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Why are we going to war?

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, March 4th, 2015 - 125 comments
Categories: aid, International, iraq, john key, national, national/act government, same old national, Syria, war - Tags:

There has been a lot said about National’s decision to go to war with ISIS.  In the past week the MSM has fallen in behind and supported Key.  Fran O’Sullivan in the Herald and Paddy Gower on TV3 have both provided solid support.  And Josie Pagani had published this rather convoluted post arguing why we should be in there boots and all.  She says that the opposite of intervention is not peace but she should have addressed the question will intervention bring peace.

National’s announcement straddles the centre somewhat.  It is more than Key promised during the last election campaign but less than what Australia is doing and no doubt what the US was expecting.  Tony Abbott has attempted to gain back some support in Australia by being gung ho about the war and his popularity has improved.  Stand by as he attempts to wind up the rhetoric further.  He also hinted that New Zealand is not doing as much as it could.  Key’s relatively modest contribution when compared to his recent belligerence in Parliament makes you think that he is trying to have it both ways.

So what has ISIS done to deserve this opprobrium?

They have beheaded six individuals and put the videos up on youtube.  They have killed lots and lots of locals.  They have acted like bastards.

But so have many other groups and organisations in the Middle East.  For instance …

  • The Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki has run the Iraqi government along Shia sectarian lines. This has infuriated Sunnis and the Maliki government has responded by the use of force. He has used state force to break up peaceful protests and imprisoned without trial thousands of Sunnis and this has convinced some Sunnis that their only solution is military.  ISIS has benefitted.
  • Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 68 people last year.  There are numerous other atrocities committed by the Kingdom and questions remain about its links to ISIS.
  • Israel has pummelled Palestine into the ground and responds to primitive attacks using hand made rockets with the destruction of civilian areas.  An estimated 844 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s summer war with Hamas.
  • And in Syria a democratic movement was met by the most brutal of responses from Bashar al-Assad’s Government.  It was estimated in December 2014 that over 200,000 Syrians had been killed during the war.  Get that? 200,000 men women and children killed because of a grassroots peaceful movement for greater democracy.

If it is not there already Iraq is close to becoming a failed state.  The results can be directly linked back to the 2003 war, the sanctions that were imposed and things such as the use of shells containing depleted uranium by the Americans that has resulted in birth defect rates greater than those in Hiroshima post nuclear bomb.  And the decision to disband the Iraqi Army in 2003 probably did no more than persuade a willing group of potential soldiers to swap sides in search of an income.

As noted by John Kapnfer in the Telegraph:

But Iraq is no Dubai; it’s a disaster. The consequences of the dramatic events of the past few weeks could not be greater for the region and the wider world. The land grabs by the small band of jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have been stunning. City after city has fallen to a heavily armed and audacious band of little more than 1,000 men who make al-Qaeda seem tame by comparison. Iraq is falling apart.

Entire populations are being internally displaced. Many are likely to end up seeking asylum in Europe or anywhere that offers a modicum of peace and prosperity. A reverse journey is also being made; young men from the West are going to secret ISIS training camps to join the fight against the ruthless Bashar al-Assad in Syria and the hapless regime of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. Their leader and secretive poster boy, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, wants to establish a caliphate incorporating large chunks of both countries, both of which are artificial constructs courtesy of the British and French a century ago. From there, he hopes to extend further in the Middle East and beyond. The next brand of global terrorism will have ISIS competing with al-Qaeda.

Maliki, who has declared a state of emergency, is the author of much of his country’s misfortune. He has pursued a sectarian agenda against the minority Sunni population, turning his forces on largely peaceful protesters and forcing the vice-president out of the country (and slapping a death sentence on him, to boot). A Shi’ite with close links to Iran, he purged Sunnis from his government and disbanded some of their more moderate militias, breaking a promise to incorporate them into his regular army.

Any analysis of what has gone wrong in Iraq inevitably begins with George W Bush and Tony Blair. Bush went to war to settle scores with Saddam Hussein on behalf of his father, who failed to remove him during the first war in 1991. Regime change was his goal and he was open about it. Blair’s aim was the same but he was required to use sleights of hand to secure the legal authority he required. The rest is dodgy dossiers, non-existent weapons of mass destruction and history.

Lebanon has behaved in an extraordinarily humane way and had an open border policy.  As said by the United Nations Refugee Authority with more than 1.3 million refugees expected by the beginning of 2015, Lebanon’s exceptional hospitality will be extremely stretched.  The failure of a number of nations to pay pledges to the organisation has caused a crisis in the continuation of support for refugees.

Iraq is disintegrating because the 2003 invasion was disastrous and the regime put into power is totally lacking in the ability to rebuild the nation.  ISIS is not the problem.  It is a symptom of the problem.

So why are we training the Iraqi army?  After all in 2011 US Rear Admiral Kirby said “when [the US Army] left in 2011, we left them capable and competent to the threat that they faced.”  In four years have things become that bad?

And what happens when ISIS is destroyed, should that happen.  What is to prevent another group from forming and committing similar atrocities.

And meanwhile the area is flooded by weapons and ammunition manufactured in the west.  If the West was so concerned the first thing it should do is work to shut down the flow of weapons even though the various arms manufacturers’ bottom lines will be affected.

