Evaluation of Risk to Australian Interests:
It is obvious from the array of facts presented above that the best way forward for policy makers in Canberra is to sever strategic alliance with the United States and focus its energies on mending ties with its South East Asian neighbours. The South East Asia region has a large Muslim population. Indonesia is a thriving centre for Islamic scholarship and practice. But unfortunately, Australia had sided with the oppressive Suharto regime and had tacitly aided injustice. The Muslims in the region have every reason to feel aggrieved; what Australia needs to keep its intelligence gathering efforts to a minimum and focus its energies on reaching out to its neighbours. Travel warnings and terror alerts cannot be more than superficial attempts to protect Australian citizens. A real change in the threat of terror will only come about when economic opportunism and imperialist ambition is replaced with humanitarian concern and noble statesmanship. The Australian indifference to Muslim causes goes back many decades, but the tensions have escalated post September 11, 2001:
“Southeast Asia–home to more than 250 million Muslims and to the largest Islamic country in the world (Indonesia) –has experienced a perceptible intensification of Islamic militancy after September 11, 2001. The futility of the US-led war in Iraq and the failure of the “coalition of the willing” (that includes Australia) to secure UN approval to attack Iraq have heightened Islamic animosity in the region and across the Muslim world” (Bellamy, 2004, p.155).
Hence, Australia must rethink its responsibility toward its neighbours. Attempts at providing its citizens with travel warnings and probability of terror attacks are short sighted and ineffective in bringing peace and harmony to the region in particular and the world in general.
Abuza, Zachary., “Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya.” Contemporary Southeast Asia 25, no. 2 (2003): 169+.
Abuza, Zachary. “Tentacles of Terror: Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian Network.” Contemporary Southeast Asia 24, no. 3 (2002): 427+.
Bellamy, Alex J. “Terrorism, Freedom and Security: Winning without War.” The Australian Journal of Politics and History 50, no. 1 (2004): 153+.
Bleiker, Roland., “Aestheticising Terrorism: Alternative Approaches to 11 September.” The Australian Journal of Politics and History 49, no. 3 (2003): 430+.
Brimley, Shawn. “Tentacles of Jihad: Targeting Transnational Support Networks.” Parameters 36, no. 2 (2006): 30+.
Burke, Jason. “Al Qaeda: The Mere Mention of Al Qaeda Conjures Images of an Efficient Terrorist Network Guided by a Powerful Criminal Mastermind. Yet Al Qaeda Is More Lethal as an Ideology Than as an Organization. “Al Qaedaism” Will Continue to Attract Supporters in the Years to Come-Whether Osama Bin Laden Is around to Lead Them or Not.” Foreign Policy, May/June 2004, 18+.
Chalk, Peter., “The Response to Terrorism as a Threat to Liberal Democracy.” The Australian Journal of Politics and History 44, no. 3 (1998): 373.