Statement: Australia joins the International Maritime Security Construct in the Gulf

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes the Government’s announcement that Australia will join the International Maritime Security Construct in the Gulf to assure the security of merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

According to the Government statement, “Australia’s contribution will include the deployment of: a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019; an Australian Frigate in January 2020 for six months; and ADF personnel to the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain.”

As Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rightly noted, it is in Australia’s national interest to protect global laws around freedom of navigation, especially as 15-16 per cent of crude oil, and 25-35 per cent of refined oil destined for Australia travels through the Strait of Hormuz.

This is an important mission because it comes at a time when Iran has been attacking foreign tankers and has been increasing its aggressive moves to gain leverage against the US and push the Europeans into finding a way around US sanctions. The American sanctions are aimed at pressuring Iran to return to negotiations after the US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, believing the flawed deal enabled Iran to develop nuclear weapons when the sunset clauses expire, while continuing at an even higher level its dangerous ballistic missile program and aggressive support for regional and international terrorism, including its funding and arming of Hezbollah and Hamas.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein said, “Australia’s prudent and courageous decision to join the US-led coalition to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz sends a clear message to Iran that its aggressive actions will not be tolerated, and that it is in everyone’s interests – including Iran’s – that it return to negotiations with the US to achieve a much better agreement that includes foreclosing the possibility that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapons capability.”