New Zealand is wasting its resources on retraining the Iraqi army.  Humanity would be far better served by pouring these resources into Lebanese refugee camps and as a member of the Security Council working out how to rebuild Iraq into a sustainable state.  And while it is at it Syria needs to be repaired.  And Palestine needs protection.

And the Jordanian Pilot John Key spoke so passionately about?  There are at least 200,000 Syrian equivalents who also deserve his passion.  Being on Youtube should not be a precursor to humane action.

When you wreck a country of course the maniacs are going to take over.  Working out how to repair the country is far more difficult than being gung ho for local political purposes.

If you want to cram your brain with information elegantly simplified to explain what is happening in the middle east you cannot go past this collection of 27 maps.

125 comments on “Why are we going to war? ”

  1. les 1

    A bouquet instead of the usual brickbat for John Armstrong on his herald article on Keys lapdog behaviour and implausible explanations.

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    Dmitry Orlov: why the US is driving military interventions around the world – and failing at them every time

    Now, let’s suppose a financial oligarchy has seized control of the country, and, since it can’t control its own appetites, is running it into the ground. Then it would make sense for it to have some sort of back-up plan for when the whole financial house of cards falls apart. Ideally, this plan would effectively put down any chance of revolt of the downtrodden masses, and allow the oligarchy to maintain security and hold onto its wealth. Peacetime is fine for as long as it can placate the populace with bread and circuses, but when a financial calamity causes the economy to crater and bread and circuses turn scarce, a handy fallback is war.


    • nadis 2.1

      I didn’t have time to read the link, perhaps you could summarise. Is Orlov referring to the USA or Russia?

      • Jones 2.1.1

        US… war is the backup plan to keep the oligarchists in power when the financial house of cards falls and the government can no longer afford the bread and circuses that keep the plebs distracted.

  3. infused 3

    You miss the entire point imo. Yeah there are other groups, but none as strong as ISIS. They are making millions per day with black market oil. They are a well funded war machine.

    I bet none of those other groups have this sort of financial backing.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      You miss the point.

      The point is that sending trainers is a pointless gesture.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      Syria or Iraq have huge resources and access to oil.

      • infused 3.2.1


        • mickysavage

          They are also engaging in the killing of innocent people and are just as big a problem. Besides say the west wipes ISIS out. Are Syria and Iraq going to revert to peaceful nations respectful of their minorities? What happens next?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Funny how no one has mentioned setting up an economic blockade of ISIS oil. And stopping money from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE etc. getting to ISIS.

          It’s like the powers that be are saying that they want to stop ISIS on one hand, but on the other hand, not really.

          • GregJ

            And here is the extent of the problem.

            Utilising long established and organised smuggling routes in Anbar province out through Jordan, Kurdistan to Iran or Turkey. With the collusion of corrupt officials and even Peshmerga!

      • Old Mickey 3.2.2

        Iraq & Oil = Yes.
        Syria & Oil = not so much.
        The fundamental issue with ISIS and why you can not make a comparison to the issues in Syria and Saudi Arabia, is that ISIS are a threat to the Western World. Saudi behedaoing their local crims is not different to Bali/Indonesia. ISIS have a clear goal beyond teh middle east – non-muslims convert or be killed. The UN’s decades of “help/dipolomacy/humaitarian aide” have not achieved anything. As long as ISIS hates non-muslims more than they love life or their own children, then we need to act. I applauded Helen sending of the troops last time, and I applaud John Key for the same.

        • mickysavage

          Helen did not send in the troops. She sent in engineers to perform reconstruction work after the war had ended and pursuant to a UN resolution. That is a thousand miles away from the current situation.

          • fisiani

            What part of sending in trainers equates with going to war? When did New Zealand declare war? Against which country are we at war? Do you even understand what war means?
            Let’s be clear .
            Iraq has invited New Zealand to send some people to train their trainers. The trainers are going. They are not going to war.
            Stop trying to pretend we are at war.

            • Tracey


              Can you explain how the training that has failed since 2003 and cost Billions of dollars will miraculously work now that NZ has added 100 people?

              • fisiani

                What has that strawman got to do with my post? I take it therefore that you agree with my premise that we are not going to war.

                • Tracey

                  it is not a strawman, the question is valid in a discussion about sending NZ troops to Iraq (whether to war or some other label). You don’t get to draw the parameters of the discussion. You do get to refuse to answer questions you cannot answer though.

                  • fisiani

                    The post is entitled “Why are we going to war” . I pointed out out that we are NOT going to war. You then obfuscate about the value of trainers. That is not the basis of the post. Why should I be deflected onto your strawman arguments when the entire post is based on a fallacy. You know this and thus you seek to deflect. You admit the value of my statement in your comment in brackets.
                    There is a pattern on this blog of trying to spin language.
                    Keys folds -NO
                    Key goes to war-No
                    Key rattled -No
                    I can understand it may be too difficult for some to admit how successful John Key is but telling lies about him only makes people learn not to trust you.

                    • felix

                      The post is entitled “Why are we going to war” . I pointed out out that we are NOT going to war.

                      Well there IS a war, and we are ARE going to it. Seems odd to describe that as “not going to war”, but I haven’t had your level of training in doublethink.

