27.5.06

Gunpoint enforced peace

How the conflict has unfolded • NEARLY 600 heavily-armed soldiers were sacked from East Timor's army, the F-FDTL, at the beginning of this month after going on strike. They took their weapons and set up camp in the hills. This is of course whilst regrettable is classed as mutiny why this has happened would never have happened in a western country like the USA, Australia or the UK for example; I can however see their point of view. It now seems as a result of that; that there are around a 140 Australian special forces (commandos and SAS) who have permission to use maximum force if confronted by anyone carrying a firearm, all up it seems there are 1800 of our military personnel and 5 navy ships to enforce peace in the capital Dili. The largest force to leave Australia since we first went to stop the Indonesians in 1999 called Interfet, which was strictly an Australian operation after this the UN took over but we still had troops there. They say freedom comes at a price and it sure did when the East Timorese shook off the yoke of their colonial masters (Portugal) and after getting independence and free elections which were monitored by the UN, to find the Indonesians were back on their case once again. Honest John it seems is staying until the job is done; I always thought it had been done but it appears not. I understand his reluctance to just invade the country as it is a sovereign nation but now he was asked to help it seems he has, that alone will not ensure his party my vote but it does seem he is living up to his nickname at last.

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