Islamic State & Syria
Below is the text of Abbott’s address to the Security Council, which has resolved that each country should act to stop/restrict their citizens from going to jihadist areas to fight. In practice, this will depend on decisions by individual countries. It seems the main purpose of the meeting was to agree with each other that IS is a serious problem and that its involvement in Syria also needs to be tackled. Labor has opposed Australian involvement in Syria but the UN agreement provides support for Abbott if he should decide to take that step.
Although there are references to the need to fight terrorists in general, it is unclear how far this group will be prepared to extend its military activities. This article argues that Arab civilisation has collapsed and The Barbarians [are already] within Our Gates. This seems pretty right as a basis for assessing the future, If it is correct, i implies a need for western countries to be prepared to continue fighting radical groups, of which there seem to be many. For example, while all this has been happening, it appears that Yemen (which the US was using to combat radicals) has succumbed to radicalisation.
Indeed, even assuming that the air strike strategy “defeats” IS, there is a question of whether that simply results in it ceasing to operate as a separate body with its remnants simply join another group.
That Obama is a party to the UN agreement to tackle IS and Syria is also an important step forward, at least on the surface. But his refusal to send troops will make the exercise difficult. Given his withdrawal syndrome, Obama is likely to limit the US’s involvement. One possibility would be a postponement of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan
There continues to be debate in Australia about the “background” of the Muslim youth shot by police and the extent of the domestic terrorist threat. It appears that he acted on his own in attempting to murder the police but was not a lone wolf in developing the belief that he should act violently. He accessed the local prayer room/bookstore which was run by a radical imam and had a visiting radical preacher. He also mixed with Muslim youths reported to have aggressive views. The message sent from IS in Iraq to kill westerners may have sparked the action against police.
The crisis has brought widely different interpretations/responses from Muslim groups and their leaders. This is the most important aspect because it has brought into the open not only the existence of a considerable number of such groups but a considerable number who are attempting to shift the blame to a range of matters, including the US/Australian action against IS, or downplay the extent of radicalism. There are even some Australians who have said the police raids are being used by the government to justify Australia’s involvement in attacking IS and the introduction of new counter-terror laws (see Andrew Bolt’s article below).
In my view there continues is an urgent need for political and other leaders to bring out into the open that there is a not insignificant proportion of Muslims who accept the role of violence in achieving an Islamic society operating under sharia. It needs to be said publicly that advocacy of violence by any religion is not acceptable in Australia and that action will be taken to stop such advocacy.