                    • mickysavage

                      You mean that big song and dance that Key made in Parliament was about us sending a few trainers on a goodwill visit to a friendly country?

                    • Tracey

                      That’s a no, I dont know the answer then.

                      Sounds like a war… How do you know the trainers will just train cos last time we were told just training and they went on missions and stuff, and Willie Apiata had to carry someone out who had been wounded in a skirmish

                      ” Iraquiforces have continued their offensive to retake the city of Tikrit, seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) last June, with troops claiming “gains” in the fighting, security forces told Al Jazeera.

                      Citing state media and security sources, Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said an ISIL leader for south Tikrit had been killed and that other ISIL officials had retreated through Huweijah and on into the Hamreen mountains.

                      “It’s a huge mountain range on the border between Iran and Iraq and traditionally where fighters have hidden,” she said, adding that these reports could not be independently verified.

                      Our correspondent said: “They [Iraqi forces] are saying that they’re making progress in those … fronts in which they are fighting around the edges of Tikrit.

                      “They haven’t yet gone into Tikrit. That’s really because this is going to be a difficult fight, and that is because it is the biggest city they have tried to take back and it’s full of ISIL fighters and is laid with explosives and that is one of the major worries.”

                      Arraf said Iraqi troops had seized towns and villages along the way to Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin province.

                      “There is still fighting along the edges and there is a huge Iranian component [involved].

                      “Sources on the ground tell us General Qassem Soleimani is actually on the ground directing the fight along with the Iraq military and Iranian-backed militias.

                      “So it is a very complicated fight,” our correspondent said, referring to the senior Iranian army officer involved in the offensive.

                      Both Iraqi and Iranian media said Soleimani – the commander of the Quds Force covert operations unit of Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guards – was in Salahuddin to help coordinate operations.

                      ‘Certain of victory’

                      Government forces have battled their way north for months, notching up key victories against ISIL, but Tikrit has been their toughest target yet, with the fighters having resisted them several times.

                      Commanders voiced hope the operation would be a step towards the recapture of Mosul, the fighters’ main hub in Iraq, although a US envoy leading an international coalition against ISIL said no timeline should be imposed.

                      “The army, federal police, Popular Mobilisation [volunteer] units, and the sons of Salahuddin’s tribes are performing the duties of liberation in the largest operation against Daesh since June,” said a senior army officer on the ground, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.

                      “We are certain of victory … but the operation is not easy,” the officer told the AFP news agency.

                      The operation to retake Tikrit followed an announcement by Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi on Sunday.

                      Military sources said warplanes were involved, but the Pentagon said they excluded those of the US-led coalition fighting ISIL.

                      It was unclear whether Iranian planes were involved.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              So Iraq has checked its own numbers and found they are short 14 trainers ?

              The Iraqi Foreign minister coming here with a ‘request’ was all theatre.

              Its all Bullshit 101. And you failed the course

              • fisiani

                Another strawman argument. When did we declare war? We never did. We are not at war.

                • Ron

                  I don’t remember us declaring war on Vietnam either but the 161 battery sure as hell thought they were at war.

                  When did we declare war? We never did. We are not at war.

            • millsy

              Vietnam started with trainers and advisers….

              We should stay out of it.

            • Murray Rawshark

              We are sending armed troops into a war zone. What else could it be called other than going to war? Are we going as illegal combatants? Actually, we probably are.

              • “diplomats” apparantly

                • Murray Rawshark

                  The weird thing about that is that, while diplomatic immunity may be granted to accredited diplomats by a host country, it is not automatic. It is also the host country that accredits the diplomats. If the Iraqi regime doesn’t accredit the troops as diplomats, I understand that the passports are as effective as normal ones.

                  The whole scheme reminds me of Bush’s unlawful enemy combats rubbish, used in a dirty attempt to evade international law. We have become an outlaw nation, ironically at the behest of the party that wanks on most vehemently about lawn order.

                  • Yup.

                    This govt is not interested in the line between illegal and lawful.
                    The measure they use is: what is the political cost, and can we pay it?

                    And since they currently control the state, together with a compliant media, they can.

          • Tracey

            and medical teams as I recall…rather than just stepping over wounded victims to the next skirmish.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          ISIS have a clear goal beyond teh middle east – non-muslims convert or be killed.

          Well, that’s a lie for starters. ISIS operations are strictly limited by ideology and fundamentalism to the lands traditionally identified with their “caliphate.”

          Please do try and keep up.

          • te reo putake

            Bullshit, CV. Even if they had ever said that they were going to restrict themselves to a specific area, which I seriously doubt, that doesn’t mean they are going to limit their operations to that area. They ‘ideologically and fundamentally’ want the entire planet to conform to their vision.

            • The Murphey

              Q. Is that the basis for your warmongering position TRP ?

              Q. Old Mickey is that a direct threat to you ?
              Q. What about Al Qaeda what ever happened to that threat ?
              Q. What comes after ISIS Old Mickey ?

              Q. Nadis have you signed up along with TRP and OM ?

              • Old Mickey

                My perspective comes from having lived and worked in the ME for many years. I have seen things which still leave me terrorised. What I do know is that ISIS is a direct threat. Al Qaeda is still a threat, but specifically to the US.

