Saturday, May 13, 2006

Time for sanity on Iran

Confrontational ... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to reject UN measures against Iran's nuclear program. Photo: Reuters

The one thing that would galvanise Iranians behind their hardline President would be a strike by the West, writes Ed O'Loughlin in Tehran. Sydney Morning Herald


While Australian PM, Howard has been a willing accomplice in Bush’s military adventures, he might be facing a shortage of resources at the moment.

Deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Solomon Islands and now East Timor will severely limit Australia’s ability to play war games in Iran.

There are doubt about the country’s ability to play a role in the Sudan conflict, the sort of engagement their military is best suited for. The UN have requested helicopter support, which is stretched to the limit with current commitments.

Arguably Naval deployments in the Gulf region could be diverted to support an Iran conflict, as could ship earmarked for East Timor. Exactly what kind of support these would provide in the projected ‘quick, sharp’ air strike is a moot point.

Two thirds of Australians are opposed to involvement in Iran, but opposition has never stopped Howard. A run down from recent reports:

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would discuss Iran and relations with China when he meets U.S. President George W. Bush on May 16.
On Iran's nuclear program, Howard said he had given no thought to military involvement.

Australia has about 1,320 soldiers in Iraq as part of the U.S-led campaign, and 540 soldiers in Afghanistan. Two-thirds of Australians don't back the nation's involvement in the Iraq war, according to a Newspoll survey of 1,200 people published in the Australian newspaper on Dec. 31. BLOOMBERG

Three Australian navy ships have been ordered to strife-torn East Timor, and a fourth is on stand-by, as increasing unrest forced the UN to extend its mission in Dili by a month.

John Howard confirmed yesterday that two amphibious transport navy ships - Manoora and Kanimbla - had been deployed to waters off East Timor as a contingency measure.

A third vessel - the amphibious heavy-lift ship Tobruk - has joined the taskforce, while the missile frigate Adelaide is standing by in Darwin if needed.

The Prime Minister said the pre-positioning of the warships was required in case of a request for assistance from the East Timor Government, but none had been made so far. The AUSTRALIAN

The Australian Navy

Today's fleet consists of around 60 vessels including frigates, submarines, patrol boats and auxiliary ships. The RAN today is one of the most modern in the Pacific, tasked with the ability to defend the home waters, and undertake operations in farout locations. Current deployments of the navy include: contributions to the multinational force in Iraq; support for the United Nations mission in East Timor; and a "regional assistance mission" with New Zealand in the Solomon Islands. Wikipedia

AUSTRALIA'S capacity to commit troops to the planned peacekeeping force in war-torn Sudan has been questioned by UN ambassador Robert Hill.

The former defence minister said this could prevent Diggers being part of the 20,000-strong peacekeeping force the UN wants deployed in Sudan's western Darfur region by January.

The UN was "always after air transport and helicopters", he said, but warned that Australia would find it particularly difficult to meet any requests for its Blackhawk choppers.

Note: some of you will be aware of my doubts about the eventuality of an Iran strike by Bush’s team. But those doubts are modified by other commentators; the ones who point out so clearly that these people, the Bush war mongers, aren’t likely to be held back by petty notions like logic.

The problem is it seems their agenda, as opposed to the rest of us, diverges wildly. We have allowed our leaders to have too much at stake to be concerned about the people on whose behalf they govern.


Kvatch said...

OK, I know that a bad pers--frog, but I can't resist.

The RAN today is one of the most modern in the Pacific, tasked with the ability to defend the home waters...

No sh*t?! So I make it one RAN vessel for every 417 (or so) kilometers of coastline. Yup, that'll work. ;-)

Cartledge said...

Fair go, don't shoot the messenger. I did put that excerpt there in more an ironic context.
The fact remains that the sardine fleet isn't going to be a great benefit in an Iran conflict.
You can sleep safely froggy, there will be no invasion from across the Pacific.