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  • The Prime Minister's unsurprising announcement of an Australian military commitment to the US-led anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition answered a few questions and raised others. I think the justification for military intervention in Iraq is relatively straightforward, but the environment within which...
    15 September 2014
  • [youtube:KvRd17vXaXM] It's fair to say that President Obama is a reluctant commander-in-chief and sees the Middle East as a place where the limitations of US military force are most apparent. So his speech tonight on America's strategy against Islamic State (IS) was from someone who wishes he didn'...
    11 September 2014
  • The complexity of the task facing the Obama Administration in putting together a coalition to target radical Islamists in Iraq should not be underestimated. There are so many competing jealousies, so many personal, political and religious agendas, that the seemingly straightforward task of putting...
    9 September 2014
  • Why Sunni Arab States are dragging their feet By Dr Rodger Shanahan The Age Please click here for the online text.
    4 September 2014
    Commentary
  • In this fast-paced world of media grabs, it is easy for selective quoting to misrepresent what leaders say. In his 28 August press conference for instance, when President Obama was asked whether he needed Congressional approval to go into Syria and attack Islamic State, he said 'I don't want to put...
    2 September 2014
  • As a former Army officer, my service bias has always made me a believer that only events on the ground matter. The air force is a great enabler but rarely the decisive factor. But my experience of the Middle East has also taught me the value that many governments place in air power. In the Gulf in...
    27 August 2014
  • The horrific images surrounding the gruesome execution of the US journalist Jim Foley are dominating the headlines. The Islamist group had several reasons for doing what they did, and when they did it. It reinforces the Islamic State's reputation as the baddest Islamists of them all, a useful tool...
    22 August 2014
  • As events unfold in Baghdad, President Obama's decision to unilaterally withdraw US troops from Iraq in the absence of a Status of Forces Agreement appears vindicated. Prime Minister Maliki has exacerbated the sectarian nature of Iraq's politics, bringing the current crisis to a head. The White...
    11 August 2014
  • The limited use of military force announced by President Obama earlier today was likely prompted by concern at the success of ISIS's latest offensives across Syria and Iraq. The jihadist group has recently redoubled its efforts in Raqqa, Syria, in an effort to take the remaining pockets of Syrian...
    8 August 2014
  • ISIS has released video of its leader Abu Baqr al Baghdadi appearing at a Mosul mosque (pictured) during Friday prayers last week, claiming to be the caliph, or leader, of the Muslim faithful and calling himself Caliph Ibrahim. Carrying the supposed moniker of ' the invisible sheikh ' is great for...
    8 July 2014

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