                After ISIS ? At best, a new Arab outlook on supporting terrorist groups, the building of a peaceful Arab regime. At worst, another group will emerge, who will also need to be dealt with if they pose a threat to others. Radical Islam is a disease that needs to be cured by the rest of Islam. That curing can only happen when radical isalm is crippled – this is where we/the west come in. You cannot negotiate with ISIS< you cannot succeed with humaitarian aide.

                • The Murphey

                  Q. Is the extent of your thinking to offer clichés ?

                  Q. How old are you ?

                  Q. How about radical Jewery ?

                  Q. Extremist Christianity ?

                  Killing murdering and annihilating millions around the world

                  • Old Mickey

                    Q. Is the extent of your thinking to offer clichés ?

                    A. No, but seem to be most easily understood. Have studied religion in ME, and lived amongst it. Have read the Quran in Arabic, and Speak Arabic. First wife a muslim.

                    Q. How old are you ?

                    A. 53. 15+ years spent in ME in security roles. How old are you ?

                    Q. How about radical Jewery ?
                    A. HAvent witnessed radical or Hasidic Jews beheading Arabs or threatening to behead non-Jews. The day they do, I will be opposed to that as well.

                    Q. Extremist Christianity ?
                    A.Extreme anything is bad. Actually, after years of study Religion is at the root of all eveil. Maybe Christopher Hitchins had a point.

                    • Tracey

                      With all you have seen what makes you think the same methods which have not eradicated Taleban, or Al Qaeda (and have arguably seen the rise of Boko Haram) will succeed against ISIS (with our 100 troops)?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      A. 53. 15+ years spent in ME in security roles. How old are you ?

                      Are you fluent in Arabic?

                    • Old Mickey

                      Are you fluent in Arabic?

                      to CR –
                      I Was. Now not so much. Can still get by when needed.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      So knowing the lingo, you also know how much the ‘Arab street’ has despised the decades long western support of ME dictators and strong men? (As well as the Palestinian issue of course).

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  What I do know is that ISIS is a direct threat.

                  I fear you know jack shit.

                  You clearly don’t know that ISIS is being funded by the same countries that the US pays and arms with the most advanced weapons in the world. You clearly don’t know that a corrupt, sectarian, incompetent Baghdad regime supported by the US opened the doors wide to ISIS in the north of Iraq. You clearly don’t know that US support against Palestinians is one of the primary grievances in the ME. You clearly don’t know that the US (and Israel) encouraged, armed and trained Islamist groups. You clearly don’t know that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel would love to see ISIS continue to cause problems for Baghdad and for Iran.

                  And with that ignorance of ME history it’s no wonder you think the way that you do.

                  • Old Mickey

                    Don’t let your own fear blind you to the truth, howvere rest of your post is hilarious and would sit well in #tinfoil_hat#conspiracy#Pennybrightformayor#I’m_a_nutter
                    I have seen first hand how ISIS operate, and am gobsmacked at the lilly livered views held by a few.

                  • nadis

                    I think you need to a bit more exact with your language around who is funding IS. Rather than say in sweeping terms “ISIS is being funded by the same countries that the US pays and arms” why not say the truth.

                    Individuals from those countries – especially Saudi – are certainly funding jihadists but I don’t believe the states themselves are funding IS. The Saudi royals know exactly where they stand in the eyes of IS. Fund IS ( and the Saudis fighting for them) now, and sooner or later they’ll turn their attention back home.

                    A casual google finds plenty of references at odds with what you say.





                    I think you can also discriminate between what ius happening now and what was happening years or decades ago.

                    Can you provide any sensible links that show state financing of IS?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Can you provide any sensible links that show state financing of IS?

                      I’m happy to accept that ISIS funding isn’t currently coming out of state budgets per se, merely out of the pockets of prominent wealthy individuals associated with the state.

                      I would suggest however that in the not too distant past US federal money positioned against Assad has ended up funding ISIS fighters inadvertently and certainly also indirectly.

                      I think you need to a bit more exact with your language around who is funding IS.

                      Fair enough.

                • Tracey

                  so, Taleban… not defeated
                  Al Qaeda … not defeated
                  ISIS to be defeated by same means which didn’t defeat Taleban or Al Qaeda

                  According to John Key ISIS is a recent threat, when were you in the Middle east (and which country)?

                  • Old Mickey

                    A couple of stints in late 90s, and moved back to NZ 2 years ago.
                    Was based in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar. Worked in all parts including Palestine and Israel and Syria (still have two passports, as cant enter Syria if entered Israel). In my opinion, the west needs to act to encourage the Arab world to stand up to ISIS & AQ.

              • nadis

                Murphey: Er no, why?

                I am actually very conflicted on this. We should “do something” but I don’t really know what. I don’t have a solution. What do I think:

                – sending combat troops is a bad idea
                – sending humanitarian aid is a waste of time
                – peacekeepers, sure, if there is a peace to keep, but that’ll never happen
                – sanctions on IS – pointless
                – accepting refugees – no point. Will only ever be a drop in the bucket and do we need the stress of assimilating them? Bring in the Chinese instead, at least their terrorism is confined to Central Otago roads.
                – bitching about the US and UK “action plan” – pointless, let them at it. The whole place is already a clusterfck for fairly obvious reasons. The can’t make it worse, and at least they’ll get useful experience for when IS pops up iin the West.
                – I’m all for the UK soldier who managess to shoot Jihadi John in the head
                – I don’t want to see a NZer or anyone kneeling in the sand, waiting for theirr head to be cut off.
                – participating or not participating – doesnt matter. In the eyes of the stone age fundamentalist islamisist longing for a caliphate, we are all eventually for the chop, conversion or both.
                – those on the side of “keep out of a US/Israeli capitalist oil driven genocide” are happy clappy fools who think they can wish away bad things (like Israel for instance).
                – those on the side of “send in the troops and nip this sh*t in the bud” aren’t familiar with reality. (BTW I am in both camps).

