Australian mercenaries and the shifting sands of Australia – Middle East alliances.
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 govern – ment 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’.
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