23 December 2014
SINCE the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Australia has enacted some of the harshest and most extensive anti-terror laws in the world.
The laws give sweeping powers to security and law-enforcement agencies and have reportedly helped thwart terror plots inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Yet, on Dec 14, Man Haron Monis, a self-proclaimed cleric from Iran to whom Australia granted asylum in 1996, managed to take more than a dozen people hostage in a Sydney cafe. The siege ended less than 24 hours later when Australian commandos stormed the cafe; the standoff left Monis and two hostages dead.
Monis’ motivations, and the extent to which he was even inspired by events in the Middle East, remain a matter of speculation; a debate now rages over whether he was a terrorist or merely a mentally disturbed bigot.
…The writer is senior fellow and Lee Kuan Yew Chair in South-east Asia Studies at the Brookings Institution and dean and professor of comparative and international politics at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/12/2014