Comm 11108 – National Politics: To Bomb or not to Bomb? That should not be the question.

After one week, the Abbott government will decide whether to involve Australia in the fight against the Islamic state in Syria, or wait until a meeting with President Obama in September before deciding on any action (The Guardian, 2015).   Australia’s involvement would effectively be expanding military operations; include helping with airstrikes over Syria, surveillance reconnaissance and air refuelling in Syria’s border area (The Guardian, 2015).

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the US formerly asked Australia to expand its operations in the Middle East.  She said that this would include air strikes, however the government needs to consider the credible legal basis for such an action.  She said that it is complicated by the non-recognition of the Assad regime in Syria, however the US believe this border region is effectively an ungoverned space so it has legal authority to bomb Islamic state extremists here (Jackson, 2015).

Australia allied with the US led action in response to the Terrorist attacks on the US of 11th September 2011 (aph.gov.au), which was cited a sufficient basis for invoking the mutual-defence clauses of the ANZUS treaty (ANZUS, 2001).  Additionally the level of commitment since October 2001 from Australia has been complicated by the dual deployment of forces to the Middle East, and this is why Australia’s next move needs to be made cautiously.

The war on terror has devastated Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya as they lie in ruins and instability has spread throughout the Middle East and beyond.  It is the failed policies that have evoked terrorism, and further bombing to Syria will only worsen the already desperate situation.

David Cameron’s government may have ignored parliament’s vote against bombing Syria in 2013, as authorised British pilots bombed away, but Australia doesn’t have to follow suit.  In fact, Australia I think we need to sit this one out and concentrate our efforts in making it difficult for dictators to get the support they need, and stop making situations where Isis and other Jihadi groups can thrive.

References

‘Tony Abbott to spend at least a week weighing up Isis Syria campaign’, The Guardian, 23 August, viewed 24 August, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/aug/23/tony-abbott-to-decide-on-joining-fight-against-islamic-state-after-us-talks

Jackson, J 2015, ‘Western bombs will not stop Isis in Syria’, The Guardian, 25 August, viewed 25 August, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/24/western-bombs-will-not-stop-isis-in-syria

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/1011/MilitaryInvolvementAfghanistan#_ftnref1

J Howard (Prime Minister), Application of ANZUS Treaty to terrorist attacks on the United States, media release, 14 September 2001, viewed 25 June 2015, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2FYFY46%22

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