Arab nations to create joint military force: Audacity, irony, or sick joke?

Arab leaders at a summit in Egypt announced the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya, and as regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran engage in sectarian proxy wars.1

Audacity: forming a unified military force involving 10 countries, 100 aircraft, and 150,000 soldiers to counter security threats when for years the same countries sat on their hands while fellow Arab nations Syria and Iraq were being destroyed by armed conflicts.

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  1. Georgy M 2015, ‘Arab summit agrees on unified military force for crises’, Reuters, 29 March 2015, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/29/mideast-arabs-communique-idUKL6N0WV03T20150329

Australia’s incremental steps to war: Part 2

On 11 October 2014 I wrote an article ‘Australia’s Incremental Steps to War,’ which analysed the Australian government’s gradual escalation to committing troops to fight Daesh in Iraq. I concluded with this:

The government’s expansion of Australia’s involvement in Iraq from humanitarian aid drops to the spectre of sending in soldiers has occurred incrementally. At each stage the government has refused to rule out further involvement… With further incremental advances, and without clear and defined goals, it is inevitable that Australian will become more involved.

Less than five months later Prime Minster Abbott has indeed further involved Australia in Iraq, by confirming the deployment of another 300 troops, to help train the Iraqi forces.

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Muslims should be doing more?

A trend following recent terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists is people demanding “moderate Muslims” speak out against the violent acts and “do more” to prevent future attacks. The people making these demands are often members of the public voicing their opinion on social media, but celebrities and media personnel have also made similar remarks.

Although most simply demand “moderate Muslims” speak out against these acts or wonder why they don’t, some go so far as to hold all Muslims responsible for the acts of a few.

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Australia’s incremental steps to war

Regardless if it is technically at war or not, Australia is becoming more and more involved in the fight against Islamic State (IS). Keeping in line with the US, the operations of Australian armed forces are gradually being escalated. It is likely the Australian government had considered an extended military role in Iraq as early as August, and was encouraging the US to increase its military involvement there.1 But politicians know the unpopularity of sending Australian troops overseas, so the government adopted an incremental approach to escalation, as if breaking the news to the public gently, with each step further involving Australian armed forces in the conflict. Over the course of two months Australian operations evolved from humanitarian aid drops into airstrike missions and the deployment of SAS Commandos as military advisers. How long before the government commits ground troops to the battle?

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  1. In fact The Australian revealed that even this early the ­Abbott government was considering an extended military role in Iraq and was encouraging the US to increase its military involvement there and possibly in Syria. Morton R & Balogh S 2014, ‘Greens warning on Iraq “mission creep”’, The Australian, 26 August 2014, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/greens-warning-on-iraq-mission-creep/story-e6frg8yo-1227036515694