16 August 2014
Dear members, supporters, readers and well-wishers,
Welcome to the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bulletin. With the US conducting air strikes on Islamic State targets, EU member states considering arming Kurds, and Australia committing to delivering humanitarian aid supplies to northern Iraqi communities, the question of the week has been: Are we going back to Iraq?
In this edition:
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Former UK foreign secretary David Miliband says 2003 invasion contributed to current Iraq crisis
The Guardian reports:
"The 2003 invasion of Iraq contributed to the country's current disintegration and mounting crisis at the hands of Islamist militants, David Miliband has conceded, as he expressed fresh regret over Britain's involvement in the war.
"As US president Barack Obama authorised potential US air strikes against Islamic State jihadists, who have seized control of swaths of the country, the former foreign secretary said that the outcome of the war in Iraq 'induces a high degree of humility'.
"'It's clearly the case that the invasion of Iraq, or more importantly what happened afterwards, is a significant factor in understanding the current situation in the country,' said Miliband, during a wide-ranging interview with the Observer in New York."
Australian troops complete first humanitarian aid drop
The Guardian reports:
"The defence minister, David Johnston, has confirmed Australia has completed its first humanitarian mission in northern Iraq. […]The Australian contribution thus far involves dropping essential supplies to people stranded by jihadist conflict on Mount Sinjar. On Thursday a RAAF C-130J Hercules delivered 10 pallets of water and energy biscuits.
"[...Tony Abbott] said people involved in the mission represented the 'best in our country and in our civilisation'. Iraq, he noted remained 'a witches’ brew of complexity and confusion'.
"'We’re not trying to change a regime, we’re not trying to establish democracy, we’re not trying to uphold one set of values over another, except in this: when something is clearly right and proper and good – and relieving people who are starving and exposed is clearly right and proper and good – well, then, we in Australia try to do what we can to help,' Abbott said."
Australian Government needs to be 'crystal clear' on military intentions for Iraq
"Senior Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen has called on the Prime Minister to be 'crystal clear' about Australia's involvement in the crisis in Iraq.
"[...]He referred to statements from Defence Minister David Johnston earlier this week that left the way open to military involvement in Iraq - statements that appeared to be later shut down by the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop."
"There has been I think some difference in public announcements between David Johnston, Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott," Mr Bowen said.
Also: Tony Abbott says Australia 'certainly' does not rule out military action in Iraq
Congress on board with Obama's Iraq plans
ABC News reports:
"Little of the impassioned debate that fractured lawmakers last year over possible military intervention in Syria is happening now as American warplanes strike extremist targets in Iraq.
"Almost a week into the Obama administration's emergency action in northern Iraq, the campaign is attracting surprisingly broad bipartisan support [...] outright opposition has been muted.
"The need to move quickly to prevent further loss of life of men, women and children is not in dispute," said Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., [who last year] wrote a letter to President Barack Obama demanding that the White House seek congressional approval before ordering an attack on Syria, collecting the signature of more than 100 of his fellow House members."
Another war in Iraq won't fix the disaster of the last
The Guardian reports:
"The media and political drumbeat is growing louder for Britain to move from humanitarian aid drops to join the military campaign. France has announced it will be arming Iraqi Kurdish forces. There are already 800 US troops back on Iraqi territory.[…]
"If ever there was a case for another Anglo-American bombing campaign, some say, this must surely be it. […] The victims of this sectarian onslaught need urgent humanitarian aid and refuge.
"[...] But of course it’s not just about the Yazidis or the Christians. As Obama has made clear, they’re something of a side issue compared with the defence of the increasingly autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan – long a key US and unofficial Israeli ally – and American interests in its oil boom capital Irbil, in particular.
"[...] The danger of the US, Britain and others being drawn again into the morass of a disintegrating state they themselves took apart is obvious."
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The views expressed in this bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (Inc). Readers should note that the Campaign for an Iraq war Inquiry (Inc) seeks a diversity of views and opinions in order to identify common ground.