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Friday, January 24, 2014

Indonesia threatens Australia with war

Indonesia has threatened Australia with war.  "If we notice any border violations, our air base in Makassar will be ready - Australia is reachable from there" the Jakarta Post told its readers yesterday. The Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in the South Sulawesi provincial capital is home to the 11th Squadron of 16 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flankers which have a maximum of range of 3,000 kilometres, the newspaper said.

Indonesian military officials said that its Navy warships, including frigates, fast torpedo craft and corvettes and maritime patrol aircraft have been deployed to waters off its southern border.

Airforce spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjahjanto told the newspaper they are watching four radars which all face Australia.

Those comments are quite clear, they are declaring war on Australia if we don't behave.

So we have a big problem.  Our socalled friendly neighbour refuses to allow our government to turn asylum seeker boats back to Indonesia and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is determined to do it.

The problem started when the Australian Navy entered Indonesian waters, more than once.  Their excuse was lame - they said it was an accident which puts the credibility of the Navy captain at zero.

Then the ABC showed footage of several African asylum seekers with burns on their hands, accusing the Australian Navy personnel of torture.  The Navy vehemently denies it ever happened. 

Professor Damien Kingsbury from Deakin University said "Indonesia has always been pensive about its territorial integrity and Australia has played a role in that in the past - there's a sensitivity about that.  If Indonesia did that to Australia, we would be very upset, if not more so."

Tony Abbott apologised to Indonesia for intruding "inadvertently" into Indonesia's territory "on several occasions" in recent weeks.

Two countries so close geographically yet culturally worlds apart. The people of Indonesia believe that Australia has an obligation to accept asylum seekers because we signed the UN Refugee Convention and they did not.

They are overwhelmed with refugees waiting up to 30 years before being offered a place in a third country.  They live in squalid conditions, are unable to work and their children are not allowed to attend school. Compared to our boat people problem, you can see where the resentment is coming from.

All eyes are now on Tony Abbott and how he handles this serious situation.