A soulless foreign policy…writes Michael Danby

October 8, 2015 by Michael Danby
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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself in the unusual position of pointing out the main source of human misery, civilian deaths, and refugee outflow in Syria, is the result of the brutal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop, mouthing the latest politically correct platitudes of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was last week, at least, giving Putin’sforce majeure in Syria, our country’s imprimatur. Even the accommodating Obama Administration has resiled from approving the Putin/Iran/Hezbollah aggression.

In recent days, Iranian troops have joined their Hezbollah and Syrian counterparts so as to launch a major offensive.

When it became clear, as the British Conservatives have insisted, that Putin’s air attacks, and the new, fully equipped Hezbollah tank division, were aimed, mainly, not at Daesh, but at the main Syrian opposition to Assad, in the north and south of the country (which does include some Islamists in the north). Scandalous. Short-sighted. Soulless.

Map of the Syrian Civil War

Map of the Syrian Civil War

What would you expect of a foreign minister, who in order to rid ourselves of unwanted Iranian boat people, wants to reward Iran with consulates in Melbourne and Sydney and is willing to covertly lift autonomous sanctions that Australia imposed on Iran? It’s sad to note that Sydney-based think tanks Lowy and the US Studies Centre seem to have become an ‘Amen corner’ for this sordid exercise in ‘real politick’. Breathtaking, is the only word I can use to describe a full-page article in the Australian by Tom Switzer, Research Associate at the US Studies Centre, arguing for the brutalist Putin’s involvement in Syria.

So even though my efforts on Sky, on Facebook, on Twitter and in the newspapers have been to defend and explain the cause of these terribly abused Sunni Muslims, who constitute 80 per cent of the 24 million population of Syria. Even with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten dissenting from Bishop’s short-term favouring of Assad, and Opposition Foreign spokesperson Tanya Plibersek insisting there should be a Parliamentary debate, all of this pales into insignificance for some. Insignificance for phobic Israel haters, (like Crikey’s full-time political correspondent in Canberra Bernard Keane). Keane is very much like Mike Carlton, and he uses his full-time position to attack, denigrate and bully anyone who questions his prejudices. So, in one tweet recently, when I questioned why the ABC had not reported the beginning of the recent violence in Jerusalem, where a young rabbi and his wife were murdered in front of their three children, he falsely and fraudulently attacks me

Michael Danby in parliament

Michael Danby in parliament

for not speaking up on behalf of Muslims! Something I’d been doing all week, against the prevailing Liberal apologist ‘Amen corner’, who either approve of or are indifferent to the brutalisation of the vast majority of Syrians.

For those who have a rational interest in these terrible world-altering events, the rise of Putin and the demise of the US in the Middle East, the managing editor of the respected and long-standing London Arab newspaper, a-Sharq al-Aswat, effectively argues as I have been. He explains that the Russian, Iranian aggression to prop up Assad, will only make the conflict deepen. While millions have been driven out of their own country by Assad’s minority Alawites, with the support of the Shiites in Lebanon and Iran, they won’t give up. They can’t. They have nowhere else to go. You will hear far too few of these views on the ABC, but from National Security advisor to Prime Minister Rudd, and an ex-Brookings analyst Peter Khalil, offers a hard-headed assessment of Bishop on Sky News.

Putin announced his dramatic upswing in involvement precisely because the Assad regime was teetering. Assad was down to 20 per cent of Syrian territory. He was forced to give a full division of tanks to Hezbollah’s mercenaries, as he had run out of men. No one can answer me as to why Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the current Australian government, the ‘realists’ at DFAT, all of whom think Australia will benefit from some mythical trade bonanza with Teheran’s theocratic tyrants, believe this policy will stop the tragedies in Syria, or stop the humanitarian crisis caused by the massive outflow for refugees.

Comments

3 Responses to “A soulless foreign policy…writes Michael Danby”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    I get the feeling that Bishop was changing her position on Iran before she changed her position on Abbott.

    Leon’s point is apposite; countries have permanent interest, but only temporary friends.

    Michael’s stance is in the best interests of Australia and of the Jewish communities here and in Israel. He loses out to the cynics and the antisemites.

    The one positive outcome of Russian meddling in the ME is to further show up the incompetence and malevolence of the USA, hopefully resulting in the election of a leader of merit rather than one like Obama, elected via the folly of affirmative action.

    Turnbull’s policies are less turn and more bull. My stomach is too sensitive to vote for either pack of incompetent party hacks whose only principles are the gaining of power to help their little mates. Why, oh why, can’t politicians realise that principled behaviour benefits a nation?

  2. ben gershon says:

    had Danby any sense He would have run His campaign on the quite instead of pushing people into corners

    but He is not the sharpest knife in the box

    ben

  3. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Could it be about what the British Foreign Secretary recently called “business opportunities” in Iran for his country’s capitalists?

    Some years ago the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade published a map of the Middle East; guess which country’s name did not appear on that map.
    If memory serves, that happened when a Coalition government was in power.

    On Iran the Coalition is as wrong as Obama; on Israel, the Coalition’s policy is not to pressure Israel into accepting a diktat which would further destabilise the Middle East by fabricating yet another militarised “Palestinian” Arab state. That would not be in Australia’s interests.The Coalition advocates a negotiated settlement.
    On Israel, the Australian Labor Party’s policy-making apparatus has been seized by extremists who want the world to apply such pressure. That would not benefit Australia; on the contrary, but the extremists are prepared to cut off their noses to spite Israel. Their high priest’s anti-Israel crusade, as well as that of his proteges, uses lies, distortions, half-truths, disingenuousness. And it must stem from sheer spite.

    But what makes any one believe that the Australian Labor Party would not be prepared to do whatever they think is necessary to seize “business opportunities” in Iran?

    Mr Danby’s campaign is laudable, but it is a PRIVATE one; it is NOT a Labor Party campaign.

    And even if it were, the ALP, like most political parties, would not necessarily be faithful to any position which it adopted when in opposition.

    We have seen , for example, the Labor Party repudiating its policy on refugees.

    HOWEVER, the Coalition is just as capable as the Australian Labor Party of turning on Israel.

    Unfortunately, international affairs is a soulless jungle.

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