Remember the press hysteria generated by last month's 'terror raids' in Sydney? (SYDNEY UNDER SIEGE, screamed the Sydney Morning Herald on its front page of September 19.) Remember the weapon of mass destruction, aka a sword, confiscated by the Australian Federal Police from a certain Mustafa Dirani at the time? Remember the alleged plot to behead a random victim, presumably with that same WMD?
Well, as we now know, the sword has apparently turned out to be plastic:
"Dirani was detained and later released without charge. His parents' Marsfield home was searched for about 8 hours and several items taken including computers, mobile phones and the sword. The sword had an Arabic inscription that... roughly translates to: '[There is] no hero but Ali; [there is] no sword but Zulfiqar'. The sword - a Zulfiqar or Dhu al-Fiqar - is one of the major symbols of Shiite Islam that one leader said 'wouldn't be able to slice a cucumber'. Dirani's family are Afghan-born Shiite Muslims, however, the terrorist groups seeking to overthrow governments in Syria and Iraq are almost exclusively Sunni Muslim. Dirani said his parents bought the plastic sword at a night market in Sydney. It has been on display in the family home for years. He is still waiting for the police to return it. The Australian Federal Police refused to explain why the sword was seized or to confirm that it was plastic. 'The AFP does not comment on ongoing investigations,' a spokeswoman said... Dirani said he had been living in fear since the September 18 raids and was too scared to go to the shops... The warrant from the Australian Federal Police still sits on a bookshelf in the family's duplex home. It says: 'Between 8 May 2014 and 17 September 2014 in the state of NSW and elsewhere, Mustafa Dirani did engage in other acts in preparation for or planning terrorist acts contrary to Section 101.6 of the Criminal Code'." (Sword removed in counter-terrorism raids a common plastic decoration, owner reveals, Rachel Olding, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/10/14)
The real interest here though lies not in the sword itself, but the fact that Dirani is Afghan Shia (Hazara?) in origin, a matter which apparently has no one but me scratching his head.
I mean, if our spooks are after Islamic State-inspired Sunni extremists, why target a Shiite youth like Dirani?
Is it possible that, despite the billions of taxpayer dollars currently being thrown their way, not to mention the constant trotting out of the Sunni/Shia divide in the mainstream press, they are simply unaware of the difference? In which case, could the raid on Dirani's home be yet another AFP bungle in the tradition of Dr Haneef? Alternatively, was Dirani included in the operation (with others?) just to make up the numbers in a production designed to be bigger than Ben-Hur?
OK - so what's your take?