                If I was John Key I’d like to think I would say “No” to troops in Iraq, but there are other factors in play as part of that decision. Politics is a mucky business which is why politicians – of all parties – tend to be mucky people and make mucky decisions.

                What would I do? – probably the best option is building a big wall around the middle east and airdropping supplies in to all factions. That’ll keep the arms manufacturers busy and the fundamentalists engaged.

                There is no solution to this. Israel is going to continue to exist. Saudi monarchy is going to continue to be brutally repressive against fundamentalists. The Shia/Sunni civil war will never end until one side is exterminated. Then the victors will eventually widen the theater to include the West and that includes NZ whether we participate or not in this Iraq adventure.

          • Old Mickey

            Colonial – read before you type. The fundamentalist approach followed by ISIS is directly from the Holy Quran, where in short (given you lack of interest in facts) says that all children in the World are born Muslim, and it is up to the real muslims to wage jihad to convert back or kill non-muslims.

            • Tracey

              “The previous bloodiest day in the uprising involved soldiers gunning down unarmed detainees freed in a 14 March 2014 attack on Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri city. Amnesty said then that satellite imagery indicated more than 600 people were killed that day.

              The five-year insurgency killed more than 10 000 people last year alone, according to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations. More than a million people are displaced inside Nigeria and hundreds of thousands have fled across its borders into Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.”



              ““It’s been estimated that 30,000 people have been killed,” she said. “We have 3.3 million people who’ve been displaced from their homes; they are in Chad and Cameroon or in Nigeria living as refugees. ”

              “Boko Haram have released a video purporting to show the beheading of two men, the feared group’s first online posting using advanced graphics and editing techniques reminiscent of footage from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).”

              Boko Haram have been actively terrorising and killing since at least 2009…


              So, it cannot be that we are trying to protect the innocent in Iraq from the impact of islamic terrorists, that is simply not plausible. So why?

              has anyone described the end strategy? How long before they expect “success”. What will they consider “success”? And why is training going to be a solution now when since late 2013 hundreds of Billions and expert training has been imparted?1

              • Old Mickey

                “So, it cannot be that we are trying to protect the innocent in Iraq from the impact of islamic terrorists, that is simply not plausible”

                Completely agree – this is not an Iraq issue. It is a bigger and direct issue for the rest of teh non-Islamic world.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  With the same old suggested solutions for the west. Bomb and invade the Middle East, support more dictators and military regimes throughout the region.

                • Tracey

                  yet you are advocating 100+ NZers can solve the problem in Iraq

                  • Old Mickey

                    I am advocating that NZ do the right thing. It is not an Iraqi problem, and that is not what is being targeted.
                    Will our tropps make a difference ? Yes. Will it solve the problem – alone, no.

                    • Tracey

                      the “right” thing… have you emailed Key and others to tackle the Boko Haram problem?

          • nadis

            Proposed IS caliphate defined here:


            Not so helpful if you live in Spain. Given the rhetoric, I suspect a proposed caliphate would also extend to Indonesia, Malaysia, Southern Thailand, parts of the Philippines, Western China and Bankstown in Sydney.

            ok? Not OK with that?

            I don’t have an answer to what is the right thing to do here. Not having kiwi soldiers die in Iraq is about all I can come up with.

            • Tracey

              Boko Haram defined here

              “”Boko Haram (“Western education is forbidden”), officially called Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (Arabic: جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد‎, Jamā‘at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da‘wah wa’l-Jihād, “Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad”), is an Islamist terrorist movement based in northeast Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.[9] The group is led by Abubakar Shekau. Estimates of membership vary between a few hundred and 10,000. The group has been linked to al-Qaeda and in 2014 swore allegiance to Islamic State and adopted its emblem and terminologies.[2][3][14][3]

              Boko Haram killed more than 5,000 civilians between July 2009 and June 2014, including at least 2,000 in the first half of 2014, in attacks occurring mainly in northeast, north-central and central Nigeria.[15][16][17] Corruption in the security services and human rights abuses committed by them have hampered efforts to counter the unrest.[18][19] Since 2009 Boko Haram have abducted more than 500 men,[20][21] women and children, including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014.[22] 650,000 people had fled the conflict zone by August 2014, an increase of 200,000 since May; by the end of the year 1.5 million had fled.[23][24]

              After its founding in 2002, Boko Haram’s increasing radicalisation led to a violent uprising in July 2009 in which its leader was executed. Its unexpected resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010, was accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, initially against soft targets, and progressing in 2011 to include suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja. The government’s establishment of a state of emergency at the beginning of 2012, extended in the following year to cover the entire northeast of the country, resulted in a marked increase in both security force abuses and militant attacks. The Nigerian military proved ineffective in countering the insurgency, hampered by an entrenched culture of official corruption. Since mid-2014, the militants have been in control of swathes of territory in and around their home state of Borno, estimated at 50,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) in January 2015, but have not captured the capital of Borno state, Maiduguri, where the group was originally based.[25]””


              Been killing and terrorising for many years and some claim with some complicity form parts of the Nigerian Government.

