In an old post (June 3), Gareth Parker asserted that Australia was in danger of being attacked by terrorists purely because it is a secular, non-Muslim country. His opinion stems from a statement by a judge sentencing Jack Roche to prison for terrorist activities.
In the Asia Times this week, Speaking Freely contributor Rich Bowden considers that Australia’s close commitment to following US foreign policy on Iraq could have made Australia more vulnerable to an al Qaeda-led attack:
Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of terrorism study at Singapore’s Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, said to reporters at the 2004 Conference of Commissioners of Police of Australasia and the South West Pacific Region, “Australia continues to face a certain level of threat. This scale of threat has increased since Australia’s high-profile participation in Afghanistan and in the Iraq campaigns.”
John Pistole, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s executive assistant director for counter-terrorism, agreed with this analysis in an interview on Sydney’s Radio 2UE. “I would agree with the statement that an attack is likely inevitable. Any Western nation that is not an Islamic state is a terror target for al-Qaeda … any country that allies itself with the US, unfortunately, is a target.” (Emphasis mine.)
If nothing had been done after the day the World Trade Centre was destroyed, al Qaeda would have felt emboldened and carried out more plans to terrorise more ‘infidels’. Sure. No argument about that. What I do believe, however, is countries that have allied themselves unquestioningly to the US’ ‘War on Terror’ have pushed in to make sure they’re now at the front of the target queue.
This is not bad or good; even if I thought US policy was the opposite of short-sighted and poorly thought-out, becoming a top target is a natural consequence of fighting terrorist groups. The question is, Is / Was the current policy worth sticking our necks out for?