The War Against Terror - on our doorstep
Recent terrorist attacks have taken place in Karachi, Yemen
(French oil super tanker)...and now in what was known as 'paradise, the
safest place in Indonesia -– Bali'.
"A cowardly act designed to create terror and chaos"
declared President Bush following the bomb blasts in Bali on Sunday 13 October.
Precisely what terrorists seek to achieve from their bloody antics. Although
no-one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, many World leaders are
pointing the finger straight at al Qaeda.
Bali, Indonesia's most popular tourist destination is
reeling after becoming the latest victim of 'global terrorism'. Three bomb
blasts, masses of international tourists on holiday enjoying the nightlife and
very little security has left over 188 people dead, the majority of them
Many believe the Bali vacation area was targeted specifically
as a direct attack against Australia. With Australian Prime Minister John Howard
being one of President Bush's most ardent supporters, and Australian special
forces fighting against al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan, there is motive
aplenty. The Australian embassy in Indonesia has warned Australians living in
the region to avoid places where large gatherings of Westerners (restaurants and
bars included) occurred regularly. Apparently, no such warnings have been issued
to Australian travellers.
Prime Minister Howard, shaken by the ferocious attack
affecting so many Australians announced the day after the bombing that the
victims were mostly young Westerners "just innocent, having fun". To Muslim
fundamentalists the tourists would have been seen as decadent Westerners -– and
the act entirely justifiable. Meanwhile, back in Australia shock has turned to
anger for many as talkback shows, editorials and letter pages in many newspapers
indicated resentment of John Howard's government for bringing this upon
Australia, as a result of supporting George Bush's war on terror.
With the latest terrorist acts occurring on 'the doorstep
of the south Pacific', the concept of global terrorism is fast becoming
a reality to those who believed/hoped there was some type of immunity way down
in the Southern Hemisphere.
The New Zealand Government in particular has for the past two
years held the view that NZ existed in a 'benign strategic environment'. As
a result of this philosophy, traditional military ties with Australia and the
USA (Anzus) have become a low priority, and the NZ Defence force budget
dramatically reduced. Following the Bali attacks National Defence spokesman
Richard Worth believes NZ "at the 'very least' should be looking at the
fundamental causes of the rift between itself and Australia on Southeast Asian
and Pacific strategic issues. We must be better equipped to work with our
friends in the event that such incidents as that in Bali contribute to a pattern
of rising instability in Southeast Asia". Yes -– I would tend to agree with
Richard. Like it or not, our choice really is to stand against Fundamentalist
Muslim Terrorism, or be converted to Islam. The terrorists are not going to stop
their killing regime or hold up the process of eradicating the free Western
spirit because we (in NZ) do not wish to be involved.
Almost reminiscent of the aftermath of the September 11
terror, questions about who -– and how are creating the type of
fear and insecurity these murderers hope for. Indonesian Vice President Hamzah
Haz blamed weak intelligence and poor security measures for the tragedy. "Our
weakness so far has been our intelligence. Our intelligence should not be NATO
-– no action, talk only" Haz was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.
Indonesia's fledging economy, still recovering from the
1997 Asian financial crisis has sunk once again into disarray as crucial
investor dollars are now threatened. Haz commented that without the injection of
investor capital "...our country (Indonesia) will collapse". The all
important tourist industry of Bali is the biggest contributor to the local
(Balinese) economy, and the aftershock of this disaster will certainly bring
with it very negative consequences. Western travellers will begin avoiding areas
of the world like Indonesia, places easily accessible to Muslim fundamentalist
Speculation is rife as to where the next attack on the West
will take place: as the Bali bombings have revealed, terrorists are creative in
reaching their objectives -– and travellers must take caution. Many believe it
is only a matter of time before Great Britain becomes the focus of al Qaeda
In the USA: insecurity has been rekindled as many fear a new
wave of terrorist activity is underway. Still responding to security issues
relating to September 11 2001, Boeing is months behind in its schedule to
install bomb detection machines into all major United States airports. The sheer
enormity of the installations along with logistical issues have put the effort
an estimated six months behind.