              • Dialey

                It seems no matter how often the issue of Boko Haram is raised, the Western club of nations just isn’t interested. Why is that? Isn’t Nigeria an oil producing nation? What makes the silence so deafening?

        • Murray Rawshark

          “The UN’s decades of “help/dipolomacy/humaitarian aide” have not achieved anything.”

          The UN has mainly run refugee camps and put in peacekeepers for the Zionists to kill. The decades of American and British interference and overthrow of democratic regimes is what has led to the present situation.

    • tricledrown 3.3

      Who’s buying the oil how come airstrikes haven’t wiped out supply lines(joking they have cut off most of the oil money confused).
      Whats now happening is money is being transfered via the internet.
      Plus all those billions the US stored in Baghdad that went missing.
      The Arms industry and Oil industry don’t want a solution as their profits will decline.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.3.1

        Keep the problem going so that the funding keeps flowing (hat tip to Bill Binney)

  4. heather 4

    Well said
    Key is going to war because he belongs to the club, he wants to impress and be noticed.
    New Zealand should be working in the refugees camps with the millions of displaced persons. The plight of these children is horrendous.
    New Zealand takes 750 refugees per year, we could consider taking more from the refugee camps.
    New Zealand should be acting in a peaceful manner, setting in example of peace instead of trying to join the big boys and supporting the sale of arms.

  5. “Not in our name” vigils…..5pm march 5th right?

    Bring a candle, write on a hunk of card board what you think of Key’s War Club and head to the centre if your town.

    Stand up while you still can.

  6. Economix 6

    An argument to do nothing because there is a lot of other bad stuff going on in the world…ISIS is bad, but not as bad as the Iraqi government…the Iraqi government is bad, but not as bad as the Syrian government, which is not as bad as the Israeli government…with the ultimate solution being to donate money to Lebanon’s refugee camps? Well that’s a new one.

    I could hazard a guess that with free reign, ISIS at some point will kindly (or probably not so kindly) move these refugee camps on.

    The Syrian government has been sanctioned no-end, however sanctions are impractical against ISIS for obvious reasons.

    I still don’t see any other option other than attempting to eradicate ISIS through the use of force.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      But what happens next after ISIS are destroyed? The last time the west used military force in the Middle East it did not work so well. In fact it created the current situation.

      • Karen 6.1.1

        Exactly, Mickey. The invasion of Iraq by Britain and USA, and their decision to support a corrupt, Shiite replacement government has created this situation.
        Why we would follow their lead, when they have already proved to have no understanding of the likely outcomes of their actions, is incomprehensible to me.

        Humanitarian aid and an increase in our refugee quota is the way to go.

      • crashcart 6.1.2

        Exactly. I know it is over used but the definition of insanity and all. Evey single time the west has interfeared in the Middle East there have been the worst possible outcomes including the formation of ISIL. So what is it these great thinkers come up with? More of the bloody same.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          In the Dmitry Orlov article above, he suggests that the US doesn’t take a winning position in these conflicts because the objective of the exercise isn’t to win these conflicts. In other words, “failure” serves the empire in other less obvious ways.

          • crashcart

            I get the US has no intention of making thigns better in the Middle East. I have recently returned from a deployment there. My comment is more towards regular members of the public who still continue to spurt out the line that to not take military action is to do nothing. They need to understand that often to take military action is worse than nothing.

      • Economix 6.1.3

        Hopefully once ISIS are destroyed, then Tracey’s suggestions at 6.4 can be allowed to happen. Not much point in rebuilding schools and other infrastructure, when there is the likelihood that ISIS is simply going to target these assets.

    • vto 6.2

      It has nothing to do with us though economix. Nothing to do with us in terms of what should be done. Nothing to do with us in terms of what is being done. Nothing to do with us in terms of anybody listening to us. Nothing to do with us in terms of any effect.

      Our voice at the table is non-existent. Our voice is ignored.

      So even though we have made it to do with us by sending a small contingent over there it is still nothing to do with us. We are but a fly on the wall. Complete waste of time which will only make us a target.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.3

      The Syrian government has been sanctioned no-end, however sanctions are impractical against ISIS for obvious reasons.

      Please name four “obvious reasons.” If you can.

      • Old Mickey 6.3.1

        1) ISIS is not an establish country in the tradional sense
        2) They have no borders to patrol or block trade activity
        3) they have no ambassadors or embassies or Government to receive details of the sanctions
        4) There are no sanctions that coudl have an impact on ISIS

        Please list 4 sanctions you think would work ?

        • Economix

          Thanks. Covered off nicely.

          CR, ISIS don’t operate in the mainstream i.e. all their activities are essentially undertaken via black markets which is why each and every sanction would ultimately be fruitless.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            They haven’t even tried.

