“Encirclement and Annihilation”
The Indonesian Occupation of East Timor
JOHN G. TAYLOR
When the Indonesian armed forces launched their invasion of East Timor on December 7, 1975, there was a general consensus that it would be a short-lived affair. The poorly armed East Timorese independence movement would be no match for the Indonesian army. Internationally, Indonesia was seen by the governments of the industrialized states as a crucial regional ally, whereas East Timor had no significant international support and could easily be isolated economically, politically, and diplomatically by Indonesia.
Yet, almost a quarter of a century later, this “short-lived” intervention had not achieved its aim of integrating East Timor into the Indonesian Republic. Indeed, quite the opposite had occurred, with East Timor's people voting overwhelmingly for independence on August 30, 1999. In pursuit of Indonesia's aim, however, at least 200,000 East Timorese, almost one-third of its preinvasion population, had died.1 Thousands had been detained without trial, tortured, and disappeared. Most had been forcibly resettled, and lived under constant military surveillance. For most of this twenty-four-year____________________