Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pity poor East Timor

The situation in East Timor (Timor Leste) is unravelling again. On any reading of the situation it is clearly another botch up in the Australian approach to protecting the troubled country.

Rebel leader, Major Reinado, and his followerd were being held in the Dili jail waiting for a UN trial. The Australian Army's peace keeping force was asked by the ET government to help guard the place.

No way, they say, they are mobile troops not prison guards. Well they are mobile now after Reinado and his follows set up a commotion then walked out of the place.

Reinado says he wants the current Fretilin government toppled but President Guzmao and PM Ramos-Horta are still holding to the correct constitutional approach and looking to a coming election for change.

Meanwhile the Aussie troops are trying to find a trace of the escaped rebels, who are not particularly set up for an attack but more likely to stir up unrest again.

In the end it's the arrogance and shortsightedness of the Australian approach. Arrogant in that they steadfastly ignore those in ET who really understand the cultural dynamics at play; square pegs in round holes.

Certainly Gusmao and Ramos-Horta are taking the difficult approach, but then the right way is often the difficult way. They want to create a solid foundation for the country, not continue the rebellion and conflict approach.

I guess the 'Pacific Sheriff' is so entrenched in dirty politics they really have no idea of what the ET leadership are striving for.

Australia's FM Downer wants "a more robust military presence there than that proposed by the United Nations." Perhaps he should be thinking in terms of a more responsive presence and stop blaming the UN.


romunov said...

Which one is the guy who went to the UN in the early 90s? I remember he had a beard back then. :>

Cartledge said...

Ramos-Horta was part of the UN push, but I don't recall a beard. It could have been Mari Alkatiri, the former PM.