            • nadis

              They have certainly tried. For instance Saudi Arabia passed a law in 2013 specifically criminalising financial support for terrorist organisations, proscribing in particular ISIS, Al-Nusra and Al Quaeda. The Saudi grand Mufti last year declared ISIS “Enemy Number One”.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          1) ISIS is not an establish country in the tradional sense
          2) They have no borders to patrol or block trade activity
          3) they have no ambassadors or embassies or Government to receive details of the sanctions
          4) There are no sanctions that coudl have an impact on ISIS

          Sorry mate none of that holds. Kim Dotcom got sanctioned without being a country in the “traditional sense”:

          – His websites shut down.
          – His bank accounts and assets frozen.
          – His ability to travel internationally finished.
          – Anyone who communicated or interacted with him targeted for action.

          To wage a war like ISIS requires a massive system of logistics and supplies. Thousands of shells and mortar rounds a month along with hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo.

          • Old Mickey

            Wonderful compariosn and example……
            Kim Dotcom is an individual, easliy identifiable, and of fixed abode. Kim, as an individual was charged with a crime, and as part of that process, (*to quote you)
            His websites shut down.
            – His bank accounts and assets frozen.
            – His ability to travel internationally finished.
            – Anyone who communicated or interacted with him targeted for action.

            Yet, he manged to fund a political party, try to buy an election to avoid extradtiion, buy his ex-wife a new white Audi Q7. So if these sanctions didnt work on KDC, how woudl you expect them to work on ISIS ?

          • Economix

            Come on CR, you can do better than that.

            Kim Dotcom wasn’t hiding his identity in the middle of the desert. I’m sure if Governments/Banks new the identities of those in ISIS then appropriate sanctions would be put in place i.e. freezing assets etc.

            “To wage a war like ISIS requires a massive system of logistics and supplies. Thousands of shells and mortar rounds a month along with hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammo.”

            It actually doesn’t CR. The strategy of ISIS has been to be far more brutal than those putting up any form of defence. ISIS has shown over and over that they are willing to behead at will, rape etc..which requires very little weaponry…however has the effect of clearing out the masses, as they rightly flee.

        • thatguynz

          1) Stop buying their oil
          2) Stop providing arms via intermediary “allies”
          3) Stop training their fighters
          4) Stop publicising their propaganda

        • Tracey

          The West could work to ensure that ISIS cannot get hold of weapons. That’s a kind of sanction.

        • KJT

          1) Stop all arms sales to any country in the middle East.
          2) Stop any arms being sent or taken to the middle East..
          3) Stop manufacture of arms and spend the same amount on humanitarian aid.
          4) Anyone who sends any more troops to the middle East, pouring petrol on the fire, is committing a war crime and should be charged.

          • nadis

            It’s fine and dandy to suggest those as options, but a more practical solution than those would be to go to second hand shops, buy old lamps, and rub them until an omnipotent genie pops out of one, and solves the middle east problems as one of your three wishes. That scenario is more likely.

            Your solutions will never happen, never work. Don’t even suggest them, you’re wasting your breath.

    • Tracey 6.4

      do you think sending engineers to rebuild and build and secure schools is doing nothing?
      tending to the wounded civillians and assisting hospitals (and setting up field hospitals) for the civilian population is doing nothing?

      Ever considered that seeing Westerners doing those kinds of things can win hearts and minds far quicker amongst the civilian population than killing their children by collateral damage?

      You have obviously given this some thought, so can you tell me what “success” will look like from this operation? Will we know we have succeeded or will it not be easily identified? How long do we think it will take? Why will our 100 succeed where hundreds of billions of USD and training since 2003 has failed?

      • nadis 6.4.1

        It’s never worked in the past in the ME. Sectarian attitudes are too entrenched, and with no rule of law, no functional government, no security, what can you build. Last time NZ tried to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan, 4 kiwi soldiers came home in coffins.

        In the early days of vietnam the US ran a program called WHAM (winning hearts and minds”, which eventually resulted in villages being relocated against their will to secure camps, but the green berets on the ground used to say “once you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow” – that’s honest at least.

  7. adam 7

    Not to sound like a war monger. But on September 11 2001 did not sections of the Saudi Establishment aid and abet in an attack on the USA? Now we see the same section of the Saudi establishment supporting another group in attacking USA/Western interests?

    Are we not at war with the wrong state maybe? Is this not a war, confused, because so called allies in the region – are in fact the enemy? The yanks, bless them, have massive blinkers on, on this one. As our friend (the USA) should we not remove those blinkers for them? Rather than act like idiots who buy alcoholics wine, expecting it won’t really hurt them?

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      Have you taken a look at the Dmitry Orlov piece above? It questions what the “interests” that the US is pursuing actually are. Spoiler: it’s not world peace.

      • adam 7.1.1

        Good read is that post – thanks Colonial Rawshark.

        I’ll carry the analogy on about buying alcoholics wine – it would seem a punch drunk USA – Is a very dangerous USA.

        One should always turn to cock-up theory at times like this. Whilst some may be engaged in conspiracy – their ability to succeeded in that conspiracy is always curbed by the fact – people will cock something up and make things worse.

    • saveNZ 7.2

      Under Charter Schools education system, maybe the US Military just took a wrong turn with their missiles – geography might not be their strong suite….. as is admitting their mistakes

  8. Colonial Rawshark 8

    Unless a competent, non-sectarian government is put into Baghdad, ISIS or something like it, will continue to foment in large areas of Sunni Iraq.

