As the US prepares for military action in Syria, the reactions of Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott are entirely in keeping with previous ALP and Coalition failures to put Australian military forces before their own party alliances with Washington.
Australia needs to send emergency medical aid to Syria immediately and assist an independent assessment of the situation. It must not rush towards sacrificing its young soldiers on behalf of an ambitious foreign power before the jury is in.
The reported chemical attack in Damascus is a shocking and repugnant reminder of the horror of war. But too many questions remain about what has happened in Damascus, how and by whom this attack was carried out, and what is the most effective response.
The Syrian government has been aware for some time that such an attack would be against its own strategic interests, since it would likely be used as the pretext for outside forces to topple the regime — it has known this at least since earlier this year when President Barack Obama issued public threats that any use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be a “red line”.
The situation in Syria is very complex, so there is only one correct response to this issue: An immediate, independent UN-led investigation into the reported attack to ascertain whether this attack was authorized by the Syrian government, break-away forces, or others.
Syria is in the grip of a terrible proxy war with many powerful interests involved: The Syrian government; the Muslim Brotherhood; other Sunni Islamic militant organisations; the United States; the United Kingdom; France; Lebanon; Hezbollah; Israel; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Iran, and Russia–which has one of its few remaining naval bases in Syria. All of these interests are drawing on various assets to bolster their positions and this includes the United States drawing on Australia. Some seek to topple the Syrian government and replace it with one more amenable to their interests, while others seek to maintain the status quo.
The WikiLeaks Party has not forgotten the decision, based on false reportage about chemical weapons, for Australia to participate in the disastrous US-led Iraq war. The Wikileaks Party recognises the previous abuses of the Syrian state towards its dissidents, while similarly recognising the abuses committed by US-backed governments in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain–which the Australian Labor government disgracefully ignores.
In 2012 WikiLeaks released the Syria Files, millions of emails from inside the Syrian government which included the personal emails of president Bashar al-Assad. The documents reveal the intense complexity of political dynamics in Syria.
In the interests of transparency and accountability, the WikiLeaks Party demands that any decision on intervention by Australia in Syria must be ratified by both the Parliament and the Prime Minister. Our military assets are not toys for Kevin Rudd to play with during an election campaign.
The Australian Parliament and Prime Minister Rudd must answer two questions: One, what is the quality of the evidence and is it better than that used to mislead Australia into the Iraq War? And two, what Australian interests are served by military intervention in Syria and its aftermath?
Binoy Binoy Kampmark – 0400 547 842
Gerry Georgatos – 0430 657 309
Kellie Tranter – 0402 103 751