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Shorten Gives ALP Support To Iraq Commitment; Greens Opposed

The ALP has given support to the Abbott government’s commitment of fighter aircraft to the strikes against ISIL in Iraq, whilst the Greens have opposed the decision.

Shorten

The government announced today that Australia will provide up to eight Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft to participate in the international coalition supporting Iraq. [Read more…]


Melissa Parke’s Speech On Iraq; ALP Member Questions Commitment

Melissa Parke, the ALP member for Fremantle, has delivered a speech critical of Australia’s mission in Iraq against IS forces.

Parke

Parke began her speech by revealing that someone on Twitter had called for her execution for treason “because I had questioned the government’s rapid escalation of our new involvement in Iraq from a purely humanitarian mission to one where we appear to be joining the US in an open-ended fight against IS”. [Read more…]


Shorten Maintains Support For Abbott Government On Iraq; Also Outlines Conditions

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has reiterated the ALP’s support for the Abbott government’s “humanitarian” mission in Iraq, whilst setting out conditions for continuing support.

Shorten

Shorten responded in the House of Representatives to a Statement on National Security by Prime Minister Tony Abbott. [Read more…]


ALP Supports Military Commitment To Iraq, Greens Opposed

The Labor Opposition has given its support to the government’s commitment of RAAF aircraft and military personnel to the fight against ISIL in Iraq, whilst the Greens have opposed it.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described ISIL as a “barbaric organisation” and said: “Labor supports today’s announcement of the deployment of an Australian military force – including RAAF assets and personnel – to the United Arab Emirates.”

Shorten said the ALP didn’t do so lightly: “But we support the Government’s decision that Australia has a role to play in eradicating this evil and we are reassured that our support is being provided at the request of, and in full coordination with, the Iraqi Government.” [Read more…]


Combat Aircraft To Join Coalition Against ISIL; Advisers But No Combat Troops; Australia Responds To US Request

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australian combat aircraft will join the international coalition against ISIL in Iraq.

Abbott

Abbott said up to eight RAAF F/A18 aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker and Transport aircraft will be deployed to the United Arab Emirates. [Read more…]


Ministerial Statement On Iraq: Abbott And Shorten Unite In House

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has made a Ministerial Statement on Iraq in the House of Representatives.

Describing the ISIL movement as a “death cult”, Abbott said “Australian aircraft have participated in humanitarian airdrops to people trapped on Mount Sinjar and, just yesterday, to the besieged inhabitants of the town of Amerli”.

He said in coming days Australian aircraft will take part in an airlift of supplies to the Kurdish government in Erbil. [Read more…]


Abbott Announces Assistance For Military Airlift To Kurds; No Request Yet For Further Action

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australia will join an airlift of military equipment to the Kurds in northern Iraq.

PM Tony Abbott and CDF Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin at their joint press conference today

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Chief of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Abbott said the government had agreed to a request from the Obama Administration. The US, UK, Canada, France and Italy will also be involved in the airlift.

Abbott said “no specific request” has been received from the Obama Administration for “stepped up military activity”. He said that “just because we would prefer to stand aside from these conflicts doesn’t mean that these conflicts will stand aside from us”. Any request would be considered according to a range of criteria, including whether there is an achievable overall objective and a clear role for Australian forces. [Read more…]


Tony Blair Says Iraq Is In Mortal Danger And The Middle East Is Under Threat

The former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says that the Iraqi government has to be supported in beating back the insugency that has seen the terrorist group ISIS seize control of major cities.

BlairIn an essay released by his office, Blair says “it is a bizarre reading of the cauldron that is the Middle East today, to claim that but for the removal of Saddam, we would not have a crisis”.

Blair says: “… if we want the right policy for the future, we have to learn properly the lessons not just of Iraq in 2003 but of the Arab uprisings from 2011 onwards.”

The man who joined with former US President George W. Bush in a “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003 says the Middle East is “going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition”.

He says: “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this. We haven’t. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it.”

Text of an essay released by the Office of Tony Blair.

Iraq, Syria and the Middle East – An essay by Tony Blair

The civil war in Syria with its attendant disintegration is having its predictable and malign effect. Iraq is now in mortal danger. The whole of the Middle East is under threat.

We will have to re-think our strategy towards Syria; support the Iraqi Government in beating back the insurgency; whilst making it clear that Iraq’s politics will have to change for any resolution of the current crisis to be sustained. Then we need a comprehensive plan for the Middle East that correctly learns the lessons of the past decade. In doing so, we should listen to and work closely with our allies across the region, whose understanding of these issues is crucial and who are prepared to work with us in fighting the root causes of this extremism which goes far beyond the crisis in Iraq or Syria. [Read more…]


Tony Abbott Meets With Barack Obama At White House

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has met with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC.

Obama

Obama and Abbott each made brief comments about the Australia-US alliance and foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Obama took one question from Washington journalists on the unfolding and emergency situation in Iraq. David Speers from Australian Sky News asked Obama another question about Iraq. [Read more…]


Gillard Releases National Security Strategy

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has released the government’s National Security Strategy.

The Security Strategy document appears at the end of this page.

In a speech at the Australian National University, Gillard said the strategy “highlights the dramatic economic and strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region and provides a blueprint for national security over the next decade”. [Read more…]