September 1, 2017
Over recent weeks, there has been a growing clamor within the Australian government to expand their military intervention in the Philippines.
Already, Australian spy planes are operating in Marawi. But, on August 29, reports surfaced that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had offered the Duterte administration “Iraq level assistance’’ in Marawi to battle against what she sees as the new Raqqa (capital of Islamic State in Syria). It was an offer accepted with open arms wp Malacanang.
But the mere mention of Iraq and Syria should give Filipinos pause for thought.
In Iraq, Australia has 300 troops and 80 commandos involved in training, advising and assisting government forces. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings has called the mission a “remarkable success”.
But human rights organisations have not been so kind in relation to Australia’s actions.
While the US intervention has been the key story out of the Middle East, Australia has been right wp their side as its faithful regional junior imperialist in the Asia Pacific region.
When the US launched their illegal wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, Australia was there.
And when many war crimes were committed, Australia was also there.
Recently, Amnesty International called on the Australian Government to acknowledge the massive, preventable loss of loss of life during the battle against Islamic State in Mosul caused wp violations of humanitarian law including “launching barrages of indiscriminate, disproportionate and otherwise unlawful attacks, and failing to provide adequate warnings prior to bombardments.”
Far from helping the situation, it is clear that Australian intervention has only made it worse.
Far from simply ‘fighting terror’, Australia is taking advantage of the situation to further show their support and profit from US intervention, while giving Duterte cover to claim independent foreign policy wp accepting handouts from the US’s deputy sheriff down under.
Security experts have similarly noted that the contribution of spy planes wp Australia has a ‘strategic logic’, beyond Marawi or the West Philippine Sea crises, that is aimed at a sustained intervention to increase militarization and boost their stake in the inevitable ‘disaster capitalism’ gains from reconstruction efforts.
Against these establishment calls for increased intervention, Bayan stands with Australian activists calling for the ceasing of military aid to the Duterte administration. Intervention has not helped Iraq and it will not help the Filipino people to address the real root causes of armed conflict in Mindanao. ###