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Chapter 12: The Aceh Conflict: Phases of Conflict and Hopes for Peace
12 The Aceh conﬂict: phases of conﬂict and hopes for peace Kamarulzaman Askandar The Acehnese struggle for self-determination has been one of the longest and bloodiest insurgencies in Southeast Asia. It has gone through several phases over the years, and is currently winding down after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government of Indonesia (GoI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki, Finland. This MoU presented Aceh with a ceaseﬁre and the best alternative to conﬂict and war for a very long time. The details of the MoU are still being tested and implemented – the decommissioning of troops on both sides, the surrender and destruction of GAM weapons, amnesty for GAM members, both jailed as well as those at large, and the laying down of the foundation for a new political structure for Aceh with the potential involvement of GAM and other ‘local’ political parties in the politics of Aceh. This chapter will look at the diﬀerent phases of the Aceh conﬂict, concentrating on the period since 1976, which is seen as the most intense period in Aceh insurgency, before going into the current arrangements under the Helsinki Agreement. Attention is also focused on the roles of the civil society as one of the peace-building actors in this conﬂict over the years and especially since the tsunami of 2004. It will be argued that throughout these events, the civil society continues to play a...
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