1300 Australian soldiers will be sent to East Timor to quell the unrest and violence there. The troubles began when nearly 600 soldiers who went on strike protesting ethnic discrimination, were fired en masse. The first 130 soldiers have arrived at Dili airport today to secure it for further troop transports.
Unlike Iraq, East Timor is of vital strategic importance to Australia. There’s the resource-sharing of the oil and gas fields in the Timor Gap, and not to mention that any kind of failed states in such close proximity would not be good for Australia. The obvious results of such a situation would be crime and money laundering, refugees and humanitarian concerns, and easy hideouts for terrorists.
So bravo to the Australian government and the Army for sending the soldiers in. The Army certainly needs the good publicity after the Kovco fiasco. And if the government can fix East Timor (again), then they should really be concentrating on the Solomons Islands next. But one basketcase at a time.