Tuesday, June 06, 2006

War on two fronts?

Today the Christian Science Monitor, which has already distinguished itself with some fine coverage of the war in Iraq, has a detailed report on the cat and mouse battles gangs of East Timorese and the Aussie-led intervention force are fighting in the backstreets of Dili. The Aussie Defence Minister boasted that the East Timorese would lay down their arms as soon as his troops got their boots on the ground; now, two weeks into the intervention, he and John Howard are reduced to begging Asian nations to contribute troops to try to stabilise the situation in Dili. Aussie commanders on the ground sound demoralised, as copious amounts of tear gas fail to do the job.

The Aussie Greens are reacting particularly hysterically to the failure of Howard's grunts to bring the natives under control. Greens leader Bob Brown is urging Howard to bring 'our boys' home from Afghanistan and Iraq - so that they can be deployed in East Timor, not to mention the Solomons and other parts of the 'arc of instability' around Australia. Fiji is the latest storm on the horizon, as the re-elected Qarase government tries to move against its critics in the country's army with the same sort of mass sacking that sparked the crisis in East Timor.

Australia has been one of Bush's 'heavy lifters' in Iraq, but it also has all sorts of obligations and interests as the US's deputy sheriff in the Asia-Pacific region. The country's military is becoming dangerously stretched as it tries to operate on two fronts for Bush.


Blogger Mark K said...

Do you have a reference for these comments you attribute to the Australian Greens here? Couldn't

7:41 pm  
Blogger maps said...

I can't remember where I read Brown's most recent sgatement but a quick google find this earluier expression of the same sentiment:

'Leave Iraq' call as warships head for East Timor

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Senator Brown, 13th May 2006
"The colossal blunder of involving Australia in Iraq is highlighted by neighbourhood tensions in East Timor, West Papua, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Fiji and the strain on Australia's military capacity, Greens leader Bob Brown said today as two Australian warships were dispatched towards East Timor.

"Prime Minister Howard should recall our armed services from Iraq," Senator Brown said.

"That decision, besides making Australia more prone to terrorist attack, makes us less able to cover multiple crises in our neighbourhood.

"The PM should be touring our troubled neighbourhood capitals instead of more comforting stops in Washington, London and Dublin," Senator Brown said.

11:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Jack Ross is the leader of a cult which is actually called, ironically enough, 'C.u.l.t.' He is not any sort of hereditary 'chief' - his father probably has nothing to with his activities - but more of a New Guinea-style 'big man' (see the post Maps made only a day or two ago).

Ross is rumoured to show his followers something called 'the faces of hatred' every night. One night it could be the Ayatollah, the next it could be Sadham Hussein...any old scapegoat will do.

Back to the New Guinea connection: one of Ross's treasured sayings is 'to sing with pigs is human'. Ross is a pig.

I hope this helps.

I am yours etc
Sanjay Wells

2:44 am  
Blogger Mark K said...

Thanks for digging that up. But it's not that damning in itself, merely a bit dubious. The guy stops short of actually urging on the invasion. And more recently Kerry Nettle put out this release questioning the Australian role in East Timor's civil strife.

7:19 am  
Anonymous Mike B said...

I actually think the Greens have been conspicuously quiet about the whole affair, apart from that Nettle release. I wonder if there is some disagreement in the leadership.

12:05 pm  
Blogger maps said...

The release is consistent with what the Greens have been saying for years.

On June 27th, 2003 Greens leader Senator Bob Brown told ABC Radio: “We have maintained al
ways that we needed to be putting much more into ... security in the neighbourhood.... [T]he Solomon Islands has been ... festering away without the government acting on it. And it’s acting now, that’s to be welcomed.”

"The New Zealand Greens will be supporting this peacekeeping force, as will our colleagues the Australian Greens on other side of the Tasman. We are very pleased that they are putting their support behind this, because it is something that the Greens as a whole, internationally, put forward, that we should really concentrate on peacemaking, trying to bring parties together, and trying to resolve the situations in other countries in as peaceful a manner as possible but backed up with policing and peacekeeping forces, where required. I think we need to specialise in this area...One of the Green Party's proposals is a peacekeeping school in New Zealand"
Hmm. Like the School of the Americas?

12:27 pm  

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