Wednesday, November 06, 2002

A fairly good Editorial in today’s Australian newspaper. As usual, however, the editors carefully avoid actually making a stand:
If the Iraqi dictator rejects the resolution, or allows inspectors in but then interferes with their work, a US-led attack on Iraq appears inevitable. While the case against him still stands, the Bali bombing has forced Australians to rethink our priorities. However, that does not mean abandoning our support for the US in its efforts to get rid of the Hussein regime and its weapons of mass destruction.

Yes? No? Maybe?

There is no way to predict with certainty how Australia's support for a US intervention will play out in Indonesia. It is too early to forcast how Jakarta's crackdown on Islamic extremists will impact domestically. Indonesia's affront at its citizens being questioned by Australian intelligence agencies over suspected links with Jemaah Islamiah shows how easily underlying bilateral tensions can come to the fore, even in the face of a horrific terrorist attack in which innocent civilians from both countries are killed. It is possible elements within the Indonesian political elite with old scores to settle would exploit any public anger over Australia's support for a US strike against Iraq.

Firstly, Indonesia is not an Arab country. Secondly, Iraq, as we are constantly told, is a secular state, not an Islamic state. Thirdly, Indonesian terrorism in response to an attack on Iraq would show up al Qaeda links, or Iraqi links, pretty strongly. Fourth, who gives a fat rat’s arse what the Indonesians think? Whichever way it pans out, we will know more. Indonesia has seen that we can prosecute a small war in their territory and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it They also know that inaction on their part will see the further collapse of their tourism industry, a major source of hard currency (and bribes).

But this was interesting:
Nor should we assume any backlash on our doorstep will destabilise Indonesia or the region. US intervention in Afghanistan did not set off an explosion of hatred by Muslims around the world, the vast majority of whom had no time for the Taliban. The US has come to the aid of Arab and Islamic parties in places like Egypt, Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo. It supported the mujahideen groups to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It even gave military aid to Iraq in its long and bloody war against Iran. As Barry Rubin writes in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs: "During the last half-century in 11 out of 12 major conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and secular forces, or Arabs and non-Arabs, the United States has sided with the former group."

Puts fears about the “Muslim street” into perspective, doesn’t it? It means that claims of US repression of Arabs and Muslims are basically codswallop and can be easily disregarded.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?