Tony Iltis

GLW author Tony Iltis

Hypocrisy reigns in International Criminal Court debates

An “extraordinary summit” of the African Union in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on October 11 and 12 took place without a threatened mass withdrawal of AU member nations from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The mass withdrawal threat was in response to the ongoing prosecution by the ICC of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto. They were elected in March this year while already facing charges for political violence after Kenya’s previous elections in 2007.

Bali duo fall victim to ‘war on drugs’

The impending execution in Indonesia of two Australian drug couriers — Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan – has focused Australian media attention on the horrors of capital punishment. Their lawyers, families and supporters, particularly artist Ben Quilty, have ensured that the two have been humanised.

Spinning terror to fuel racism

When 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein murdered two people in Copenhagen on February 15, and was killed in a shoot-out with police, the media and politicians across the world did not hesitate to declare that an act of terrorism had taken place.

US President Barack Obama immediately phoned Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to offer condolences and invited Denmark to take part in a February 18 summit in Washington to counter violent extremism, Reuters reported on February 16.

Other Western leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, responded similarly.

Who is defeating the ‘Islamic State’?

The self-styled Islamic State (IS) may be one of the few unifying forces in the Middle East.

A range of mutually antagonistic regional and global powers and non-state groups have joined the fight against them. While Western politicians’ pronouncements that the IS has declared war on the world are clichéd, they are echoed by the group’s own statements.

Ukraine: Kyiv, Russia sign shakey ceasefire

Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France emerged from negotiations in Minsk, Belarus on the morning of February 12, after 16 hours of talks, and announced that agreement had been reached for a ceasefire in Ukraine's civil war.

The conflict has divided Ukraine since the overthrow of the unpopular, but democratically elected, president Viktor Yanukovich in February last year.

US-led war in Middle East stumbles

Nearly four months in and the new US-led war in the Middle East is enjoying patchy progress at best.

At an official briefing at defence headquarters in Canberra on November 25, Australian Defence Force Chief of Joint Operations Vice-Admiral David Johnston said Australian-led air strikes Iraq the previous week had killed about 100 fighters from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Kurds drive back IS amid West's shifting alliances

“Iraq is our main effort, and it has to be, and the things that we’re doing right now in Syria are being done primarily to shape the conditions in Iraq,” General Lloyd Austin, the US commander overseeing the air strikes against Iraq and Syria told an October 17 Washington press conference.

However, the first significant victory against the official enemy in the latest US-war in the Middle East ― the ultra-violent terrorist group that calls itself “the Islamic State” (IS) ― is being won in the Kurdish town of Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Islamic State gives West excuse for war

“Things are looking positive and the wind is with us,” Major General Craig Orme, commander of Australian forces in the latest war in the Middle East, told AAP on October 11.

If the US-led military coalition has a strategy against its latest enemy, the terrorist gang that calls itself the “Islamic State” (IS), Orme was not revealing it.

“If they want to stay in one spot, we are very happy for them to do that,” he said. “We will just bomb them. When they do mass we will smack them and smack them hard.”

Iraq: West pushes yet another Crusade

On November 27, 1095, a speech by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont used allegations of the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land to launch a series of military adventures by the warrior aristocracies of feudal Christian Western Europe against the Muslim civilisations of the Middle East.

The ensuing two centuries of religious wars, or Crusades, were characterised by land-grabbing, plunder and the massacre of Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians.

Israel fails to crush Gazan resistance

Palestinians in Gaza took to the streets on August 26 in celebration. After 51 days of merciless bombardment by the Israeli military, an open-ended ceasefire between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel was announced that appears likely to last for at least the immediate future.

During the assault, homes, hospitals, shops, agricultural infrastructure and schools were pulverised. About 2100 Gazans were killed. An estimated 80% of these were civilians, including more than 500 children.

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