  9. vto 9

    John Key has pulled a swifty on us again.

    He claims to be only sending a small contingent of 140 over there, but the real plan has now become apparent and the deception completed…….

    …. turns out Key was always intending these 140 of our to join up with 200 Australians already there, total 340. And the final step being the announcement of an additional 300 Australian troops. Total now 640.

    New Zealand is not a small training contingent of 140 – it is part of a force of 640 with every weapon under the sun and about to take attack missions (it is amazing what can be deemed “training”).

    We have been duped by our own Prime Minister.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Yep it was clear that we were being lied to from the start. And we continue to be lied to.

    • Tracey 9.2

      Abbott got shafted too with Key announcing we were deploying with Australian troops before Abbott told his citizens…

  10. saveNZ 10

    It is not a war it is an occupation. The people of Iraq have nothing to do with it, they are pawns in the middle of a situation getting worse with each intervention of ‘security forces’.

    As with Afghanistan, the US and the club are just propping up corruption, incompetence and crimes by their appointed government and militias. Since the goal seems to be to steal the oil, that’s the US decision, but NZ does not need to participate, especially as it is escalating a religious war.

    If a military power took over NZ, starting bombing and killing NZ families and then put in overseas military and mercenaries that were going around (or financing) raping, pillaging, torturing and murdering locals, guess what, probably it will radicalise a lot of Kiwis to go about giving back the same medicine.

    As in Afghanistan, when the west never prosecute anyone for war crimes, and actually allow it and support it, under the name of western democracy, it is easy to see how this will make local people more determined to rid themselves of westerners.


    A confidential Canadian government report from 2007 warned that “allegations of human rights abuses by [Khalid] are numerous and consistent” and he was described as “exceptionally corrupt and incompetent” in a leaked US embassy cable.

    Human Rights Watch called on the Afghan government and its international backers to do more to hold the security forces to account. Despite meticulous documentation of many cases of abuse, there has not been a single prosecution for torture.

  11. wyndham 11

    There has been discussion lately about “30,000 Iraqi troops” that are going to retake Mosul. According to American sources, there will only be air (ie. bombing) assistance from the coalition forces.
    On the past record of Iraqi forces how does this seem remotely possible?

    Excellent post Micky.

  12. Heather Grimwood 12

    for Colonial Warshark…re Orlov…we were warned as young teens to “beware when depression hits U.S. for war and its boost to the internal economy will result.” I wonder whether once again window-dressing reasons be convenient diversions.

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.1

      Indeed…just look at the level of fear mongering western society has been living under for decades now.

  13. johnm 13

    Under Saddam Iraq was getting by despite 10 years of a medieval genocidal sanctions regime. It still had happy people living in it. The American U$ anglo invasion destroyed what was one of the most secular, prosperous advanced middle eastern states. It’s now broken beyond repair.
    Why would New Zealand besmirch its soldiers honour by joining the vulture throng to protect corporate U$ oil investments?
    I forgot we’re a member of the club!

  14. McFlock 14

    If a fair criticism, the Shia government thing might go some way to explaining Iran’s active involvement. Gotta love the Great Game…

    • Tracey 14.1

      Maybe instead of charging in, we could give weapons to the civilians (like they do in the uSA – except they sell them), you know, to defend themselves and their families.

      • nadis 14.1.1

        What do you mean by:

        we could give weapons to the civilians (like they do in the USA – except they sell them)

        That doesnt make sense and I am intrigued by what i think it might mean……

        In Iraq, even under Saddam, shortage of weapons in the hands of regular citizens was not an aissue. I’d guess weapons are even in less of a short supply now.

        • Tracey

          are you saying every mum and dad and child in Iraq has a military weapon to defend themselves?

          It was sarcasm

          • nadis

            Well yeah pretty much. Even under Saddam, every house had an AK47. I can only imagine in the last decade plus guns have become even more prevalent.

            What i was questioning in your comment was the “we could give everyone weapons like they do in the US”

            Cant see where the sarcasm is. sorry.

            By the way, even though the USA ranks number 1 in guns per capita (about 1 per person) the actual number of gun owners is closer to 30%. Iraq ranks about 6 or 7 in the world in terms of guns per capita.

          • joe90

            In 2003 they did.

            BAGHDAD, IRAQ — With a gun culture that closely resembles that of the United States, Iraq is one of the most heavily armed societies in the world. Its tradition of self-reliance and hard desert and mountain living puts it on a gun-per-person level rivaling other clan systems in Yemen or Somalia.


  15. Financial system=fraud. Money is printed out of thin air by a banking cartel.
    Financial system is collapsing so they need distraction.
    When they can’t fool humanity any more they take us to a hot war.
    John Key has a huge conflict of interest as most of his holdings are at Bank of America which is one of the banks on the verge of collapse.

    But hey, conspiracies. Neh! They would not do that to us never!! Our governments love us! In fact we are the boss of our governments! Conspiracies whoever comes up with such crap!

  16. Lee Paterson 17

    Dare I ask?
    What are the key performance indicators that confirm success in this endeavour?
    What is our exit strategy?

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