The remarkable transition to democracy by Indonesia after the fall of Suharto is showing signs of wear and tear.
INDONESIA, the world's largest Muslim society, is often held up as a model for Arab reformers. When Suharto fell in 1998 after three decades of authoritarian rule, Indonesia managed to keep both Islamist extremists and the army out of government. Instead, civil society groups led Indonesia's ''spring'', pushing a panicked elite to deliver liberal democracy and an open society.
These reforms have weathered the Asian economic crisis, elections, leadership changes and the GFC. Now the economy is growing at almost 7 per cent. If things stay on track, Indonesia is predicted to be one of the global ''big 5'' within decades.
This could be you, foreign optimists tell Arab rebels. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agrees, eager to sell Indonesia's ''democratic Islam'' brand as the United States looks for regional counterbalances to China. Indonesia's success in breaking Jemaah Islamiah with the open trials of hundreds of terrorists makes it all the more attractive to the West.