On Syria and Islamic State

Jock Webb writes: Re. “You can’t just blame Assad” (Friday). Indeed! Robert Johnson writes with clarity and thought. The Syria issue is fraught. For a start, Syria had been a long term influence of stability. We, of course, must disapprove of them because Israel says so and we must always blindly follow Israel’s wishes. Being aligned with Shia Iran and without the counterbalance of Iraq, Syria suddenly becomes problematic. Syria had done little harm to the West unlike our alleged allies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia who were clearly funding the Taliban and Al Qaeda. We have now arrived at the ludicrous situation where we ally ourselves with every one who is not IS and Assad. We have given IS weaponry that they have taken from the worthless Iraqi army. Our most reliable allies are Shia/ Iran backed militia and Kurds which come in three or more flavours, brave allies, fearless fighters and terrorists with little to clearly define anything. This is US foreign policy which is a blight on the region and has been for all of my 60 years. You would think that after the Balkan debacle when the will of Tito no longer held them together, we would have learned what happens when a regime disintegrates. But no. What can the meddling of the west in Syria possibly do to help?

Time to step up

David Whittingham writes: Re. “Australia’s refugee policy inexcusable” (Friday). Someone complained about your publication of the picture of little Aylan Kurdi’s body on a Turkish beach? What unthinking idiot could not be moved by such a poignant image of the effects of inhumanity perpetrated by the world’s so-called leaders. Until we face up to the reality of the unbridled lust for political power — instigated in many cases by Western politicians — we will do nothing. People refused to accept the reality of the Holocaust until they had no choice. I couldn’t get the toddler’s image out of my mind and the notice in Friday’s Herald brought tears to my eyes. Will we ever learn?

Adrian Jackson writes: As the USA and its allies are responsible for destabilizing West Asia following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 they must take in the lions share of Syrian refugees leaving Syria. Currently smaller neighbours like Jordan and Lebanon each have 1,000,000 Syrian refugees as does the much larger Turkey. The USA should take 500,000, UK 250,000, Australia 100,000 as well as the civilized countries in northern Europe. Australia took a similar number of South Vietnamese refugees over three decades ago and most have assimilated well into Australia and so will the Syrians who want to come here. Syrians look Caucasian too if that is an issue with the “Team Australia” boofheads. I notice on TV that many Syrians speak English and have good tertiary and small business qualifications. Syrian refugees could help kick off the new apartment development in Fisherman’s Bend or add to multiculturalism in places like Caulfield too.

Vincent Burke writes: I am currently visiting England, the place of my birth, and wish to comment on my feeling of shame about the refugee policies of both the UK and Australia, the country of my adoption. Both UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Tony Abbott have shamefully placed domestic politics ahead of any vestige of humanity towards the refugees.  Having spent a week also in Germany, the contrast could not be starker.  Mainland Europe is struggling with 100,000 refugees having arrived in the last month alone, but they are (mostly) treating them humanely and with respect.  What is it about island nations that they adopt such insular and racist policies?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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