Peacekeepers Released: Announcements and Lessons Learnt

THE PM's ADDRESS ON RELEASE OF FJI PEACEKEEPERS 
Click here to listen to the video.


 SYRIAN REBELS FREE FIJI PEACEKEEPERS.
"The Syrian rebel group the Nusra Front has released all Fijian soldiers who worked as UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. Thanks to Frank Bainimarama and Fiji Military Commander for their great effort in releasing our troops. God Bless!"-- Sam Looper on Facebookl. Watch the Al Jazeers video 

FIJI FOREIGN POLICY PAYS OFF. "Qatar, one country in the Middle East thought by the United States to have influence with the armed rebel group, said Fiji had formally requested its assistance in freeing the hostages." -- Al Jazeera.

FIJI ASKS QATAR FOR HELP.The Government of the Republic of Fiji requested the State of Qatar for mediation in the release of Fijian soldiers serving with peacekeeping forces detained in Syria.

This came during a meeting between HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah and the Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. 

Talks during the meeting dealt also with the bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of enhancing them, in addition to a number of issues of mutual concern. The meeting was attended by a number of Foreign Ministry officials. -- Gulf Times, Dohar.


TIKOITOGA PROVDES DETAILS.  Listen to this video. 


... AND WHAT THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT BLOG COUP4.5 HAD TO SAY 

"Fiji regime shies off captured troops story but we have the dirt on some of its trolls"A desperate bid to save the election or a genuine jumping of the gun?
"Either way, there are questions to be answered, including why they've now gone back on the announcement and why there is such an ongoing incompetency handling what is clearly a sensitive matter."

The blog then went on to release the IP addresses and photos of people it claimed to be "regime trolls who are on our blog as many as 300 times a day during work hours, posting anonymously, attacking Fiji citizens and promoting Fiji First, Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum." 

 How it identified the anonymous or found their IP addresses, it did not say.

But Coup4.5 should "join the club".  I've lost count of the anonymous anti-Bainimarama blog comments posted by trolls on my blog page, many of them like you talking about Muslim plots" to take over Fiji and creating doubt, division and anti-Muslim feelings by attacking Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and other Muslims holding official positions..

At least the so called "regime trolls" have names.  They do not hide behind the anonymous 
unreferenced  stories and unsubstantiated rumours you post on your blog. You do not even publish the names of your publishers, even though many of you live overseas.  


video
But what we do know is that the Qatar Foreign Minister and Al Nusra would have been aware that Fiji has a Muslim population (who also prayed for the soldiers' release) and that Fiji's Attorney-General shares their faith.  Fiji should be grateful for its multi-cultural and multi-religious heritage. 

Comments

Anonymous said…
Fiji's foreign policy has indeed paid off. Being a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and having diplomatic relations with countries like Qatar which funds (along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) the Jatab Al Nusra, has worked in its favour - note the SODELPA Manifesto is against Fiji's membership of the NAM as well as the PIDF etc. Without those relations would Fiji would not have had leverage in the negotiations to free our boys. So much for SODELPA's foreign policy pretensions.

I agree with the Tikoitoga's comments that those like Jone Baledrokadroka who publicly criticised the so called 'surrender' of our boys were indeed unhelpful. But more significantly it exposed the shallowness of people like JB who profess to be professional soldiers but who do have not truly grasped the higher calling or the bigger moral picture of UN peacekeeping operations, despite they having served in Lebanon with the UN. They praise the stand by the Filipino's who engaged with the rebels and killed three of them. The Filipinos made the crucial mistake of making it an issue of Regimental Pride, making out the the rebels were the enemy. But UN peacekeeping is not about labeling different parties to the conflict as being 'friends' or 'enemies'. Its about remaining neutral and using their moral position as non-combatants to make their point. The Fijians in the Golan (like the Filipinos) are representatives of the international community and they must conduct themselves that way. They are lightly armed and carry with them the weight of international opinion. Their role is to hold the ring whilst international diplomacy is given the chance to resolve what is essentially a political problem, be it in Lebanon, the Golan, South Sudan etc etc.

