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March 7, 2021

Australia ‘on the wrong side of history’ on Syria invasion

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Defence minister Kevin Andrews speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. In an interview with the ABC's Leigh Sales yesterday on Australia's commitment to send  Australian soldiers to fight ISIS in Iraq, Mr Andrews could not name the leader of the islamic State movement. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Defence minister Kevin Andrews. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

North coast Greens have joined their federal colleagues saying the federal government’s decision to bomb Syria places Australia ‘on the wrong side of history’.

Defence minister Kevin Andrews has said Australia could be fighting in the Middle East for two to three years, as he rules out troops on the ground.

As the RAAF prepares to join air operations over Syria within a week, Mr Andrews says the role of Australian troops is to conduct air strikes and train the Iraqi forces.

When asked whether he categorically rules out putting Australian troops on the ground, he told the Nine Network: ‘Yes, I do.’

Mr Andrews said the situation will be reviewed year by year, but he thinks Australia will be involved for two to three years.

‘The reality is that this is going to go on for a number of years,’ he said on Thursday.

He said success in the fight against Islamic State would be a regime in the Middle East that doesn’t commit genocide against its own people, and doesn’t

Clear message: Greens

The Australian Greens have condemned the government’s decision to commence airstrikes, warning it will worsen the refugee crisis and aggravate extremism.

North coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker.
North coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker.

North coast Greens spokesperson Dawn Walker said ‘our community in the northern rivers has sent a clear message that it wants the government to show compassion to people fleeing war in Syria and, while the refugee intake has been increased, Tony Abbott is also taking the opportunity to drop bombs, causing more distress for the Syrian people.’

‘I’m so proud of the way our local communities came together on Monday night to tell the government loud and clear that we are strong enough to offer protection to people seeking refuge from war.

‘While Abbott’s announcement of taking 12,000 refugees is welcome, it is happening because of the determination of the Australian public.

‘Any decision to drop bombs should be made by the Parliament, not a prime minister that is looking down the barrel of a federal election.

‘The Syrian civil war is complex and if Tony Abbott was serious about ending the atrocities unfolding in Iraq and Syria, he’d be joining international efforts to stem the flow of fighters, weapons and money, and leading regional diplomatic efforts to bring the conflict in Syria to a close.

We should be using our diplomatic offices to help support the tentative efforts towards local and regional ceasefires that have emerged in recent months.’ said Ms Walker.

Self evident: Bishop

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said it was ‘self-evident’ the conflict would take years not months to resolve.

‘We will need some time to defeat this terrorist organisation,’ she said.

As Australia and other coalition forces focus on IS bases and supply lines in Syria, Ms Bishop rejected suggestions Australia had watered-down its opposition to the Assad regime.

‘You’re not hearing a change in foreign policy from me,’ she told ABC radio.

Ms Bishop said Australia and its coalition partners needed to be assured that the ‘vicious and brutal’ regime in Damascus was not replaced by a terrorist organisation.

That’s why the focus was on defeating IS, she said.

Ms Bishop spoke overnight with US Secretary of State John Kerry about the impact of IS, which is operating out of eastern Syria into Iraq, and how to disrupt its bases and supply lines.

‘We discussed in detail how these operations would work,’ she told Seven Network.

More refugees: Triggs

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs warned that bombing IS targets in Syria would create more refugees.

Australia’s policy of accepting 12,000 people fleeing the conflict and conducting air strikes was ‘contradictory’, she told ABC radio.

‘I think it’s inevitable that will increase the refugee flow and it will almost certainly lead to the deaths of more civilians.’

Ms Bishop said Australia remained concerned about a build-up of Russian support for the Assad regime.

One US official said dozens of Russian naval infantry had arrived in Syria, but their likely role was to protect incoming military hardware rather than a boots-on-the-ground deployment.

Prime minister Tony Abbott wouldn’t confirm whether his government had committed to a particular timeline.

‘Our armed forces personnel do the job effectively and professionally and when the job is done they come home,’ he told reporters in Port Moresby on Thursday.

– with AAP


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Usual idealistic nonsense from the greenies. We’re obligated to create a safe zone in Syria. Currently, IS controls over half of it and Assad the rest. We must take back a substantial part of Syria and protect it. This safe zone would enable Syrians to safely stay in their country and not risk their lives by fleeing to Europe as we are currently witnessing.
    Having a safe zone is not enough on its own. We must have the international community back this with the funding necessary to rebuild this safe zone once secured, so we can see children back in school, see men and women back in work, and with a safe community to sleep in at night. Europe cannot sustain these levels of migration despite Merkel’s fond ambitions. Already several countries are saying no more Muslims, they have enough already. Australia should be saying the same too.

    • I agree that we need, as a Global Community to help to resolve these problems on the ground. People would not be fleeing if they could safely stay in their own Countries. This does not only apply to Syria; we need a Global Community, away from Politics and Politicking, Religious Factions and differences; just how we are going to achieve that I am not at all sure. I am sure however that taking in immigrants and at the same time sending troops to create more havoc is no solution at all.
      It would also be helpful if America stopped pretending to want Peace while their War Machine grinds relentlessly onward. I unfortunately also have to agree that the Muslim influx will sink everyone. All this fighting about Religion would appear to be against the very tenants of these ‘Religions’, if they have no tolerance for various factions within their own Religion, imagine how little they would have for those outside of it!

    • Take back? Is Australia claiming rights to Syrian territory? We are no more obliged to American foreign policy and cultural values than Syrians are. We’re talking about bombing by the way. No one suggested complicity.ultimately refusing refugees is both cruel and arrogant. Wait until your life of privilege is replaced by war!
      Excuse my idealistic nonsense but…
      Why should Australia say, ‘no more Muslims’?

    • “We’re obliged”…who is this “we”? If you include yourself in that collection why don’t you go stand underneath those bombs and help usher the refugees out of the way. The whole thing in created by the sycophants of America who armed and funded all the extremist groups to cause destabilising environments that they can take control of. stand up and support people, not politics and war. Such a brave boy with your words and lack of action while others suffer and die because you do nothing.

  2. Why the silence on Israel’s medical assistance to Da’esh (Mr Abbott’s “killer cult”)? Nurse Adam Brookman faces 22 years imprisonment for doing the same thing in Syria. He faces charges of aiding the enemy so what about Israel? Israel Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon states ” We’ve assisted them under two conditions, that they don’t get too close to the border, and that they don’t touch the Druze.” (Times of Israel. July 31).

  3. Reminds a bit of the like that old Vietnam war quote “In order to save the hamlet we had to destroy it….”. And the bastards will probably go up in the opinion polls. Sigh.

  4. The fact is that Boko Haram as well as IS are armed with Weapons from the International Arms Dealers,
    mainly from the US and Europe. While these companies are making a fortune, the human toll
    is reflected in the exodus from these countries. Only way to stop that madness is NOT to bomb these
    countries into oblivion (Vietnam comes to mind) but to stop delivering weapons and place an embargo.
    Alas, the political will to tackle the causes of this war is weak, as long as lobbyists are pushing for more
    engagement. There is a dollar to be made, as war means profit.
    PS most Syrians don’t want to leave their country, but have no choice or face death.

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