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.
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 , 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.
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→
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
The Talisman Sabre military exercises (TS2015) which are about to begin in northern Australia represent the largest combined military exercise undertaken by the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Around 30,000 service personnel, including 12,000 Australians, are taking part. There will be contingents from the US, NZ and, for the first time, Japan.