By basing their judgments on the issue of 'Regimental Pride' and expecting our boys to respond militarily ala the Filipino's, critics like JB have applied the wrong criteria in ascertaining or defining what 'success' is this case. If anyone wishes to question the resoluteness of Fijian's under fire (the criterion critics hinge their position on) then they need look no further the performance of Fijians in WW1, WW2, Malaya, Lebanon, Sinai, etc etc.

The Fijians have been released unharmed. I take this to mean that the Jabhat Al Nusra respected the Fijians and understood that they were not a party to the conflict as exemplified by the fact that the Fijians did not cause them any harm. I am not so sure that Al Nusra will now have that same attitude towards the Filipinos who have since decided, for the safety of their own contingent, to withdraw totally from the Golan in October. So who are the moral victors here?

The Filipinos may have won the Battle BUT THEY LOST THE WAR!

Whereas the Fijians may have lost the battle (according to critics), BUT THEY WON THE WAR!

There is no doubt that this episode will enhance the Fijians reputation for peacekeeping not only in the eyes of the international community, but more importantly, in the eyes of Jabhat Al Nusra, Al Qaida, ISIL etc.

Well done boys.

Anonymous said…
Very well analysed and succinctly put. I don't think I could have done any better although I was hoping for this result as I fended off arguments earlier on by contributors (I think the strand topic was "Countdown to Election 14 days to go", who jumped up earlier on against the government for sending soldiers there in the first place, some even stooping to an unbelievable level of blaming AG personally. Even ex-military officers like Baledrokadroka jumped into the bandwagon to crucify the governments decision to send the soldiers to UNDOF within two months of making the decision and questioning the training undertaken in terms of pre-deployment training. Whilst I respected JB back in the days, I am afraid its not the case anymore as he has tainted himself as an opportunist to vent his personal anger against Bainimarama and in the process forgetting not to allow his emotions get the better of him when analysing (I should hope he does considering his University connections) things.
I was branded as an apologist for Comd RFMF and the young officer who made the decision not to fight. I hope people learn their lesson that rather than jump up and start throwing mud at people, take time to look at things and stop politicising everything.
Kalougata.
Ratu Naita.
Anonymous said…
Ratu Nite...ni bula....nuitaka ni ko bulabula vinaka tiko. Yes good analysis at the top. Your insights are very helpful in helping us understand the issues. There will be those who will politicize etc and will want to 'play the man, not the ball' but that's all part of the public discourse.

In 'politicising' the issue and running to the international media criticising the Fijian performance, I think JB showed up his true colours as an intellectual lightweight. As pointed out above, he used the wrong criteria to define 'success' and, as you point out, was driven more by a personal vendatta against Frank. This is sad because he has allowed his personal biases and prejudices to affect his judgment and public pronouncements.

Ni moce toka

Anonymous said…
Thank you God for our boys.

The best thing of all God is with us during our hour of need.

May God continue to bless and guide Fiji.

To all our politicians out there - thank you all for wishing to serve our beloved nation.

May God choose the right people to take us all forward.

And thank you too Croz. God Bless you.
Anonymous said…
In praising the release and performance of our boys in the Golan, the French Ambassador in Suva noted that throughout the crisis, Fiji did not waver in its support for the UN and UNDOF. This contrasts sharply with the position of JB who criticized the training and preparations of Fijibatt (UNDOF) as inadequate and had a go at Fiji for maintaining its forces there whilst other 'democratic' countries have (or were in the process of) pulling out of the Golan. He has shown himself up here as being out of touch with the bigger strategic picture and of being too quick to criticize. I shall take his views with a grain of salt from now on..

