Only those tasks which are within the provisions of the MoU will be accepted by the AMM. Parties do not have a veto over the actions or control of the AMM operations.
5.8 GoI is responsible for the security of all AMM personnel in Indonesia. The mission
personnel do not carry arms. The Head of Monitoring Mission may however decide on
an exceptional basis that a patrol will not be escorted by GoI security forces. In that
case, GoI will be informed and the GoI will not assume responsibility for the security
of this patrol.
5.9 GoI will provide weapons collection points and support mobile weapons collection
teams in collaboration with GAM.
5.10 Immediate destruction will be carried out after the collection of weapons and
ammunitions. This process will be fully documented and publicised as appropriate.
5.11 AMM reports to the Head of Monitoring Mission who will provide regular reports to
the parties and to others as required, as well as to a designated person or office in the
European Union and ASEAN contributing countries.
5.12 Upon signature of this MoU each party will appoint a senior representative to deal
with all matters related to the implementation of this MoU with the Head of
5.13 The parties commit themselves to a notification responsibility procedure to the AMM, including military and reconstruction issues.
5.14 GoI will authorise appropriate measures regarding emergency medical service and
hospitalisation for AMM personnel.
5.15 In order to facilitate transparency, GoI will allow full access for the representatives of national and international media to Aceh.
6 Dispute settlement
6.1 In the event of disputes regarding the implementation of this MoU, these will be
resolved promptly as follows:
a) As a rule, eventual disputes concerning the implementation of this MoU will
be resolved by the Head of Monitoring Mission, in dialogue with the parties,
with all parties providing required information immediately. The Head of
Monitoring Mission will make a ruling which will be binding on the parties.
b) If the Head of Monitoring Mission concludes that a dispute cannot be resolved
by the means described above, the dispute will be discussed together by the
Head of Monitoring Mission with the senior representative of each party.
Following this, the Head of Monitoring Mission will make a ruling which will be binding on the parties.
c) In cases where disputes cannot be resolved by either of the means described above, the Head of Monitoring Mission will report directly to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Law and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, the political leadership of GAM and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Crisis Management Initiative, with the EU Political and Security informed. After consultation with the parties, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Crisis Management Initiative will make a ruling which will be
binding on the parties.
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GoI and GAM will not undertake any action inconsistent with the letter or spirit of this
Memorandum of Understanding.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Signed in triplicate in Helsinki, Finland on the 15 of August in the year 2005.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of On behalf of the Free Aceh Indonesia, Movement,
Hamid Awaludin Malik Mahmud
Minister of Law and Human Rights Leadership Leadership
As witnessed by
Former President of Finland
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Crisis Management Initiative
Facilitator of the negotiation process
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 In Ethiopia there were two periods of rainy seasons: belg rains and meher rains. Belg rains, which typically fell during the first half of the year and last for one month, were important for minor crops such as pulses and potatoes, and also important for the longer cycle crops (particularly maize and sorghum) that were planted in June and July. Meher (main) rains fell during the second half of the year and lasted longer (Hammond and Maxwell, 2002: 263).
 The list of government donors includes Australia, Canada, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Swiss Red Cross are also listed.
 As cited by Iyer (2003: 7), the International Crisis Group (ICG) argued that the December 9 agreement was not really a peace agreement but an agreed framework for future negotiations. According to Iyer, it was acceptable because the CoHA was really an agreement to end (resolve) the conflict and build peace in Aceh-it only provided for the mechanism that would help the parties proceed towards peace.
 Apparently Gus Dur wanted to appoint Lieutenant General Agus Wirahadikusuma as a new Army Chief of Staff. However in early October 2000, a group of forty-five army generals delivered a petition to Vice-President Megawati calling for disciplinary action against General Agus. Gus Dur was said to be angry, but no action was taken against the generals. Nor did he carry out his apparent intervention to appoint General Agus Army Chief of Staff (Liddle, 2001: 6).
 The three “wise men” were: Anthony Zinni (US), Surin Pitsuwan (Thailand) and Budimir Loncar (Yugoslavia). They joined HDC as private, unpaid mediators (Kay, 2003: 8).
 Author’s translation of Teuku Kamaruzzaman’s interview with Acehkita.com, 2005.
 However Michael L. Ross (2003: 27) argued that if Aceh was really independent in 1998, its per capita GDP would be $1,275-about one-third higher than Indonesia’s average GDP but not anywhere near Brunei’s 1998 per capita income of $17,600.
 According to Todung Mulya Lubis, one Indonesian human rights activist, the policy of weakening civil society groups was a common policy adopted by Indonesian governments since Suharto’s rule until Megawati’s period of office in 2004. In Suharto’s era, NGOs were seen as anti-development, and in Megawati’s rule, NGOs were accused of working for foreign countries (Forum Keadilan, Juni 13, 2004: 17).
 It was reported that it took about 7 hours to discuss it at the July session and lasted for 12 hours with 5 breaks and several calls to Jakarta. Indonesian chief delegate, Hamid Awaludin, admitted it was the longest and toughest session they had.
 Non-organic soldiers are soldiers who are not originally stationed in Aceh, but brought into Aceh from other parts of Indonesia.
 The author’s translation from Bahasa Indonesia.
 According to Indonesian military chief, General Endriartono Sutanto, TNI overall manpower were 363,287 personnel. It consisted of the army: 278,499 personnel, the marine: 57,724 personnel, and the air force: 28,064 personnel (Acehkita, 2005n).
 GAM and TNI gave conflicting reports on many incidents and blamed each other for existing violence. For examples, the shooting of foreign workers: Eva Yeung (a volunteer of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) on 22 June 2005), and Mareje Mellegers (from Holland) on 7 July 2005.