Some see the roots of the conflict in Poso as a struggle between militarism and democracy.
Radio Nederland recently talked to George Junus Aditjondro, the head of a group called Poso Centre. George says that the outbreaks of fighting, and periodic bombings and murders, which have plagued the religiously divided area of Central Sulawesi since the signing of a peace agreement in December 2001, a peace agreement brokered by the current vice-president of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, are not the result of sectarian or inter-communal hatreds between the common people of both faith groups, but rather are a conflict between terrorists and the people.
George Junus Aditjondro.
He says that although the current targets of attack are members of the Christian community Christians do not view their Muslim neighbours, on the whole, as the source of the problem. Instead they see trained, professional men as the actors, whether from inside the security forces themselves, or from civilians who have received training from elements in the police and military.
Jusuf Kalla appears to agree with George, saying on several occasions recently that the makers of mischief in Poso were "terrorists", likely the leftovers from past movements of Islamic jihadists, such as members of Laskar Jihad and similar groups from Java and Sumatra, into the area in the late 1990's and early 2000's, men who just decided to stay on after the ceasefire but continue to cause trouble. Today Kalla went further and said the authorities even knew who they were, and shortly the police and army would "finish them".
George Junus Aditjondro however says that, although Kalla is right, the vice-president himself is to blame for being one of the people most enthusiastic about carrying out the executions of Fabianus Tibo, et al, last month. What's more, says George, the more tenseness there is in Poso and the more security forces that are needed to guard the place, the more that businesses owned by Kalla's family benefit.
What's clear is that the escalation of the tension in Poso is to the benefit of Jusuf Kalla.
(Yang jelas dengan eskalasi ketegangan di Poso, yang untung juga Jusuf Kalla.)
George claims that Kalla's business empire has recently opened a controversial hydro-electric power plant (PLTA) along the river that runs through Poso.
George goes on to say that the violence in Poso benefits certain groups and figures in the government and that therefore they have no wish to see an end to it. Police and military men, having lost their playgrounds in Aceh and East Timor, need Poso now for training purposes, he says, and for the search for profitable business opportunities.
Aside from military adventurists and profit seekers are those organisations and government officials who see endless ways of siphoning off the aid funds that inevitably come rushing into Poso after each outbreak of violence and destruction. The size of the aid money is no small matter - from 2000 to 2004 two hundred billion rupiah was earmarked in special relief funds for refugees in the area, but, George claims, only a quarter of this amount ever reached those in need.
Thirdly there are the large corporations, such as PT Bukaka Teknik Utama of Bogor, the builder of the aforementioned hydro plant, who benefit from strife, by bypassing all sorts of regulations, and many other smaller companies whose businesses thrive if there are large numbers of security forces in the area.
George also mentions the words of the murdered human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, who is supposed to have said that the sectarian conflict in Poso, and also in Ambon and Maluku, were simply means by which certain political and intelligence figures attempted to "fire up" radical Muslims in Java, energise them. If Muslims were seen to be under attack in Poso and Ambon, then radical Muslims on Java would deliver their payback by burning and closing down churches on Java.
Finally George says that the overall strategy of the military is to keep their special political role in the country. The more trouble there is in places such as Central Sulawesi, and recently in Nusa Tenggara Timur, the more the military are seen to be justified in interfering in political and other affairs. The real battle in Poso, he says, is not a localised conflict between Christians and Muslims, but is a national struggle between democracy and militarism.
Meanwhile Muhammadiyah chairman Dien Syamsuddin, who a commenter on this site pointed out recently is unable to keep his mouth closed for even a very brief period, it seems, believes that foreigners are at least partly to blame for the problems in Poso. He said on the 22nd that foreign aid organisations that were ostensibly in Poso to help with the economic recovery process were also likely to be trying to sow the seeds of hatred between Christians and Muslims, for unstated purposes. He urged the government to keep a close watch on them.