Bill Wadely
Rockhampton Qld
Anonymous said…
Isa Ratu Nite Cola vina. Bulabula Vinaka tiko I yasana qo vakabibi ni sa tekivu na spring I NZ. Nuitaka talega ni o ni bulabula tiko.
In regards to your comment about JB, I certainly agree because this is not the first time he has been found out in the so called academic world in regards to his hasty conclusion driven by his emotion rather than a well considered one based on deep analysis. JB has a personal vendetta against Frank and unfortunately for him he let's this get the better of him. The fact that he spends a lot of time with people like Suliasi Daunitutu who are nationalist to the core but 'clothe' themselves as democratic fighters says a lot about JB. You just have to watch them on some of their YouTube uploads to see how they feed off each other with no real analysis.
I am looking forward to the election result next week and may the best party win.
Ni kalougata tiko Ratu Naita.
Anonymous said…
@Bill Wadely
Cola vina Ratu Naita mai Rockhampton. I have been commenting above thinking it was you. Anyhow, I am glad that you have drawn that conclusion in regards to JB as throughout my earlier posts in this blog, I have stopped short of criticising him and the reason for that is two-fold:
1) I don't like to discuss people but would rather attack the issue; and
2) I knew that it would just be a matter of time before he shot himself on the foot.
If you remember from my earlier posts, I argued that all military situations differ and no two are the same-ever. People like JB and Senikuta used the opportunity for their 5 mins fame and talked about examples in Lebanon where Fijian soldiers stood their ground. They should have known better especially JB as an ex-officer and now a supposedly academic. Simply put how can he compare Lebanon with UNDOF a mission he has never served on?
Whilst the Filipino soldiers would be revered amongst their people as heroes for fighting their way out, in the bigger strategic picture they could kiss their future UN missions goodbye. The fact they disobeyed the Mission Commander, Indian General's orders and Filipino Chief of Army publicly ridiculing him will not go down well especially now. Fiji has come out of this smelling of roses in the International arena and RFMF has gained some huge ground in terms of respectability internationally after conducting the 2006 coup.
In terms of domestic politics leading to next weeks election, this is another nail in the coffin for other parties working against FijiFirst as some of them jumped at the opportunity to have a go at Frank and AG.
Ni kalougata tiko Ratu Naita.
Anonymous said…
Ni bula Naita.....no I am a different one, although I think I know the other one who posted above. Former high school teacher from Tailevu with a degree in education from UNSW now teaching here in Qld. I am sure he will acknowledge when he reads this post. He closely connected to a former senior RFMF officer also here in Oz from whom I am sure helps him in his analysis of the situation including the very thorough anaylsis at the head of this thread. I am from Naitasiri, I use my mothers name (Wadely) - her grandfather was one of those early settlers who established a cane farm in the Viria area. Bill (aka Vili)

Anyway, I saw this report that I wish to share with others:

Here is the link and a brief synopsis of the 20 odd minute speech by two of the jihadists that end with a short speech by one of the Fijians.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrAe4Hd2ymk


A friend comments :


The first guy is the spokesperson of the battalion, he goes to explain that the second guy has given them "A promise of sanctuary" the peacekeepers were captured during the battle of Kunaytara the guy who was leading the battle is the second guy, when they were marching through kunaytara, they tried to avoid marching through the UN zone, but heavy casualties were inflicted upon them, so the commanders in the field have informed the second guy, that there is no other way but to pass through the UN Post, the second guy went and negotiated with the head of the soldiers (Capitain) and explained the situation and gave his islamic promise that they will not be captured and that they will not be considered prisoners of war, the captain referred to his commander, and gave him the OK to pass through, the battle was successful, only for the second guy, to hear a couple of days later, that the Fijian soldier were captured a couple of days later by Al Nusra, he immediately notified the leaders of what has happened, confirming to them that he gave his islamic vouch that they would not be captured or considered prisoners of war. So they conferred with Sheikh Al Fattah - The grand sheikh of Al Nusra (Supreme commander/Leader) who replied as a muslim vow of honour must be respected and if one of our brethren/leaders, have given such a vow, then it must be honoured. Accordingly, arrangements are being made and coordinations undertaken to hand the soldiers back. The first guy explained that all runners that have been circulating though the internet/social media / fiji and international government sites that Al Nusra has formally requested to be removed from the terrorist list organisations etc are false, they have not asked for such thing, they do not want to be perceived as a bargaining chip. Nor have their government (Fiji) has done anything to secure their release, Their release is secured on the islamic promise that was given to the commander.


The group consider what they are doing is a just "Jihad" (Battle) against the powers of evil and tyranny and injustice, and if that is considered terrorism so be it - god bless.


The rationale of this video, as they are handing the fijian soldiers back - that this is not a bargaining chip, this is to confirm that they are not weak or have made any demands. He also goes on to say about his Al Nusra story and them being marked as infidels by ISIS and other things unrelated to capture.
Anonymous said…
Vinaka Ratu Naita, totoka na veiwasei vata kei kemuni na drega haha. Ni kalougata saka tiko.

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