US - Southeast Asia

Chronology from Jul 2003 to Oct 2003

: Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri speaking to the UN General Assembly criticized the U.S. war in Iraq as creating more problems that it resolved.

:  1,500 U.S. marines deploy to Subic Bay to participate in a weeklong joint exercise with Philippine forces.

:  Two members of the International Red Cross visit detained Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and find her in good health.  She was not on a hunger strike as alleged by the U.S.

:  The U.S. State Department warns that terrorists will continue to threaten soft targets in Southeast Asia, such as shopping centers and places of worship.  JI and al-Qaeda still operate in the region.

:   The U.S. blocks the assets of 10 people allegedly associated with the JI group believed to be behind the October 2002 and August 2003 Bali and Jakarta Marriott bombings.

: Philippine President Arroyo denounces a U.S. Hawaii district court decision blocking the transfer of nearly $700 million controlled by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos from Swiss banks to the Philippine government. Arroyo calls the decision a violation of Philippine sovereignty.

: Burmese junta claims Aung San Suu Kyi is well and contrary to U.S. allegations not engaged in a hunger strike.

: Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirayuda questions the U.S. commitment to fight terrorism because it has not permitted Indonesian authorities to interrogate captured Indonesian terrorist Hambali.

:   An advance contingent of 21 Thai military engineers departs for Iraq to make arrangements for deployment of 430 additional personnel.

:  The U.S. State Department expressed deep concern over the well being of Burma prodemocracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has reportedly undertaken a hunger strike. She was incarcerated by the ruling military junta in May.

: Indonesian Vice President Hamzah Haz calls the U.S. the “terrorist king” for its war in Iraq in a speech before Muslim schools in Java.

: U.S. avoids comment on the conviction and four year sentence of radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakir Bashyir for attempting to overthrow the Indonesian government.  He was found not guilty of the more serious charge of planning the Christmas 2000 church bombings in Indonesia.

: A contingent of 443 Thai army engineers scheduled to go to Iraq is delayed until September or October because of U.S. inability to transport them to Karbala in time.

: The Philippines formally requests access to captured Indonesian terrorist Hambali currently in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location.

:  Indonesia seeks the extradition of captured terrorist mastermind Hambali, now in U.S. custody, who is suspected to be involved in several bombings, including those in Bali and the most recent Jakarta Marriott explosion.

:  U.S. announces that it has asked Thailand and the Philippines, among other countries, to send forces to Iraq to protect and carry out relief operations.

: Hambali, Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist with reputed links to al-Qaeda, is arrested in Thailand. U.S. intelligence was involved in his apprehension.

:   Singapore places five derelict World War II-vintage ships in the harbor at Changi Naval Base to protect U.S. ships moored there against terrorist ramming attacks.

: Thai PM Thaksin issues two antiterrorism decrees which become the legal basis for placing Hambali in U.S. custody.

:  U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce warns the American community in Indonesia that future attacks comparable to the bombing of the Marriott hotel are probable.

: Indonesian police, in a raid on a JI house in June, find documents listing U.S. companies such as Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and Unocal as targets, according to the Los Angeles Times.

:   The Thai newspaper Matichon criticizes Sen. John McCain for allegedly urging Thailand to support Burmese ethnic insurgents against the military junta in that country. The paper decries this request as an effort to force Thailand to confront its neighbor.

:   A car bomb explodes outside a Marriott hotel in Jakarta killing 12 and injuring over 100.  Vice President Hamzah Haz said it appeared the attack was directed at U.S. interests.  Indonesian officials have warned of possible attacks by Jemaah Islamiyah some of whose members are on trial for the October 2002 Bali bombings.

: Government officials announce leaders of the failed coup face a maximum penalty of 40 years in jail; other participants face up to 12 years.  A total of 321 soldiers are being held for court-martial.

: The Cambodian National Election Committee announces the July 27 election results: the Cambodian People’s Party wins over 47 percent of the votes in Cambodia’s general elections, short of the amount required to form a government. Rival parties (the opposition Sam Rainsy Party over 21 percent and the royalist Funcinpec party won over 20 percent) refuse to join a coalition with PM Hun Sen.

: Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announces Thailand has repaid its outstanding IMF debts of $17.2 billion following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

:   U.S. Senate approves the Singapore Free Trade Agreement, America’s first in Southeast Asia.

: The Philippine military intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus resigns, following the failed coup. In a letter submitted to President Arroyo, Corpus warns the crisis surrounding the insurrection is far from over.

:  Indonesian prosecutors urge a court to sentence a U.S. freelance journalist, William Nessen, to two months in jail for violating immigration regulations in rebellious Aceh province.

: Reports reveal U.S. equipment donated to the Philippine military was used in the July 26-27 failed mutiny against President Arroyo’s government.

: U.S. Sen. John McCain warns Cambodian Premier Hun Sen against intimidating opposition leaders in the wake of the July 27 election which requires his leading Cambodia People’s Party to craft a ruling coalition with one of the opposition parties.

: U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Francis Riccardone states full support for President Arroyo’s government in the wake of a failed mutiny by junior Philippine military officers.

:  President Bush signs a bill banning the import of products from Burma and issues an executive order freezing assets of senior Burmese officials and prohibiting virtually all remittances to Burma.

: Indonesia’s senior economic minister, Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti, announces the government will not renew its program with the IMF when it expires in December but will accept post-program monitoring while it pays down its nearly $10 billion IMF debt.

: Rebel officers storm a major commercial center in Manila’s financial district, allegedly holding the Australian ambassador, Ruth Pearce, and two Americans, and accuse the government of corruption. The 19-hour siege, which ended peacefully, marks the ninth army uprising in 17 years. The soldiers now face a court martial.

: Cambodia holds its third democratic election in a decade for the 123-seat National Assembly. The front-runners are parties led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge fighter who has been in power since 1985; the royalist Funcinpec party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh; and the Sam Rainsy Party, named for a former finance minister and banker.

:  U.S. Congress approves legislation for a Singapore-U.S. free trade agreement.

: ASEAN foreign ministers meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss Burmese military’s detention of Aung San Suu Kyi.

: The U.S. International Trade Commission approves anti-dumping duties of nearly 64 percent on catfish imports from Vietnam.

:  U.S. Congress approves an amendment to block $1 million through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program destined for Indonesia in retaliation for lax investigation of an August 2002 attack in Papua that killed two U.S. citizens and an Indonesian.

: The U.S. Congress approves legislation that tightens economic sanctions against Burma and freezes the government’s assets in the U.S.

:  Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi and two other suspected Abu Sayyaf members escape from Manila prison.

:  Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issue report condemning alarming rise in numbers of Indonesians being jailed for their political views.  The report alleges at least 46 prisoners of conscience have been jailed.

:  Gen. Endriartono Sutarto issues statement that the Indonesian military offensive against rebels in the northern province of Aceh will last much longer than its original mandate of six months, possibly even a decade.

: Philippines indicts alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Hambali and seven others for the 2001 bombing of Manila railway that killed 22.

:  Burmese junta’s official media issues statements against National League of Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi accusing her of being a pawn of the United States.

:  Pro-U.S. Filipinos face anti-American protesters condemning U.S. invasion of Iraq and demanding the pullout of U.S. troops training Filipino soldiers in the Philippines.

:  U.S. State Department sharply criticizes Banda Aceh court for five-year prison sentence given to Muhummad Nazar for “exercising his right to peaceful political activity.”

:  Philippine military releases statement that seized Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) documents indicate support for MILF from abroad, bombing plots against potential targets, and evidence of organizing terrorist training in the south.

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