Sydney siege: The rise of the terror threat facing Australia

The Sydney gunman: Man Haron Monis; fifty years old, originally from Iran and apparently operating alone. He was a self-styled cleric with a well-publicized anti-western agenda. This pen is my gun and these words are my bullets.
He was born a Shia Muslim but last year he announced on his website his conversion to Sunni Islam and his allegiance to a caliphate. The police knew all about him. Monis was out on bail. He was facing numerous charges for sexual assault and accused of being an accessory to his ex-wife’s murder. He also had a conviction for sending offensive letters to families of Australian servicemen killed in Afghanistan.
So when he was seen here holding hostages at gunpoint, some are wondering why police snipers didn’t, then, finish his life. He made his captives make videos carrying his demands but police asked the media not to run them. In the end, Australian commandos and police went in using stun grenades, night vision goggles and laser sights – reportedly triggered when shots were heard from inside. Australia had rehearsed for this, but what prompt such a violent end to a hostage siege.
If time is going to give you the gain for a peaceful resolution, you’ve got to negotiate. But if the negotiations or the people you’re negotiating with seem unstable or you’re moving to a point where the people on the ground believe that there is a risk to the hostages, then force has to be used.
There is an ongoing terrorist threat facing Australia. Those who’ve gone to join extremist groups in Syria have got associates back home. The Australian terror threat has been steadily building in recent months. September saw the biggest anti-terror raids in the nation’s history. In the same month, the threat level was raised and sweeping new anti-terror laws were introduced. In October, the Australian government approved airstrikes on Islamic State positions in the Middle East in its role as coalition partners.
Australia has focused primarily on arresting individuals, prosecuting them for terrorist related offenses and they’ve disrupted a number of major plots inside the country. What they haven’t been able to do, which is a major international challenge, is dealing with the ideology. Australia’s commandos and police acted swiftly to end this siege, but everyone knows the outcome could easily have been even worse. Frank Gardner, BBC News.
Source: BBC



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