Syria from the Russian perspective

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 5 December, 2015 | 11:20 am

Syria is a hellish problem. Looking at it from the Russian perspective: they had no alternative but to attack ISIL because it threatens to spread lethally into their own southern Muslim underbelly – Russia is 10% Muslim and that includes Russia’s poorest and most mistrusted communities. And their ex-Soviet southern neighbours.

To attack ISIL they had to defend the far from perfect Assad regime, which meant also attacking Turkey-supported Islamic extremists (not ISIL) in the North of Syria, who present the most immediate serious military threat to Assad. This led in reply to the terrible Sinai act of terrorism, (and …

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The War Powers and Parliament

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 3 December, 2015 | 9:39 am

Those who believe that Parliament should have a clear role in the decision-making process in regard to the War Powers would have noted closely the proceedings of the mother Parliament in the Westminster system these past weeks.

The British Prime Minister while noting that the Prerogative Power enables the government,  following due process, to commit to war and war like actions, has asserted that reference to the parliament is an integral step in providing the political justification for such decisions. The purpose is to secure a political mandate and allow all relevant matters to be brought forward and discussed in …

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The most important decision

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 28 November, 2015 | 10:00 am

This letter from AWPR member Ernst Willheim was originally published in The Canberra Times on 27th November 2015:

If Tony Minchin is under the impression that the Australian Defence Force is on a permanent state of readiness  (War Moves Quickly, Canberra Times, letters, 24 November) he is mistaken. At a recent high level seminar at the Australian National University distinguished retired generals with extensive command and combat experience explained that major operational commitments require months of preparation. Only a very small pool of our defence forces is kept at a high level of readiness. The parliament can be called into…

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Audio: Little consolation from Australia for downed Russian jet

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 17 November, 2015 | 3:24 pm

Tony Kevin on The Wire

The 224 people who have died in the Russian Metrojet disaster in Egypt almost certainly have perished as a result of an ISIL bomb. Yet western intelligence does not appear to have been shared with Russia or Egypt. Our own government is yet to send so much as a condolence note with our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop maintaining that her interviews on talkback radio are enough. A dangerous rift in the anti-ISIL campaign countries could result.

Produced by Roderick Chambers, 9th November 2015.

This audio was originally published here.…

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Britain opts out of bombing Syria

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 8 November, 2015 | 10:51 pm

Britain’s decision not to join the US and its allies in bombing IS in Syria is good news, particularly but not only for Syrian civilians. Even though David Cameron didn’t mention the illegality of such an attack, he knows that the Commons would raise it in a Parliamentary debate, and that because of uncertainty about the purpose and outcome of bombing, the Tories would be likely to lose a vote, as they did in 2013.

There are two lessons in this for Australia. Our RAAF operations in Syria, whether inspired by Tony Abbott or President Obama, are illegal for the …

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Why Russia is Right to Choose the Bad in Syria for Fear of the Worse

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 26 October, 2015 | 2:44 pm

Where the West has vacillated between trying to force Assad’s departure and resisting the spread of ISIS, Moscow has been clear-eyed and hardheaded: the top goal is to “defeat, degrade and destroy” the terrorist group.

Poor Vladimir Putin. The Russian president clearly missed the memo that the US-led West is the anointed ruler of the world and its president is He Who Must Be Obeyed.

Washington is the sole judge of the legality and legitimacy of its own and everyone else’s behaviour. Its invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein – on a trumped up pretext – was not …

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Kunduz attack: a response from MSF

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 26 October, 2015 | 11:40 am

All of Médecins Sans Frontières remains deeply shocked and saddened after the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids around 3am on Saturday 3 October 2015, as part of the battle of the Afghan government and US forces to regain control of the city previously taken by the Taliban.

The hospital was full at the time of the attack and 10 patients, including 3 children and 12 MSF staff members were killed, 37 people were injured including 19 MSF staff members. The MSF team in Kunduz was operating the only hospital capable …

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Dumbing it Down: How Labor and the Libs Enforced a Parliamentary Blackout on Debating War in Syria

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 28 September, 2015 | 12:21 pm

Malcolm Turnbull has promised not to talk down to the Australian electorate. Michael Brull wonders why, then, he won’t permit a debate in parliament on the war in Syria.

When Malcolm Turnbull announced he was going to challenge Tony Abbott’s leadership of Australia, he said that he was going to bring in a new style of leadership.

“We need advocacy, not slogans,” he declared. “We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.”

Whilst Abbott was best known for his election slogans about boats and tax, he also pushed the new war on Iraq with little more than innuendo

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How Obama and Putin could cut through the Syrian tragedy

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 21 September, 2015 | 10:01 am

Tony Kevin

Two people – Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin – now have the power decisively to cut through the tragic Gordian​ knot that the Syrian crisis has become, generating millions of displaced refugees with many more in prospect as civil war continues. They could only do this, if they were genuinely to agree to work cooperatively, as they briefly attempted some years ago, before a new Cold War descended on Europe. Aided by their competent Foreign Ministers, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, Obama and Putin could together end the Syrian agony.

My proposal here may at first sight seem …

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Should Australia bomb IS in Syria?

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 14 September, 2015 | 10:58 am

The Australian government should consider very carefully whether it participates in the air campaign against Islamic State in Syria, writes Ramesh Thakur.

The Australian government is considering a United States request, possibly engineered from Canberra itself, for Australian participation in the air campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Due diligence requires that the evaluation be done with sympathy tempered by caution and humility.

Decades of interventions by the West into Middle Eastern affairs have proven disastrous. Is it time to try something different?

The legal justification for bombing raids without the consent of Syria’s government is dubious. The …

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