Playing Nice Doesn’t Work: How Australia Tackles IS Terrorists Trying To Return From Foreign Battles

Australian Customs

Compare the pair. Sweden offers full support to any and all returning IS terrorists who make it “home” from battlefields in Iraq and Syria. They are guaranteed jobs, housing, welfare benefits and counselling as official state-sanctioned policy.

Now look at Australia. According to the Guardian, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will cancel passports, impose mandatory prison sentences and deny voting rights to any IS terrorist who makes it back alive.

No exceptions will be made for disillusioned jihadi fighters seeking to return to Australia. Arrest, prosecution and jail will be mandatory, Abbott has said. Here is his reasoning:

“A crime is a crime is a crime. If you go abroad to break Australian law, if you go abroad to kill innocent people in the name of misguided fundamentalism and extremism, if you go abroad to become an Islamist killer, well, we are hardly going to welcome you back into this country.
“There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people who have been killed by the Daesh death cult and the other terrorist groups in that part of the world.”
(Daesh is Abbott’s preferred term for Islamic State, or IS.)
“If you go, and you seek to come back, as far as this government is concerned you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be jailed. It is a serious criminal offence under Australian law to fight with terrorist groups overseas.”

Which approach do you think will work in the long run? Nice Sweden or tough Australia? Before you answer, consider this.

Tony Abbott came to power during an unprecedented attack on Australia’s sovereign borders by boatloads of illegal immigrants trying to enter Australian waters – and thereby claim asylum – from neighbouring Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

Abbott directed the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to block that route. He ordered any illegal immigrant boat to be sunk at sea with naval gunfire after the asylum seekers had been safely moved onto RAN-supplied lifeboats. Those craft were then towed back towards their original port of departure before being sent on their way with supplies and a compass bearing.

It is a strategy that the conservative politician has been pursuing since coming to power at the end of 2103. Abbott broke the people-traffickers’ business model by frightening their customers away. As a result of this tough position, the flow of illegals stopped almost overnight. In the last month of 2013 seven boats arrived in Australian waters carrying 355 passengers. Since then there has been only one boat with 157 passengers – all refused entry or sent to the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru for processing outside Australia’s immigration zone.

Right now the EU is struggling to achieve any consensus on how to stop the flood of asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean. All the time the boats keep coming and the humanitarian crisis deepens.

Surely the answer is the tough, no-nonsense Australian approach of saying no; clearly, emphatically and without exception It worked when Australia wanted to stop the boats of asylum seekers landing in Australia and the same tough approach is being used against jihadi terrorist who want to slink home into the waiting embrace of teary human rights lawyers.

Again, which policy will work? Tough Australia or weak, divided EU. You decide.