The 2014 APEC Conference in Beijing this past week has been and gone and the G20 Conference in Brisbane is taking place in Brisbane this weekend.
If the APEC Conference is any guide the world leaders assembled in Australia will have little to say about the meteoric rise of Islamic State (IS) over the past six months and the threat to world peace and security Islamic State poses.
Expectations were high that Islamic State would be discussed at the APEC Conference. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key declared before the meeting:
"It's very hard to believe that leaders won't spend a lot of time talking about that [Islamic State].
And if you think about risks to the global economy, certainly one of the risks is that there's a very, very significant meltdown of the situation in the Middle East. And if you saw that then the economic risks to the world are very significant."Two days later at meeting’s end he was singing a different song admitting that:
“discussions about IS played just a small part in the APEC talks, with leaders focused on progressing two significant free trade deals.”Key however revealed he had had a conversation on IS with US President Barack Obama “on the sidelines” of the conference – telling reporters:
"He is very much in agreement with me that ultimately the real issue here is one of diplomacy."
He said Mr Obama was quite confident about the capacity of new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to reach out to Sunnis and be much more inclusive.
"I think him and I are very much on the same page - that you need some military capability and clearly need to try and control and rein in Isis but on the other side of the coin if you are really looking for a long term solution, it has got to come from people feeling as though they are part of the long-term solution to Iraq."If Obama’s sentiments have been accurately reported by Key, then the US President has changed tack for the third time in four weeks going from initially planning to “degrade and destroy” IS to “disrupting and delaying” IS and now planning “to try and control and rein in” IS.
How one can ever possibly deal with Islamic State diplomatically was not revealed.
Meanwhile Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was able to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry when they reportedly discussed a timeframe in combating Islamic State - as well as the work Australian Special Forces would be undertaking in combating IS in Iraq.
In her usual and frank manner Bishop made no bones of the difficult task ahead:
“I don’t think anybody was under any illusions that this would be easy. IS is well funded, well resourced, with apparently 16,000 fighters or more from 80 different countries. When you are dealing with an ideology, it’s very hard to know what a complete mission would look like.
It will take time, it will take effort from a number of countries.”
|Photo credit: Daily Mail.co.uk|
"I think what we're missing is the ability to stop people – the enablers and the supporters. We haven't got anything there”There are some people who travelled a few days ago that were not on anyone's radar.
We got wind of it after the fact but the fact is there are still people travelling.
And regardless of what we're doing, we're not stopping that, so we need some other tools. Gaughan reportedly said greater powers were needed to stop those facilitating and supporting home-grown extremists.
"There are, I would say, a handful of facilitation groups operating up and down the east coast [of Australia] that at the moment are just far enough away from law enforcement that we can't arrest them”. The APEC Leaders Communique managed to mention the word “terrorism” just once:
“We commit to jointly tackle pandemic diseases, terrorism, natural disasters, climate change and other global challenges.”The Communique showed more concern for wildlife than for human life being shed each day in the bloodbath that has become Syria and Iraq and threatens to spill over into surrounding countries:
“We commit to continue our efforts in combating wildlife trafficking. We will take steps to combat wildlife trafficking by enhancing international cooperation through Wildlife Enforcement Networks (WENs) and other existing mechanisms, reducing the supply of and demand for illegally traded wildlife, increasing public awareness and education related to wildlife trafficking and its impacts, and treating wildlife trafficking crimes seriously.”
Since submission of my article the following development has taken place:ReplyDelete
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State (Isis), has apparently surfaced alive after he was rumoured to have been killed in a US air strike last week, calling for attacks in Saudi Arabia and for “volcanoes of jihad” across the world.
In a triumphant survey of what he described as the group’s growing influence, a tape made by a speaker claiming to speak on Baghdadi's behalf mentioned Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. In Saudi Arabia, singled out in the message as the “head of the snake and stronghold of disease”, people were urged to “draw their swords” to fight and to kill Shia Muslims – referred to in pejorative sectarian terms as “rafidah”. Shia worshippers were indeed attacked in a terrorist shooting in the country’s Eastern Province 10 days ago.
In Yemen, Baghdadi called for attacks on the “apostate” Houthis – rebels it is claimed are backed by Iran (seen as the embodiment of Shia power) who are fighting the central government in Sana’a.
There was a mention too for the Sinai Peninsula, where “the people of jihad” - a group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis- are fighting the “Egyptian tyrant” and had “terrified the Jews”. God would grant victory, the recording said.
It also attacked “lying media” in claiming that the coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain, had hit Islamic State targets.
“Be assured, O Muslims, for your state is good and in the best condition,” Baghdadi declared. “Its march will not stop and it will continue to expand, by Allah’s permission. The march of the mujahidin [Muslim holy warriors] will continue until they reach Rome. And soon, the Jews and Crusaders will be forced to come down to the ground and send their ground forces to their deaths and destruction.”
The recording was obviously timed to provoke a response from the G20 leaders
Hopefully they will all close ranks and take decisive steps to begin the process of obtaining a Security Council Resolution authorising the use of military force to degrade and destroy Islamic State.
More than one month ago the US State Department and the White House said in no uncertain terms that the #1 if not the ONLY foreign policy and global issue that the US would concern itself with is Global Warming. Nothing else so much as warrants attention. Except of course if you're a Jewish family applying to build another bathroom on your home in Gush Etzion.ReplyDelete