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Secret Australian plan to invade Fiji revelation may deepen rift

Fiji soldiers

Fiji soldiers ... "fearsome reputation and real-time fighting experience in some of the world’s worst trouble spots." Photo: Fiji Times

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Graham Davis

Australian-made secret plans to invade Fiji, according to a startling report that is bound to heighten suspicion and deepen the already significant rift between the two countries.

The Weekend Australian reports that defence planners prepared a detailed scenario for an invasion as part of an overall strategic review prepared for the Rudd government in 2009.

The newspaper says a top-secret chapter of the government “white paper” outlined how Australia would react militarily if large-scale civil strife erupted in Fiji. It canvassed in detail the use of Australian amphibious ships, the number of troops needed for the invasion, the urgent evacuation of Australians in the country and how the Fiji military might react.

The Fiji invasion was reportedly among a number of scenarios canvassed that also included military intervention in Papua New Guinea.

This detailed how Australia would respond to a “fundamental breakdown of order” in Port Moresby – the capital – and the challenges of getting enough Australian troops to PNG to evacuate Australians and “secure the government”.

It has already been revealed that the same report canvassed several scenarios based on the possibility of hostility erupting between Australia and China. Plans were made to halt mineral shipments to China and use submarines to blockade Chinese ports.

It also canvassed the possibility of a Chinese missile attack on the joint US-Australian communications facility at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory.

Played down
The Weekend Australian
quotes “a senior Canberra insider” playing down the significance of the latest disclosures.

“All militaries do this. We have plans for wars with lots of countries, which we’ll never use of course.”

But in the ranks of the Fiji military, the revelations will reinforce existing suspicions that Australia is essentially hostile towards Fiji. Aside from the irksome travel bans on military personnel and their families, there’s already resentment about Australia’s attempt to get Fiji excluded from United Nations peace-keeping operations.

This was thwarted largely by the United States, which argued that Fijian troops were too valuable to UN operations and the Western alliance’s “war on terror” to be included in any sanctions against Fiji for the Bainimarama coup of 2006.

An Australian invasion of Fiji was briefly canvassed after the first coup in 1987, when the then Australian Defence Minister, Kim Beazley, raised it as an option when discussing possible responses to the Rabuka coup against the Bavadra government.

Heavy losses
It was quickly dismissed because of the potential for heavy Australian losses against a Fijian force with a fearsome reputation and real-time fighting experience in some of the world’s worst trouble spots.

The history of the Australian military when it comes to Fiji is not encouraging. A naval show of force before the Bainimarama coup in 2006 ended in humiliation when an Australian Blackhawk helicopter crashed into the sea off the main island – Viti Levu – while attempting to land on the deck of HMAS Kanimbla.

Two Australian servicemen were killed.

Graham Davis is an independent journalist and contributor to Pacific Scoop. This article was first published today on his blog Grubsheet.

Video:  Dramatic footage of the Blackhawk crash off Fiji in November 2006.

4 comments:

  1. inelisa iosepa, 9. June 2012, 17:27

    I am rather alarmed that Australia would think to invade peace loving people of the pacific who have never in their life time threatened Australia in any way or form. Any Australian invasion on any Pacific nation would be devastating to that nation and her people and will take years to restore confidence in Australia and the healing of the wound.. It must be noted that while these countries are small especial Fiji and PNG the wounds that are left will not fade away…This people are diehards headhunters and will not forget what you have done to them. In fact they will make life so miserable that restoration of government and services and any other peace deals will be destroyed and will never be returned to normal again for a long long time… Think carefully and wisely before you plan to be violent to your neighbour because the silent are the ones that bite before they bark.

     
  2. Fiji, 10. June 2012, 20:20

    Your writing is questionable Mr Davis. All your articles on Fiji’s situation have never been fair. So this is just a little too much in the Hollywood move scene Mate!

     
  3. Tim, 11. June 2012, 23:08

    “Graham Davis is an independent journalist and contributor to Pacific Scoop”
    Can you define what you mean by “independent” ?

     
  4. Joni, 4. August 2012, 8:19

    Im a proud fijian and certainly do not accept what bainimarama did to the country. Fiji is loving and peaceful country. Even with the coup, its not anywhere close what happens to other countries like in africa region. We do not go around killing or raping people. Even after the coup the countries is still normal running and doesn’t seems like there was a coup. Our only solution is to let the local people deal with it in its own traditional way. I do apologies but western world do not understand our tradition. If Australia tries to invade my beloved country and turn it to a war zone, think twice about it because it will make the majority of fijian citizen take the side of Bainimarama. Leave our problems to ourselves.