Indonesian military and the people smuggling trade
Yesterday it actually looked like the Indonesian government was finally doing something positive about the people smuggling operations that is so rampant. In fact 5 military officers have been arrested as they were escorting a group of Iranians and Syrians to a drop off point – to catch a boat to Australia. To the average Australian that arrest must be welcome news but there is a real sting in this story.
First of all, I believe that the Indonesian villagers who did the tip off about this particular operation deserve a lot of praise because it is through their actions that one group of people have been prevented from getting on those boats and heading to Australia. The boats are arriving at the rate of about 2 per day at the present time.
Now for some parsing of the story that is being told, because it highlights why there is so much corruption, and why these people smugglers have not been stopped before now. That sting happens to be that the Indonesian government does not properly fund its own military meaning that they must get funding by whatever means are possible, including running a people smuggling operation.
According to the report from the Age, there are thousands more of these illegals in the region where these military officers are stationed. This means that they have been getting paid to escort these people to the boats in the village near the sea, and they are paid large sums of money for their cooperation. The fact that the Indonesian government does not fund its own military is all the evidence that is needed to push Indonesia on doing more to stop those boats.
The problem belongs to Indonesia because it is due to the corruption that is rampant within the military, brought about by the lack of government funding that is a cause of why Australia is being hit with so many boat arrivals.
The other side of the coin remains the attitude of the present government. By giving a green light to these illegal immigrants the government of Australia has created a rod for its own back. They are providing bridging visas etc. and they are processing these people without the necessary security and medical checks.
This latest group that have been prevented from arriving consist of Iranians and Syrians. I am surprised that there are Syrians making the journey, because those who have fled from Assad have been holed up in camps within Turkey (along the border). They are being cared for by Turkey, and there is no need for them to flee. That begs the question about these individuals who have been caught…. who are they? Why are they with Iranians? The Iranians cannot claim refugee status because there is no official war in that country. These are not refugees and asylum seekers. They are illegal immigrants or as they could in fact be from the government of those countries (keep in mind that Syria is a satellite of Iran).