Iraq, Syria and the Middle East are absent in this Election yet a good part of our strategic forces have been engaged there for over a decade. Why?

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 17 June, 2016 | 3:58 pm

In the Australian Financial Review on 26th May 2016, under the heading: “Shadow of long-forgotten Iraq falls over campaign”, the celebrated columnist, Laura Tingle, wrote that we seem to be “very busy observing an election campaign that day-to-day seems to be about nothing very much at all”. She noted that Australia remains one of few countries to not reflect on its involvement in Iraq.

Next month (July) the Report of Sir John Chilcot on the UK’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq war will be released. Nothing like that is afoot here, or ever will be on present indications. …

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Deployment of Special Forces | Letter to PM Turnbull

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 29 April, 2016 | 3:33 pm

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP Prime Minister Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Mr Turnbull,

Deployment of Special Forces; War Powers

Further to my letter of 1 March 2016, to which I have not yet received a reply, the concerns of Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) in relation to the process by which Australians are sent to fight overseas, far from being addressed by your government, appear to be increasingly urgent as we learn of a deeply worrying degree of secrecy surrounding our troop commitments. It is clear from recent comments attributed to Special Operations Commander Australia, Major-General Jeff …

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What exactly is Australia’s policy in Syria?

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 1 April, 2016 | 10:36 am

Australia’s decision to join the United States bombing campaign in Syria was mired in deceit, disinformation and obfuscation from the outset.  When the Australian government announced in August 2015 that they were going to consider the legal ramifications involved before committing to a decision, they omitted two crucial facts.

The first fact was that the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott had already solicited an invitation from the Americans to join the bombing campaign.  The second omitted fact was that the legal opinion had been sought and obtained a year earlier.

In mid-September 2015, without any parliamentary debate (then or since) …

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Anniversary of March 2003 Iraq Invasion: relevant lessons are still ignored.

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 18 March, 2016 | 11:06 am

Media Release

Anniversary of March 2003 Iraq Invasion Observed: Lessons Relevant for Syria and Elsewhere, But Still Ignored.

Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) is marking the anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US and allied forces including Australians, by renewing its call for all Federal Parliamentarians to heed the lessons from that disastrous military episode.  (While the anniversary date is generally recognised as 20 March, AWPR notes the Australian people were misled on this as on much else, as our SAS troops were operating in Iraq from 18 March, 2003.)

The invasion, which was authorised neither by …

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Letter to PM Turnbull: War Powers

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 3 March, 2016 | 1:15 am

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP Prime Minister Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Mr Turnbull,

War Powers: Authorisation of the Use of Military Force

I write on behalf of Australians for War Powers Reform, an Australian Registered Body which was established in 2012 to campaign, inter alia, for reform of the so-called ‘war powers’ – the power to deploy elements of the Australian Defence Force into armed international conflict. Our membership includes former senior military officers, diplomats, defence officials, academics and members of relevant NGOs.

Our central proposition is that the Parliament should be involved in any decision to expose …

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The case for war powers reform: aide-memoire

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 3 March, 2016 | 1:00 am

Introductory statement by Australians for War Powers Reform, to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on 23 February 2015.

Who we are:

Australians for War Powers Reform includes among its members former senior military officers, diplomats, defence officials and academics. It is an Australian Registered Body which was incorporated in Victoria in 2012 to campaign, inter alia, for reform of the so-called ‘war powers’ – the power to deploy elements of the Australian Defence Force into armed international conflict.

Our proposal:

Our central proposition is that the Parliament should be involved in any decision to expose …

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Syria: options for Australian parliamentarians, and the need for debate.

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 23 February, 2016 | 1:32 pm

This paper is presented by Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) to stimulate discussion on non-military approaches to the problems in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. It is not exhaustive and does not represent agreement by all AWPR members on every detail. However AWPR members are agreed on the fact that these matters receive grossly inadequate debate in Australia, particularly in our parliament, and that they demand such debate from our elected representatives.

There is no political crisis in the world that cannot be made worse by external, including Western, military intervention, particularly in the Middle East. Much …

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Melissa Parke’s retirement from Parliament

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 25 January, 2016 | 5:50 pm

Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) is very sorry to hear the news that the Member for Fremantle, the Hon. Melissa Parke MP, will not be re-contesting her seat at the 2016 Federal Election.

Not only has she been a strong supporter of our campaign for war powers reform and for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the decision-making process that led to Australia’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq; we believe her first hand experience of UN peacekeeping operations and her work in the UN Headquarters and in Beirut, plus her experience as Minister for International Development …

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‘This is for Syria’

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 14 January, 2016 | 12:07 pm

In a New York bookshop a few years ago I heard a customer ask for Bibles. The assistant directed him, and he went to inspect them. ‘Hey Miss’, he then called, ‘Who’s they by?’

Good question. In spite of similar doubt about its authorship, the Koran in English translation has never been in such demand. One thing militant Islam has achieved in the last three decades is an outpouring in the West of commentaries on the religion, on Islamic terrorism, and on what drives young Muslims to join up for wars. Debates proliferate about the nature and purpose of jihad, …

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Where might the Middle East conflict be leading?

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 14 December, 2015 | 3:54 pm

What are we to make of the conflict at the heart of the Middle East at this stage and Australia’s continued participation in it? Is it the ‘Great Game’ being played out yet again, this time on a different level essentially with proxies? Or will the proxies give way to more direct action by what even by today’s standards we consider Great Powers, even if relative?

What is clear from an aerial view is that there are a host of minor conflicts on a new battle ground with the larger regional countries moving in to fill vacuums where they see …

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