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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

homegrown terrorism « Previous | |Next »
August 5, 2009

Australia now has its own home-grown terrorism. Australian police have detained four men suspected of planning to assault an army barracks in Sydney and charged three. The suspects from the Somali and Lebanese Australian diaspora are said to have links to Al-Shabab in Somalia, which is understood to have affiliations with al-Qaeda. Thankfully, we have a counter extremism strategy that does not involve the ramping up of the terrorism alert to red, the deployment of the politics of fear, and the strident rhetoric about the war on terrorism and al-Qaeda associated with the Howard conservative regime that made political Islam the Other that had to be destroyed.

In Australia Somalia is represented as a failed state and a dark and dangerous pirate theme park where American ship captains and US special forces go to gain their 15 minutes of fame.This is a world of pirates, Islamists, refugees, anarchy, civil war. This is the world of al-Qaeda not modernity.

The ABC report I saw talked about Islamic extremists trying to overthrow the government of Somali without mentioning that the previous Somali Transitional Government was allied with Ethiopian forces backed by the US; that Ethiopia's occupation was an unprecedented disaster; that the U.S.-Ethiopian intervention s fanned the very extremist flames it intended to extinguish; and that the current Government in Somalia is a moderate Islamist one with Sharia law; President Sheikh Sharif is a former chairman of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

The UN backed national unity or transitional federal government that emerged from the Djibouti peace process faces a hostile opposition from radical and insurgent Islamists, which include Al-Shabaab. This has developed into fighting between the transitional government and the hard-line Islamist factions in Mogadishu. The two (loosely allied) Islamic groupings--- al-Shabab and Hizb-ul-Islam---are in effect splinter groups of the former Islamic Courts Union and they are strongly opposition to the new transitional government.

So the lengthy civil war continues. Somalia is still in crisis. Another Afghanistan, in that the countless foreign interventions have made Somalia a terrorist hotbed?

The International Crisis Group argues that these oppositional Islamist groups/militias need to be drawn into, and become part of the political process to build a functioning federal state:

The biggest obstacle to peace in Somalia this time may in fact not be Somalis' infamously fractious politics but the reluctance of the international community to engage with the Islamist opposition. However, if there is going to be a lasting settlement that returns even a semblance of stability to the country, Islamists cannot be excluded.vIf they are kept out of the process, the extremist Islamists will maintain the upper hand and, quite simply, there will be no process. In that case, peace would, yet again, remain a distant illusion for Somalia's suffering population.

If people who have a political grievance are not at the discussion table, they will find some other way to get noticed or to derail the political process. Hence the pattern of Islamic radicalisation in Somalia opposed to the current government that represents a confluence of western-backed secular governance and moderate former members of the Islamist-led insurgency.

There is little doubt that a growing threat to Australia's national security from within stems from Australia's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Australian nationals of Muslim background, who are frustrated with the perceived injustices committed against Muslims in the two countries, have joined extremist Islamic groups in protest against Australian foreign policy.

Australian citizens of Somali origin are being recruited and radicalized by al-Shabab, which appears to be increasing its recruitment in diaspora communities in North America, Europe and Australia in an effort to become a trans-national network on an al-Qaeda model.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:32 AM | | Comments (15)


Somali - like many other "failed states" are creation of Western World. Dangerous products were dumped in its waters by European nations, its fishing industry ruined and its citizens diseased. It is natural for a person to take up arms when his existence is threatened.

Somalis' have a difficult job ahead to rebuild their country and state beyond the current transitional federal government.

Slightly off topic...

Those four blokes can't be too bright! They (apparently) planned to attack a MILITARY base??? While the loons overseas concentrate on schools, hotels, train stations, bars and tourist buses... out boys decide to have a got at a place full of trained men with automatic weapons. Cool!

Oh, and our meeja heads couldn't help themselves. Not even the ABC. Lost count of how many times I heard the term "police terror raids" in various reports yesterday. What is that exactly?

I guess that it refers to the idea that jihadist terror is inside Australia. Mervyn F. Bendle sspells this term out in The Australian:

As the Melbourne case illustrates, the jihadi movement is increasingly capable of franchising and underwriting decentralised and distributed systems of terrorist recruitment, training and operations on a global scale, exploiting alienated elements in the world's Muslim diaspora communities to take their jihad to the hearts of Western nations.

This new strategy demands a sophisticated response and while Australia has once again been able to rely on its counter-terrorism and security agencies, it is not clear how long our luck will last. At the very least we must do away with the obsession with language and the politically correct circumlocutions that the federal and Victorian governments are seeking to impose on discussion and debate, and be permitted to call a spade a spade, an Islamo-fascist an Islamo-fascist and a terrorist a terrorist.

Bendle reckons that Al-Shabaab is committed to the strategy of global jihad and much of its support arises from its ability to present itself to radicals as a movement committed to imposing Islamist-fascist rule across the world.

The discourse from the police and government is all about an imminent terrorist attack having been avoided by counter terrorists agencies that are ahead of the curve. Its presented as fact.

The presumption of innocence has been sidelined. No evidence been made public to show what is being claimed is fact as opposed to fiction.

Given the current size and spread of "the world's Muslim diaspora communities" their "global jihad" hasn't exactly been GLOBAL, has it.

Language. Indeed.

You'll notice that in contrast to the Howard years, media hasn't been big on reporting Rudd's response to this. Rudd waffled on about the importance of the presumption of innocence yesterday, but media ignored that bit. He went on about the continuing threat of terrorism, but also the capacity of Australian authorities to deal with it effectively and the importance of public confidence in those authorities. Nothing like the explosive political, and politicised AFP, responses to anything to do with the topic under Howard.

My favourite media thing was the goosey Australian letting the cat out of the bag early to get a scoop. That has to be at least as silly as four blokes taking on a military base.

There is a very simple solution here. We adjust our immigration and refugee policy to explicitly exclude those whose frustrations in their own countries are likely to be taken out on ours.

"...exclude those whose frustrations in their own countries are likely to be taken out on ours."

Righto. But we really should have started this policy about 150 years ago. Damn those Irish!

JG, How are you going to assess the likelihood? Will you begin with the assumption of innocence or guilt?

Racial profiling fits snugly with the conservative views on immigration and refugee policy. that denies the link between Australia's military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and homegrown terrorism


My response is a sarcastic/ironic riposte to those, such as Joydeep, who seem to be excusing locals plotting local terrorist acts.

These people argue 'well, what do we expect, given how awful the west has been, blah, blah, blah'.

Therefore, perhaps Immigration should employ these types to use their wisdom of whiteman's terrible deeds to assess which victims are likely to be more peeved and thus plot to blow us all to smithereens!

Sorry JG,
Sarcasm is notoriously hard to spot in text.

As a serious question it's a hard one. Do people come from Somalia with the intention of blowing us up, or so they decide to blow us up sometime after they arrive? Probably a bit of both.

We can't do anything about what's going on in Somalia, but it would be good to know what happens to people here so we could at least attempt to fix it.

What about a two-pronged approach?

We stop sending troops overseas to kill THEIR people.


We deny entry to THEIR people who might want to kill us.

Of course, it's far easier to spot the intent of fit, well-armed troops in a foreign country. No so easy to determine the intent of confused refugees. But you can be bloody certain that some of those buggers are out to get us. Why? Obviously because they just hate us.

Had to laugh at the Oz presenting McClelland's draconion alterations to to the Howard/Ruddock secret police laws as a"softening".
As to the clods busted the other week, my impression is of a giant media beatup in preparation for the feeding of McClelland's "arbeiter" transgresssions of the rule of law and concepts of justice.