Terry wrote: > Last night an "analyst" on NPR stated that Osama has > had it in for Oz because of involvement in peace > keeping in East Timor. Does make any sense? Ummm... is it true? No idea. Does it make sense? Yes. Australia has had a long habit of.. well... 'brown-nosing' is a horrible phrase, but that's kind of true -- to its south-east asian neighbours, particularly ever since the Keating years (Paul Keating = prime minister of Australia who wanted closer ties with Asia rather than the west -- presumably after looking at a map and saying "wow. so THAT'S where we are!". I suspect he was the first PM to own a globe). However, we have an equally long, if not longer, tradition, of pissing off our south-east asian neighbours too, who I suspect kind of look on us as you would the little kid who wants to be part of your "cool gang" but is just far too socially awkward and gauche to be allowed anywhere near you for fear he would wreck your game by puncturing the ball or throwing it on the roof or something. An example is the time that Keating himself described Mahathir as "recalcitrant". It was a throw-away line, I really don't think it was intended as an insult (despite some reports at the time), more just a poor choice of words. Mahathir was extremely upset, and Malaysia-Australia relations were strained for some time. As far as Indonesia goes, many in the Australian left in particular have accused Australia of basically spending the last 30 years with an "appeasement" policy towards Indonesia, particularly in regard to "atrocities" in East Timor/Aceh etc. This is almost certainly true -- the prevailing Australian diplomatic attitude was, I suspect, "it in an unwise westernised society that pisses off a largely-muslim country with a 300,000-strong military just a few hundred clicks to the North", not in itself a bad attitude for a pragmatist diplomat, I guess. Morally reprehensible, sure, but for the practically-minded, not without its charms. However, over the last few years, there has been an enormous groundswell of support East Timorese independence in particular in Australia, due in a large part to the efforts of people like Jose Ramos Horta. Australia was quite a driving force behind East Timor's now-successful independence movement. I suspect that this would have pissed Indonesia off *enormously*. Look, to be honest, if you were an Indonesian terrorist wanting to strike against a Western country, Australia would be a *very* obvious choice. We've been a thorn in Indonesia's side (or, indeed, a pain in their collective arse) for a while now, and I really don't think there's any love lost. Apart from that, Australia has been one of what I would say are the two countries most eager to leap in behind the US as it mounts its ever-expanding war on terror, the UK being the other. For those in the Muslim world who consider this to be a "war on Islam" (rightly or wrongly), this is hardly going to endear us to them, is it? And frankly, if you wanted to attack Australia, which I think is quite likely -- of the 200+ estimated dead, don't be surprised if ~160-170 of those are Australians -- but didn't want to leave Indonesia, it would take about 30 seconds of thought to come up with Bali. It really is the Australian equivalent of, say, Tijuana to the US, or maybe Ibiza to the UK. In fact, I read an analysis by an Indonesian security consultant who said that there is *no single place in the whole of Indonesia* where you could plant a bomb and kill more westerners and less muslims. I mean, Kuta beach is *the* epicentre of Australian tourism, probably; and the two bars targeted (Paddy's and Sari) are famous as Australians-in-Bali nightspots, and in fact, apart from staff, no Indonesian citizens are *allowed* in the bars at all (apparently a rule to reduce prostitution touting). Even 200 yards up the road either way have vastly reduced the efficacy of the bombs, assuming max(western) and min(muslim) as the goals of the blast (and I realise that this *is* only an assumption). Most of the Balinese, including those who work at the bars, are Hindu, by the way. Make of that what you will. Short answer: yes, it's entirely possible that it was an attack against Australia, rather than just against "the West". Not that it necessarily *was*, mind you; I'm a "hard evidence" kind of guy, myself, but it's certainly plausible. I'd love to hear a view on this from any Indonesians or other South- East Asians on the list. Cheers, Paul PS: It's way too early for me to be at work.