Contributed by Jim Hayes
Once again Australia’s government does what Uncle Sam tells it to do. This time, its to participate in military aggression in the Strait of Hormuz.
Make no mistake. This is aggression. It is much less about defending the flow of oil, than it is about interfering in another nation’s internal affairs. Like or don’t like the politics of Iran, it remains that what happens internally is a matter for the people of Iran, and not for outsiders to decide its government and direction.
For some time now, the United States has adopted the policy of regime change. What this really means that it reserves the right to get rid of any government, in any country, that Washington and its backers don’t like. The prerogative is not allowed to anyone else. International law and accepted behaviour are for everyone but the United States.
The current lifting of presence the in the Strait of Hormuz is about the escalation of tensions with Iran, arguably at least in part a strategy, to deflect attention to failure in other areas of American foreign policy. We could mention Venezuela, Korea, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and China. We could mention the mishandling of relations with Europe.
Above all, the present confrontation with Iran is designed to turn around the weakened position of the United States as a shaker and mover in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.
Iran is giving support and substantial aid to nations and movements seeking greater independence and self-determination. These translate into growing political influence. The incentive is to counter this.
The newly developing situation in the Strait has not been caused by Iran. It began with the United States walking away from the existing nuclear agreement. International observers have said that Iran was sticking to it. This made no difference.
Severe economic sanctions were then put on this nation. It was followed up with blaming Iran for attacks on Saudi tankers, although there is no evidence to back this up. Then an Iranian ship was detained by Britain working in collusion with the United States. Iran retaliated by seizing a British ship for a short time and promising to escalate if the aggression continued.
The situation calls for the de-escalation of tension, not building it. Iran is not mounting attacks close to the shores of the United States, Britain or Australia. This is exactly what these nations are doing to Iran.
If it concerned just one country it would be bad enough. Unfortunately, regional and global tensions are also heating up. The presence in the Strait of Hormuz is one of the major possible triggers for global conflict, bringing the potential use of horrific weapons and prospect of immense destruction and suffering. This is the last thing the world needs.
Australia’s involvement in this is unjustifiable on any grounds. It may be only 200 troops. This still has political connotations and could easily escalate very quickly. The lives of Australians in peril, not for the preservation of freedom, but to secure a big power’s imperial ambitions and control over oil.
It also underlines Australia’s lack of real political independence. Others play the tune and Australian political leaders follow obediently and blindly. The existing Us Australia alliance is not a partnership between equals for mutual benefit. It has the form of a master-servant relationship.
This must end.
Following is the content of a press release from the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)
Australia shows contempt for an international rules-based order, agreeing to join the US and UK with a naval, air and ADF personel presence in the Persian Gulf without any national debate or UN resolution.
PM Scott Morrison announced today that Australia would join an international mission to protect trade through the Strait of Hormuz.
The international force consists of the UK, US, Australia and Bahrain.
Spokesperson for the Independent and Peaceful Australia network, Ms Brownlie said: “This is being presented as protection of the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and in Australia’s national interest, but it is clear the US is chafing at the bit for an opportunity to attack Iran having spent many years imposing harsh sanctions on the people and most recently pulling out of the JCPOA effectively destroying prospects for peace with Iran.”
“it is also worth noting the irresponsibility of our government in allowing our oil stocks to be so low making us more vulnerable to supply issues creating a dependence on the US to provide back-up reserves”
“The last illegal action taken by the US ,UK and Australia was to form the so-called coalition of the willing to mount an attack and invasion of Iraq opening a pandora’s box of instability in the whole region”
“Australia has no interest in a conflict in the Persian Gulf, and no enmity towards Iran. Such a conflict without a UN Security Council resolution would be illegal, and would expose Australian leaders and the ADF to accusations of the war crime of aggression,” said Ms Brownlie.
Former secretary of the defence department, Paul Barratt, told The Guardian. Australian involvement in potential military action in the Gulf could be illegal, and argued it was “very foolish for us to get involved in this provocative behaviour”.
“This is an application of military force. There ought to be a debate in the parliament, and we ought not to engage in any activity that would foreseeably involve the use of military force without that debate,” he said.
“Australian leaders need to heed the lessons of the past. Its time we decoupled from US foreign policy and act independently in the interests of peace and stability,” said Ms Brownlie.