A lot of people don’t like Sidney Jones.
Retired army general and former intelligence chief Hendropriyono is one of them.
He ordered her expulsion from Indonesia in June last year while Megawati Soekarnoputri was still in power.
But after SBY took over, she was allowed back into Indonesia again – well that was until a few days ago when she was denied reentry into the country after a visit to Taiwan to pick up an award on behalf of the International Crisis Group (ICG).
But why has she been banned again?
After all, it was only a few days ago that she was praising Yusuf Kalla and the Indonesian government for summoning mainstream clerics in order to ask them to promote moderate Muslim values.
Moreover, she no longer writes critical reports on Aceh after the recently signed peace settlement brought the decades long conflict to an end.
And her expulsion seems even more bizarre when you consider that the US has just restored military ties with Indonesia. In fact, the US is so keen on developing a close relationship with Indonesia that the CIA arranged for Hendropriyono’s son to attend the US National War College despite his poor grades!!!
So why ban Sidney Jones now? What are they worried about?
Well maybe it’s got something to do with the religious conflict in Poso. The horrific beheadings of three Christian girls by Ninja-clad attackers suggests that the region might once again be descending into chaos.
Now who would this benefit I wonder?
“And isn’t it strange,” remarks one local resident, “that most of the weapons carried by the militants are army issue?”
It sure is.
Read more in the Observer’s excellent article here.