The Road to INTERFET: Reflections on Australian Strategic Decisions Concerning East Timor, December 1998-September 1999

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    Abstract

    In 1999, as Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Australian Department of Defence, I had some involvement in strategic decisions about East Timor which led to the deployment of INTERFET. This essay, based more on recollection than scholarship, offers reflections on some of those decisions. It considers especially the questions of Australia�s overall strategic aims in 1999, and how well they were fulfilled, and Australia�s attitude towards the need for a full-scale peacekeeping force in East Timor before the ballot. On the former it concludes that, notwithstanding INTERFET�s operational success, the Australian Government completely failed to achieve the strategic objectives it had set itself at the start of 1999. On the latter it argues that ambivalence about the need for a pre-ballot peacekeeping force prevented the Government lobbying as hard as we could have for one to be deployed, which may have contributed materially to the tragedy in September.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-87
    JournalSecurity Challenges
    Volume4
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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