Global Leaders Using Refugee Plight to Push Military Escalation
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday became the latest elected leader to use the plight of refugees in building a rhetorical case for military escalation towards Syria, despite numerous calls for wealthy nations to extend refuge—not bombs—as the humanitarian crisis worsens.
Speaking in the Australian capital of Canberra on Wednesday, Abbott coupled an announcement that the country will admit an additional 12,000 people fleeing conflict in the Middle East with the declaration that the nation will extend its military actions beyond Iraq by joining in the bombing campaign in eastern Syria this week. The move comes despite questions over the Abbott administration’s legal footing for the air strikes.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron is also calling for a “hard military force” to remove President Bashar al Assad in Syria. “Assad has to go, [ISIS] has to go and some of that will require not just spending money, not just aid, not just diplomacy, but it will on occasion require hard military force,” he declared Wednesday.
Cameron’s comment comes despite the fact that he lost a parliamentary vote in August 2013 for approval to launch air strikes at the Assad regime. Moreover, the statement follows rising concerns over the country’s recent drone assassination of its own citizens, secret participation of its pilots in air strikes within Syria, and bombing of targets within Iraq.
“David Cameron is determined to go to war, and he refuses to let democratic formalities stand in his way,” the UK-based Stop the War Coalition declared earlier this week. “His government is even exploiting the refugee crisis, which is the product of US and UK military intervention, in order to force Britain into yet another savage bombing campaign. UK bombing of Syria would only increase the refugee crisis.”
In France on Monday, President François Hollande announced that the country will take in 24,000 refugees—and begin conducting surveillance flights over ISIS positions in Syria, beginning this week. France, which has been participating in the U.S.-led bombing campaign of targets in Iraq since September 2014, is currently weighing whether to directly participate in air strikes on Syria, the president stated.
Speaking to the uptick in military fervor among some politicians, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, recently declared in a Facebook question-and-answer exchange that leaders are considering intensified military efforts “to help deal with the root causes.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT