Articles on ISIL

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The power of image. Charles Plattiau/Reuters

The best weapon against terrorists: oblivion

In 2009, communications scholars Esra Özcan, Ognyan Seizov and I wrote an academic paper on the Danish Muhammad cartoon controversy and its aftermath. We concluded that “visuals have to be taken more seriously…
Are these members of the Nusra Front fighting in Syria still loyal to Al-Qaeda? Hosam Katan/Reuters

Was Al-Qaeda a winner or loser from the Arab uprisings?

At first glance it appears that the Arab uprisings have strengthened Al-Qaeda and similar groups that fly the black banner. With the possible exception of Tunisia, the rest of the “Arab Spring” countries…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised the possibility of banning radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Grattan on Friday: Banning Hizb ut-Tahrir would probably be counter-productive – even if it were possible

Fairfax journalist Tony Wright tweeted on Thursday: “In-air bombing operational details against enemy on the bullhorn, on-water operational matters against leaky boats at 6 fathoms.” It’s a pretty accurate…
An Australian Super Hornet refuels from a KC30 tanker while flying over Iraq. @VCDF_Australia/Twitter

Why Western boots should stay out of Iraq and Syria

There are two reasons why we should ignore the growing calls in the United States, Canada and Australia for Western “boots on ground” – meaning ground troops – to fight and destroy the Islamic State (IS…
Islamic State flags flown by militants in the east of the Syrian city of Kobanê, within sight of the Turkish border. EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Kobanê teeters on the brink in a fight to the end against ISIS

The black flag of ISIS has been sighted in the Syrian city of Kobanê. For three weeks, heavily armed ISIS gangs have advanced on Kobanê – also known as Ayn al-Arab – steadily pushing back the local YPG…
Known as White Rocks, this quartz outcrop was the site of a three-hour gun battle in 1915 between police and two Afghans, who had shot and killed picnickers leaving Broken Hill. Amanda Slater/Flickr

History repeating: from the Battle of Broken Hill to the sands of Syria

It’s another hot Australian New Year’s Day, and 1200 people are aboard a train bound for a picnic when a burst of gunfire shatters the festive atmosphere. Police return fire, killing the attackers – but…
Australia’s Super Hornets, like these US planes, will be used against ISIL targets. AAP/EPA/DOD/US AIR FORCE/SGT. SHAWN NICKEL

Cabinet approves Super Hornet strikes against ISIL

Cabinet has given the go-ahead for Australia’s Super Hornet fighter jets to strike ISIL targets in Iraq, as well as for its…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not put a time on the deployment of Australian strike fighters in Iraq. AAP/Lukas Coch

Australian aircraft join the war but not yet fighting

Australia’s early warning and refuelling aircraft will operate over Iraq from today in support of American and other Coalition…
Ever since arriving in Canberra in July, Senator Jacqui Lambie has had the media in a spin. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

A Lambie loose in the top paddock of Parliament

If a movie is ever made about the life of the well-known PUP senator from Tasmania, we can be sure it won’t be titled “Silence of the Lambie”. After a little over two months in public life, quiet and stillness…
US President Barack Obama announces the start of a campaign of allied airstrikes against Islamic State forces in Syria. EPA/Win McNamee

Air power won’t finish off Islamic State, so what comes next?

Having secured some sort of tacit agreement with Damascus, the coalition bombing campaign inside Syria proper has begun in earnest. The US, France and an ambiguous array of allies is unleashing the bleeding…
Hear no evil? Many politicians have labelled Islamic State ‘evil’, but what does that really mean? See-no-hear-no-speak-no-evil monkeys/Shuttterstock

Unique evil, death cults and War on Terror: do these labels help?

Our time, this decade even, has shown us that man’s capacity for evil knows no limits. – Then United Nations’ Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 1997 Over the past few weeks leading up to the US-led bombing…
Foreign minister Julie Bishop (right) says Australians travelling to West Africa must ensure their employers can evacuate them if they become ill as the government will not. Alan Porritt/AAP

Gung-ho on terror, Australia is missing in action against Ebola

Well over 5,300 people have been infected and over 2,600 have died in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. But these numbers are thought to be gross underestimates as even the most conservative projections…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with Air Chief Marshal Mark Binski, announces Australia will send 600 military personnel to the Middle East. AAP

Q&A: How Australia has moved faster to fight Islamic State

How much has Australia committed to fighting Islamic State? Australia has pledged 600 military personnel and up to eight Super Hornets, which is expected to cost up to $500 million per year. There has…
In action? EPA/Stringer

Boots already on the ground as US mission in Iraq accelerates

President Obama’s address, on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, was uncompromising, the United States will “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State (IS) with “a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism…
Where are you going? It doesn’t matter why. miskan

Public backs removing citizenship from Britons fighting abroad – even for a good cause

The UK government is making noises about potentially stripping British people of their citizenship if they join conflicts abroad. But while the proposal is aimed at deterring people from joining Islamic…
Defence Minister David Johnston has not ruled out providing back-up military assistance to the United States operation in Iraq. AAP/Alan Porritt

Australia may offer ‘back-up’ to US forces in Iraq rescue

Defence Minister David Johnston has said Australia is “not ruling out providing some back-up assistance” to American military…
Iraqi forces have retaken Tikrit but now face a united enemy. EPA/Alaa al-Shemaree

An ISIS caliphate is bad news for Iraq, Syria and everywhere else

After the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011, the global jihadist movement seemed to have become fragmented and considerably weakened. This happened for various reasons. First, the coincidence of the…

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