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Is Bombing Syria the Right Strategy?

Vince Emanuel Nov 2015
Vince Emanuele

A public forum on the bombing of Syria was hosted by the Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) in Sydney on October 20.

Entitled ‘Is Bombing Syria the Right Strategy?’ the forum attracted over 50 people. Chaired by Denis Doherty (IPAN and Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition), the forum was addressed by two speakers: Nick Deane (IPAN and Marrickville Peace Group) and special guest, Vincent Emanuele, a former US Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He refused to do a third military tour and is now an anti-war veteran and peace activist.

Marty Morrison, who attended the forum, noted that Nick Deane outlined three main concerns about the bombing in Syria: (a) Of all the nations involved, Australia is perhaps the most secretive about its military operations and impact on civilians (b) Far from ‘degrading’ ISIS, the US-led bombing campaign is more likely to add to the suffering of Syrians in ISIS controlled areas and (c) The campaign risks being counter-productive in the sense that every misdirected bomb is a ‘recruitment poster’ for those at war with the US and its allies. Continue reading Is Bombing Syria the Right Strategy?

Australia undermines Austrian-led nuclear ban initiative

Tim Wright
Tim Wright (ICAN’s Asia Pacific Director)

Diplomatic cables and ministerial briefings, obtained on September 9 by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) under FOI laws, reveal that the Coalition Government has become increasingly “worried” about the “growing momentum” behind the Austrian-led Humanitarian Pledge to ban nuclear weapons.

This growing momentum was confirmed once again when foreign ministers and other high-ranking government officials met at the United Nations on Wednesday September 30 to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

It was reported that many of these officials agreed that the Humanitarian Pledge on nuclear disarmament had opened up new possibilities to achieve much-needed progress towards abolishing these weapons of mass destruction.1 Continue reading Australia undermines Austrian-led nuclear ban initiative

Western powers rejected Russian proposal for Syria’s Assad to step aside in 2012

Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari.
Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari (Getty photos)

According to press reports in Britain recently, it has been revealed that the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan in 2012 which included a proposal for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had begun between the regime and opposition parties.

This proposal, however, was rebuffed at the time by the US and other Western nations. In commenting on this peace proposal, former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said the failure to consider the Russian offer had led to a “self-made disaster”.

The same report in The Guardian noted that in 2012 “the death toll from the Syrian conflict was estimated to be about 7,500. The UN believes that toll passed 220,000 at the beginning of [2015], and continues to climb. The chaos has led to the rise of Islamic State. Over 11 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes.”

This revelation about how the the US, Britain and France rejected Russia’s proposal in 2012, appears to have been ignored so far by Australia’s mainstream press.

To learn more about this story, read The Guardian’s report ‘West ‘ignored Russian offer in 2012 to have Syria’s Assad step aside”, Sep 17, 2015 here.

Greens, Wilkie denounce decision to bomb Syria

Bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria (Getty photos)
Bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria (Getty photos)

On September 9, Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed that Australia will extend its airstrikes in Iraq to ISIS targets in Syria.

This decision had been under consideration for a number of weeks. On August 21, Abbott announced that a “formal request” had been received from the US to join bombing missions in Syria. However, according to a Fairfax Media report on August 26, the driving force for the formal request came from the Prime Minister’s office, not Washington.

Following the PM’s announcement, Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, said that these RAAF aircraft would likely begin operations over eastern Syria within a week.

It can be safely predicted that these bombings, far from “degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS”, will not only cause more civilian casualties, but will also anger the Syrian civilians in these ISIS dominated areas. For the most part, these captive communities loath ISIS, but they also resent being attacked by American and Australian bombs. Continue reading Greens, Wilkie denounce decision to bomb Syria

IPAN opposes Australian airstrikes in Syria

RAAF to bomb ISIS targets in Syria
RAAF to bomb ISIS targets in Syria (ADF, Sgt Pete)

The Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has issued a media release strongly opposing the prospect of RAAF planes carrying out bombing missions in Syria.

This follows a statement made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott on August 21 that indicated the likelihood of Australia joining the United States in carrying out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

The PM claimed that he had received a “formal request” from the US administration for the RAAF to carry out bombing missions in Syria.

The US has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria for many months and RAAF planes have been involved in refuelling aircraft engaged in these missions. Continue reading IPAN opposes Australian airstrikes in Syria

Protests at Talisman Sabre 2015

TS2015 Lee Point NT
US Navy hovercraft on Lee Point Beach near Darwin as part of Talisman Sabre 2015.

Protesters converged on the recent biennial Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS2015) military exercises which were held simultaneously for the first time within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, near Rockhampton in Queensland and at Fog Bay, south west of Darwin.

During the protests, peace activists criticised Australia’s strategic alliance with the US and the dangers it poses to human security in this region. They argued that TS2015 served to make our military assets usable in future US confrontations and wars especially in the South East Asia region.1

Continue reading Protests at Talisman Sabre 2015