Friday, 24 November, 2017

Australia outlines tough new measures against Islamic State

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivers a statement on National Security in the House of Representatives Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivers a statement on National Security in the House of Representatives
Melinda Barton | 01 September, 2016, 13:25

A 400-member Australian Defence Force air traffic group is conducting air strikes over the Islamic State group's strongholds in Iraq and Syria and a similar number of ADF personnel are training and assisting Iraqi ground forces.

'This legal risk posed a major challenge to the effectiveness of our operations.

"It meant that the ADF's targeting base in Iraq and Syria was restricted, and we could not operate as freely as our coalition partners".

Differences between domestic and worldwide law have restricted the country's role in the fight against the militant group, according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

He said the proposed law changes would allow the ADF to engage militants to "the maximum extent allowed by worldwide law" while soldiers would also be backed by "domestic laws" which would be brought into line in order to avoid confusion.

Canberra raised the terror threat alert level to high in September 2014, while parliament has passed new national security laws including cracking down on its nationals traveling to terrorist hot spots without a valid reason.

It was a "reasonable and conventional approach" adopted by the armed forces of Australia's key allies across the world. He said IS has the "ability to evolve" and Australian must stay ahead of the curve to counter terrorist activity.

"We must combat all of Daesh, including its financiers and propagandists", Mr. Turnbull told lawmakers, using the government's preferred term for Islamic State extremists.

The first objective should be to expel IS from its occupied territories and destroy "all of its pretensions to statehood".

"Far from sweeping across Europe to stable their horses in the Vatican, Daesh is now on the defensive, losing territory, resources and lives". "Many are expecting further attacks".

Home law now provides for the targeting of people playing an active role in hostilities - something Turnbull described as more restrictive than global law.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten indicated his party would support the proposed changes in the Parliament.

Mr Turnbull foreshadowed that Daesh will soon lose control of Mosul in the near future, saying that "when Mosul and al Raqqa are liberated we can start talking about the destruction of Daesh's so called "Caliphate".

While the ADF was able to target "Mad Max style vehicles" used by terrorists in Iraq, as well as infrastructure and headquarter positions, there was legal ambiguity when it came to "the factories where they make this equipment, where they cache their supplies, where they get the fuel trucks and the logistical element".

"Division begets division. It makes violence more likely, not less", he said.

He warned that "it is quite possible that the next mass casualty attack on Australian victims will be somewhere in Southeast Asia, where Daesh propaganda has galvanised existing networks of extremists and attracted new recruits".

"In the a year ago alone, there have been around 40 Islamist terrorist attacks against the West or western interests".

Legislation will be amended to allow Australian forces for the first time to target logistics and support personnel of the terror group in Syria and Iraq as well as its active fighters.