Australians for War Powers Reform says Labor must not support US strikes across the Middle East

February 7, 2024
B-1B bombers take off from Dyess Air Force Base on February 2. Still taken from a Wikimedia video

The Anthony Albanese government should withdraw its public support for the latest United States air strikes on Iraq and Syria, according to Australians for War Powers Reform (AWPR).

“The attacks on 85 targets, without a United Nations Security Council Resolution, are a gross breach of international law,” spokesperson Dr Alison Broinowski said on February 6. She said they could lead to a regional war.

“The governments of Iraq and Syria have criticised the US military action as a violation of their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Sadly, these views have hardly been reported.”

Broinowski said if United States President Joe Biden really does not want conflict in the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world, he “could readily prevent it”.

AWPR said Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles “has foolishly offered Australian support for the bombing raids, despite the fact that they breach the UN Charter”.

It said the US military forces in Syria are an illegal occupying force. The US military have been deployed to Iraq despite that country’s parliament passing a resolution calling on the government to end all foreign troop presence.

“In recent days, the Iraqi Prime Minister has repeatedly called for US troops to be withdrawn,” Broinowski said.

AWPR said US support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza has provoked the assaults on its forces in Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

Broinowski said Labor “is failing to uphold its legal commitment under Article 2 of the United Nations Charter with respect to the settling of international disputes by peaceful means”.

She said that it is unclear how involved Australia’s Defence Forces are in the latest attacks, and that Australians have a right to know.

Australia’s involvement in military attacks against the Houthis in Yemen “also appears to be a breach of international law”.

AWPR is calling on Labor to “comply with both the spirit and the letter of the UN Charter", “honour its commitments under the Genocide Convention”, pressure the US “to end the illegal strikes in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and to obtain a permanent ceasefire in Gaza”.

It wants ADF personnel to be “removed from positions which may be involved in illegal activities associated with the US military” and for Parliament to be provided with “a full account” on “Australia’s support for and involvement in the illegal, or potentially illegal, military activities in the Middle East”.

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