'Yemen, Australian mercenaries and the shifting sands of Australia–Middle East alliances'
Source TitleArena Magazine
University of Melbourne Author/sTanter, Richard
AffiliationSchool of Social and Political Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsTanter, R. (2018). 'Yemen, Australian mercenaries and the shifting sands of Australia–Middle East alliances'. Arena Magazine, (155)
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
It seems unimaginable that Australia could be involved in the war in Yemen, arguably the world’s worst contemporary humanitarian catastrophe, with more than 10,000 dead, one million cases of cholera, and 11 million in acute need of assistance and protection. Or that Canberra could be building towards a military alliance with a Gulf-state dictatorship with deep involvement in that war—the United Arab Emirates. Or that both Coalition and Labor governments approved—and may well have encouraged—one of Australia’s most senior, decorated soldiers to put on the uniform of that dictatorship, earning millions of dollars in the process. Or that this former Australian Defence Force (ADF) general could go on to plan, build, train and command the UAE’s elite military force, and then oversee more than three years of its operations in a war characterised by highly plausible allegations of war crimes and gross violations of human rights. Not only this but accusations by the Yemeni government of UAE seizure of territory amounting to colonisation, leading to a place of horror, where, as a UN panel of experts reported to the Security Council, ‘Yemen, as a State, has all but ceased to exist’. All this points to a new phase of Australia’s alliance-dependent, high-technology liberal militarisation, rooted, on the one hand, in the export of highly skilled military specialists as senior or command mercenaries, and on the other in the formation of close ties between second order US allies as an American force multiplier
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