Military Politics, Islam, and the State in Indonesia: From Turbulent Transition to Democratic Consolidation
Based on a decade of research in Indonesia, this book provides an in-depth account of the military's struggle to adapt to the new democratic system after the downfall of Suharto's authoritarian regime in 1998. Unlike other studies of the Indonesian armed forces, which focus exclusively on internal military developments, Mietzner's study emphasizes the importance of conflicts among civilians in determining the extent of military involvement in political affairs. Analysing disputes between Indonesia's main Muslim groups, Mietzner argues that their intense rivalry between 1998 and 2004 allowed the military to extend its engagement in politics and protect its institutional interests. The stabilization of the civilian polity after 2004, in contrast, has led to an increasing marginalization of the armed forces from the power centre. Drawing broader conclusions from these events for Indonesia's ongoing process of democratic consolidation, the book shows that the future role of the armed forces in politics will largely depend on the ability of civilian leaders to maintain functioning democratic institutions and procedures.