The Role of Internal Resistance in East Timor’s Struggle for Independence

1496 Words Jan 24th, 2016 6 Pages
What was the role of internal resistance in East Timor’s independence from Indonesia in October 1999? East Timor’s much-deserved independence from Indonesia was a multidimensional achievement, with a wide range of economic and political implications. Internal resistance was certainly not the sole contributing factor – there was great interplay between numerous forces, such as the actions of Indonesian armed forces and paramilitary affiliates, Jakarta’s evolving political environment, and pressures from governments abroad, which led to the nation’s independence. However, internal resistance as a part of the independence struggle was particularly unique in East Timor as it manifested in two forms – violent resistance and non-violent …show more content…
This was a harrowing defeat in a war that claimed thirty percent of the East Timorese population.
However, Fretilin forces grit their teeth and continued their armed resistance efforts through sporadic fighting, particularly in the border areas, and in eastern areas. This was possible made possible by the survival of central committee members such as Gusmao and Hunu, as well as the strong traditional networks in villages and hamlets that came together to support and connect the pockets of resistance. Many Indonesian officials were initially skeptical that any armed resistance groups still existed, but their doubts were slashed after a six-hour ambush on an Indonesian military post in eastern Dili confirmed the reemergence of the independence movement. Going into the 1980’s, the Fretilin resistance had found a way to regroup and devise a new military strategy to confront the Indonesian troops once more.
The East Timorese’ armed resistance was impressive, particularly in how it managed to reestablish itself after Indonesia’s annihilation campaigns. Several comparative studies on armed struggles for independence argue that guerilla warfare is most likely to succeed when supported by three key elements – a land border with a friendly state, an external weapons supplier,

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