Iraq-Can Islamic State be Overcome; Islamism in Australia; Selling Budget Gets Harder

Iraq- Can Islamic State be Overcome

Reports suggest that, as there are fewer than expected Yazadis on the mountain, it is unlikely that the US will provide a military escort for their vacation from the mountain. However, it remains unclear as to whether external military support, in addition to the supply of arms, will be provided to help the Kurds and the (southern) Iraqis repel the Islamic State.

The Kurdish Chief Minister claims they cannot do it on their own and has asked for help from the British. While Cameron was apparently prepared earlier on to send troops to Syria, he could not get agreement to do so. But it appears that British special forces have been training with US forces in Iraq and US Defense Secretary Hagel has commented that “Iraq remains a troubled country” and that “Its not over. Its not complete”.

The acceptance by Maliki that there is a replacement Iraqi leader (but no Cabinet as yet) also meets one of the earlier conditions of US support from Obama. The report that Iranians are meeting with Kurds may lead Obama to be more sympathetic to providing military support in Iraq: the US would surely not want the Iranians to become closer allies there and with Iraq more generally.

The bottom line is – are western countries prepared to provide the assistance needed to overcome the barbarism that would occur under the Islamic State?

Islamism in Australia

Abbott’s security discussions in the UK and his subsequent public comments indicate that he would support the provision of military support (presumably special forces) if the US and some other western countries agreed to go down that track on the basis that there is a “humanitarian” need to do so in Iraq ie to save the lives of “ordinary” Iraqis and Kurds from the Islamic State.

Whether or not this happens, the exposure of the barbarism inherent in the Islamic State, and the excuses offered in the article below (and elsewhere) by local Muslim spokesmen as to why radical young men emerge from their imam contacts (but also the praise of the “noble deed” for those who go to Syria), provides an opportunity (and a need) for the exposure of Islamic beliefs.

I have previously suggested that Australian needs a Minister of Counter-Terrorism, and I repeat that here. But a government minister cannot take on the responsibility for explaining that a religion includes prescriptions of violence and other activities foreign to western values. That would have to be provided by an institution. The establishment of any such body, its terms of reference and it’s board would be extremely difficult but it seems important that we try to avoid the wilderness of misunderstandings by prominent people revealed in the article I circulated yesterday by Andrew Bolt.

Selling the Budget gets even Harder

Denis Shanahan, who is an astute commentator on the political scene, claims that Hockey “has to” stay as Treasurer even though he has made another gaffe in describing the fuel tax as “progressive”. If that is the case, he agrees Abbott has to play a much bigger role. Right – but it will be very difficult to do both.