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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Bombing in Syria: Is R2P a justification of last resort?

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 14 September, 2015 | 10:12 am

The government should hold back over Syria lest it creates a precedent with longer term risks to the national interest. So far it has not explained the legal basis on which it would proceed to bomb Syrian positions. It is has however been gratuitously but deceptively served by two former Labor Foreign Ministers, Evans and Carr, who in effect have stated that if breaches of sovereignty cannot be excused any other way there is always the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine to fall back on.

As the US asserts that the War Against Terror is global, its armed forces may …

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Media Release: Government makes the future worse for Syrians

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 7 September, 2015 | 2:38 pm

Monday 7th September 2015


Australians for War Powers Reform, which has campaigned for an inquiry into how Australia went to war in Iraq, renews its call on the Government to explain how sending the RAAF to join bombing raids in Syria can do other than add to the exodus of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and others from their countries. The group continues to question the legality of such military action by Australia, and asserts that before it takes place several steps are mandatory:

  • The receipt by the Government of independent legal advice, for

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Media Release: Open letter to Prime Minister Abbott about military action in Syria

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 4 September, 2015 | 7:16 pm

Dear Prime Minister Abbott,

As your government prepares to extend RAAF bombing raids beyond Iraq into Syria, we ask you to reconsider this move before it is too late.

We call on you to hold a debate in Parliament on the impact of bombing on Australia’s national interests and on Syrian civilians, followed by a vote on any proposed military action.

Further, we urge you to seek and publish genuinely independent legal opinion as to the legality of this bombing under international law. This should make clear what Australia’s likelihood of success before the International Court of Justice would be …

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Media Release: Government challenged to provide legal basis for Syrian bombing

By: AWPR | Posted in: Blog | 26 August, 2015 | 4:30 pm


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR) urges reform of the process by which Australian troops can be sent to war, calls on the Australian Government to state on what grounds any further Australian role in bombing Syria would be legal.

The group states that the following should be mandatory before any such Australian military action:

  • The receipt by the Government of independent legal advice, for example by the Solicitor General, stating that any proposed military actions are legal under international law;
  • The open publication of such advice; and
  • Confirmation that the Government could, if

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