Monday, November 30, 2015

What will the ADF's Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs advice when Australian national interests are threatened by Islamic forces?

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Captain Mona Shindy, RAN, is the Royal Australian Navy's Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs. The RAN statement announcing her appointment stated: 
As part of her role as Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs, Captain Shindy works to help create a better understanding among Defence members of the Islamic faith, traditions and cultural sensitivities. Captain Shindy explained how this work helps to improve Defence capability.‘It gives our people, particularly when working with our close Muslim-allied navies, a better understanding and appreciation of serving Muslims, their needs and how they view the world’, she said.
Why the Australian Navy and other arms of the ADF now require advice on how to deal with "Muslim-allied navies" is a mystery. Her superiors would be  aware that navy and other defence force personnel from Muslim countries in this region have enjoyed good relations with their ANZAC and British counterparts going back more than 60 years. They would also be aware that much of that relationship was built of a good supply of "haram" alcohol at their respective officers' mess. Given the existing relationship it is hard to see what might be gained by  the interjection  of a severe looking  hijabed matron.
Nevertheless, it is noted that the  Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs has a rather broad and imprecise brief, It does appear as if the role will include advice on say the management of threats to Australian national interests  from regional Muslim groups. Often these are militant groups who are well funded and who have the backing of regional governments and of the international Muslim community. The threat can only be met with force,for these are not groups who are interested in negotiation. Given her public statements it is hard to believe that Capt Shindy would advice any armed response that will harm fellow Muslims.
In 1973, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) began a massive military operation to quell the Moro separatists, including the MNLF. After the MNLF suffered major defeats in conventional battles against the AFP, military advisors from Libya and Malaysia helped the group turn to guerrilla tactics, which it effectively used against government forces. Simultaneously with the AFP’s offensive, the MNLF solidified its organizational structure.

It is not inconceivable that Australian national interest could be threatened by these types of armed Muslim groups and that an armed response would be required. One fears that the Strategic Adviser on Islamic Cultural Affairs is unlikely to see it that way, her loyalty to her coreligionist taking priority over her loyalty to Queen and country.Anticipating a likely response, I should end by stating that an argument about "peaceful alternatives", and "Australian foreign policy" and/or "local Muslim sensitivities" cannot be considered seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment