September 1, 2014
It's mission creep under the guise of humanitarian help--to prevent genocide against beleaguered minorities in northern Iraq. It follows the RAAF humanitarian supply airdrops to thousands of people still stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. Australia's’s response to Islamic State (Isis) should be on humanitarian aid.
Mission creep that is a continuation of the war of terror. Last week Australia was dropping food and water to prevent a humanitarian crisis. This week Australia is dropping weapons in a region where the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), one of 19 organisations that Canberra lists globally as terrorists, is active. The SAS is also involved as they will provide protection to the crew when they land in coming days in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq to deliver arms and munitions.
So Australia has intervened into a civil war by supporting one terrorist organization --the PKK-- against another --the Islamic State (IS) that is tacitly supported by Saudi Arabia, which Australia sees as one of the good guys who are part of the West. Australia is a gun runners for the Kurds at the behest of the United States. Australia also supported IS in its opposition to the Assad regime in Syria. Will Australia now support Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, as an ally in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) extremists? If the US does Australia will follow suit.
The so-called war on terror is nearly 13 years old. We have had crackdowns on civil liberties across the world, tabloid-fanned generalisations about Muslims and military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq whose consequences have ranged from the disastrous to the catastrophic. Australia helped to topple and killed Iraq’s ruler, Saddam Hussein, dismantled his army and law and order, broke the ruling party and civil service and caused the chaos that exiled the middle classes and massacred tens of thousands of civilians. And where have we ended up? With another war.
The rhetoric is being ramped up--the danger posed by Islamic State (IS) extremists is being presented as the biggest security threat of modern times, surpassing that of al-Qaida. No doubt the rhetoric will start to include the claim that the battle with Isis is about defending Australian or "western values". So it is a war against Islam, which represents non-western values. National security is threatened. It requires a whole new range of executive powers to deal with jihadis returning from Iraq that will endanger our liberties. Labor falls into line.
Humanitarian intervention does not mean embracing war through picking a side and helping it to win, or lose. We know that western bombs will not restore the fortunes of the Iraqi government or force Isis to admit defeat. Isis will simply hide in civilian cities. So what substantive or existential, threat to the west does IS pose? How is Isis a danger to Australia?