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Why Australia wants “regime change” in East Timor
by wsws (reposted)
If one were to believe the official version, the intervention of Australian troops into East Timor is driven by the purest motives. They are there simply to restore peace and stability after the collapse of government authority. But this political fiction has been increasingly exposed by events of the past few days as the power struggle which sparked the crisis comes to the surface.
The Howard government’s intervention has nothing to do with protecting the interests of the East Timorese people. It is aimed at bringing about a “regime change”—the replacement of the government of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri with an administration more in tune with Australian interests.

It is long been a dictum of foreign policy that there are no permanent allies or alliances, only permanent interests. This is certainly the case in East Timor where one of the chief concerns of the Australian government, supported by the opposition Labor Party, has been to ensure that other powers are not able to exert influence in what is explicitly referred to as “Australia’s own backyard”.

In 1999, the Howard government sent in troops to spearhead the UN military intervention in order to ensure that Australia, rather than the former colonial power, Portugal, exercised the greatest authority in post-independence East Timor and was in the best position to exploit its valuable oil and gas reserves. Nearly seven years on, the essential motivations remain the same.

The underlying conflict with Portugal came into the open last Friday when Prime Minister John Howard asserted during an interview that the crisis in East Timor was due to “poor governance”. This was a clear shot at Alkatiri’s government. It brought an immediate response from Portuguese Foreign Minister Diogo Freitas do Amaral, who criticised Howard’s remarks as “interference in the internal affairs” of East Timor. “We disagree with this kind of declaration by foreign countries,” he said.

But Howard was not deterred. In fact, he decided to say more at the next available opportunity.

In an appearance on the ABC television “Insiders” program on Sunday morning, Howard was asked “how bad” the government of East Timor had been and whether the responsibility rested with Alkatiri.

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By way of balance, on my balance piece, quite depressingTom McLoughlinSaturday Jun 3rd, 2006 4:45 AM
withdraw that on colour coded and WSWSTom McLoughlinFriday Jun 2nd, 2006 3:28 AM
No, wrong, and wrong againTom McLoughlin Friday Jun 2nd, 2006 3:23 AM
WSWS the only clear headed english voice on this issue? Even Amy in lockstep w/ Howardn4Tuesday May 30th, 2006 1:42 PM
Emergency rule for E Timor leaderBBC (reposted)Tuesday May 30th, 2006 8:36 AM
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