Sep 3, 2013

How Australia should use the UN to lead on Syria

With the US poised to launch military action against Syria, can Australia's UN Security Council presidency make a difference? Retired diplomat Bruce Haigh assesses the options.

Syria protest

The United States is determined to carry out a punitive attack against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for its alleged use of nerve gas against civilians. Should Australia, since Monday the president of the UN Security Council, support military intervention?

US President Barack Obama has approached Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to ask that very question. Rudd has not taken the Australian people into his confidence, but apparently he has made all the right noises to Obama. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has reportedly not been briefed on specifically what those noises were, and the professionals are less than pleased.

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4 thoughts on “How Australia should use the UN to lead on Syria

  1. shepherdmarilyn

    WE have just been labelled cruel, inhuman, degrading and lawless and we are trafficking Syrian refugees to Nauru and Manus Island.

    Why the hell would anyone listen to us.

  2. Dan B

    “There is no doubt that the cruel attack on innocent civilians by the Assad regime deserves the strongest condemnation and sanction.” It’s ballsy making such a statement when it hasn’t been irrefutably proven to be the case. But it seems to be the current trend within most media outlets. I am disappointed that a Crikey writer, especially a former Australian diplomat has succumbed to the hype.

    You must also remember that the US wasn’t the first to call the hounds of war on this one. Nor were they second. France and the UK take those honours. Turkey a very close third. What really brought the US into this mess is Obama’s “red line” statement in 2012, and the UK, French and Turkish hawkers used that to their advantage incredibly well. This did not start out as a US proposal and although I am no fan of Obama or his administration to be fair, and as we have seen – at any time the US enters a coalition, it becomes the leader of that coalition.

    And although you accurately state that Russia and Iran are Assad’s major backers, they would also like to see the US bogged down in another protracted, hugely costly war. They have been enjoying it for the past decade plus. So the Russian/Iranian issue then becomes a moot point (theoretically – it still won’t stop them thumping their chests in opposition).

    Until it is absolutely proven that the Assad Government used chemical weapons against it’s people a couple of weeks ago, I think our position on the UNSC should remain resilient against any type of military intervention.

    But then the real question that begs to be asked is “why now?”. Why now after decades of the same family slaughtering his own people does any Western Coalition want to act? I ask you.

  3. Kevin Herbert

    It’s disappointing that that any rational informed person would believe anything the US says about geopolitics in the Middle East.

    There has been no evidence provided to date.

  4. Limited News

    Well said Dan and Kevin. The conflict has the potential to escalate into WWIII.

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