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There is bitter irony here. Even for the winning side, this bloody outcome was not optimal. Indonesia was left in physical control of the towns, but not of the mountains, where low level guerrilla warfare continued for decades. It controlled most bodies but few hearts and minds among the traumatised population. Once news of the atrocities broke through the Indonesian and Australian information blockade, it deepened Indonesia’s diplomatic isolation. Within Indonesia, the East Timor atrocities exacerbated New Order militarism.

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