Articles on Iraq

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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…
Air strikes in Syria are the latest phase of the war against Islamic State, each stage involving a fresh set of moral judgements. EPA/US Air Force

Moral dilemmas of war against Islamic State lack easy answers

Every generation in recent memory has had seminal historical conflicts which demand that lessons must be learnt. The baby boomers had the Vietnam war. Their parents: the second world war. And our generation…
Displaced Iraqis have found refuge in the Kurdish capital, Erbil, only to be threatened by advancing Islamic State fighters until international military forces intervened. EPA/Mohamed Messara

Taking on the terrorist threat in Iraq: the view from Kurdistan

To those of us living in Australia, conflict can seem surreal and distant. Yes, we see it on the television, but it is hard to imagine the chaos and horror that accompanies war and conflict. It is not…
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…
The new laws would make it easier for authorities to prevent people fighting in foreign conflicts, as happened to this man arrested in December for allegedly attempting to travel to Syria. AAP/Australian Federal Police

Bill targets foreign fighters before departure and after return

The Abbott government has today introduced the second tranche of its national security amendments – the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 – into the Senate. As its name…
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…
So it begins. EPA/US Navy/Roderick Eubanks

US starts air strikes on Syria as shadowy new threat emerges

The United States has commenced major air operations against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Aircraft from bases in the Gulf, supported by air-to-air refuelling, struck a substantial range of targets…
Over it: Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (L) and his foreign minister Javad Zarif. EPA/STR

Frozen out of anti-IS effort, Iran is losing patience with the West

Since Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s president in June 2013, relations between Iran and the United States have significantly improved – though they remain very fragile. To explain why, most analysts…
Australian women of different faiths gathered at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque last month in a show of community solidarity. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with co-operation

From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today…
A suspected IS convert is arrested in Indonesia. EPA/Sakhiy Rifano

The fight against Islamic State is a battle for young minds

Governments around the world are trying to come to terms with the fact that their nationals – and young people in particular – are leaving to join extremist groups such as Islamic State. In response, ministers…
Since Defence Force chief Mark Binskin and Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the deployment of Australian warplanes, the confused ‘mission creep’ seen in the last Iraq war has begun. AAP/Lukas Coch

Blurred battlelines: our mission to ‘destroy’ Islamic State won’t work

Before committing more troops, the Australian government should be certain about the type of threat Islamic State (IS) poses and whether the Australian Defence Force has a clear and justified objective…
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…
Barack Obama’s speech to announce a strategy to destroy Islamic State had a familiar ring to it because it followed the script of the past half-century. EPA/Saul Loeb/pool

My fellow Americans: the familiar sound of American belligerence

A few years back, an honours student in linguistics at Macquarie University did a small study of American presidential oratory. The student chose four speeches, in which four different American presidents…

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