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History of and Australia’s Involvement in the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria: Discursive Essay

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Question: Outline the history of and Australia’s involvement in the war on terrorism in Iraq and Syria?

The new war on terrorism in Iraq and Syria has been a long and complex battle with multiple enemy forces, who are most often indistinguishable from civilians. Australia has engaged in this war on terrorism due to varying alliances with a multitude of Nations. Australia’s level of support for the war has varied throughout the years and recently has diminshed due to the decline of Islamic Fundamentalists such as ISIS and the Taliban. This has brought the war on terrorism almost to a close within recent months.

The war on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria has been congealed by the presence of Extremist Islamic Fundamentalists such as the Taliban and more recently (and more specifically to this war) ISIS which have been growing in strength since 1999. The beginnings of the Islamic State in the middle east began with the corroboration of two leaders, namely Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and Osama Bin Laden (who was the leader of Al-Qaeda at the time.) Bin laden funded Zarqawi to begin a training camp called The Organisation for Monotheism and Jihad which after a few years and a multitude of rebrandings it became known as the Islamic state.[footnoteRef:1] Their aim as Islamic Fundamentalists was to have a centrality of the Islamic religion in government and society and they will use violence if necessary, to implement this ideology. “And slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter… and fight them until fitnah is no more, and religion is for Allah.”[footnoteRef:2] It is this section within the Quran that is one of the main passages exploited by Islamic fundamentalists as justification for their extremely grim acts. These include the slaughter of innocent civilians as well as a multitude of offensives to capture land in Iraq and Syria. It was such acts that prompted the United States of America to intervene against the extremists on 15 June 2014.[footnoteRef:3] [1: History of ISIS, Since 911, Cambridge, Viewed on 1/4/19, https://since911.com/explore/history-isis#jump_time_item_540] [2: The Holy Qu ‘Aran 2:191] [3: Department of Defence Authorises War On Terror, U.S Department of Defence, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/603569/]

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Australia’s involvement in the war on terrorism, known as Operation OKRA, began in August 2014 to aid the U.S led International Coalition to Counter Islamic State[footnoteRef:4]. This was in part due to Australia’s participation in a multitude of treaties, such as ANZUS[footnoteRef:5], which is a military alliance originally concerned with the Pacific Region, as well as, more broadly AUSCANNZUKUS (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.) Then later, on the 9 September 2015, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared that Australia would increase its commitment to the Coalition by sending military planes to Iraq as well as expanding into Syria.[footnoteRef:6] This included a mid-air refuelling plane which is the KC-30A tanker and an airborne early warning plane known as the E-7A Wedgetail.[footnoteRef:7] In terms of Australian Troops in the war on Terror, there are three main Groups in Iraq and Syria Fighting Against the extremists. The first and most numerous is Task Group Taji (TG Taji) with approximately 300 personnel stationed to it. Positioned northwest of Baghdad, it is a non-combative role in which their main goal is to train local Iraqi soldiers to help them to become more efficient and ultimately take responsibility for their own nation’s security.[footnoteRef:8] The TG Taji became fully operational in May 2015 and is a joint venture with the New Zealand defence force. Another facet of Australia’s Personnel involvement in the war on ISIS is the Air Task Group (ATG) with 150 Australian’s stationed there. They are responsible for the aircraft mentioned above primarily the KC-30A and the E-7A wedgetail and have been instrumental in the Coalition’s airborne offensive on ISIS. Moreover, 80 of Australia’s most elite soldiers have been stationed to the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) who are engaging in combat against these Islamic extremists. The SOTG has completed three rotations coming predominantly from the 2nd Commando Regiment since their initial deployment in September 2014. However, much of their activity throughout the course of the war remains classified as “Defence will not comment on the movement of personnel in the Middle East or the conduct of activities of the SOTG for operational security reasons.”[footnoteRef:9]

More recently, the war on ISIS and extremist Islamic Fundamentalists has been coming to a close with Daesh militants losing territory and dominance in recent months. Australia would have played a large role in this decline as they are one of the most present coalition nations in Iraq and Syria. Currently, ISIS has lost all of their territory and strongholds once held within Syria and are on a downward slope with their presence in Iraq[footnoteRef:10]. This decline in the extremist’s power has been somewhat due to Australian intervention most obviously seen with the achievements of the SOTG. In conjunction with the Iraqi troops trained by TG Taji the SOTG has seen the destruction of some 50 ISIS strong holds, the seizing of 16 heavy machine guns and a multitude of improvised explosive devices[footnoteRef:11]. They, furthermore, with the collaboration of the ATG have authorised more than 150 air strikes on the Islamic Extremists. These achievements of the Australian Defence Force prove the pivotal nature of Operation OKRA so far on the war against terrorism. [10: ISIS Fast Facts and Timeline, CNN, Viewed on 3/4/19 https://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/08/world/isis-fast-facts/index.html] [11: Australian Defence Force support to Iraqi Forces in Ramadi, Department of Defence, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://news.defence.gov.au/2015/12/31/australian-defence-force-support-to-iraqi-forces-in-ramadi]

In summation, Australia has been involved in the war on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria in a multitude of very effective task groups which have been instrumental in bringing the dimunition of the presence of Extremist Islamic Fundamentalists such as ISIS. The war began with the United States’ decision to intervene encouraging Australia to become involved through a multitude of treaties. The Australian Defence Force is contributing over 600 personnel to the war currently within three main task groups. Operation OKRA has been critical in the fight on the extremists and is most likely to conclude shortly due to the diminishing power of Daesh.

Bibliography

  1. History of ISIS, Since 911, Cambridge, Viewed on 1/4/19, https://since911.com/explore/history-isis#jump_time_item_540
  2. The Holy Qu ‘Aran 2:191
    1. Annotation: I chose this source as it is the holy quaran the religious text for the religion of islam. It therefore is a first hand source and therefore give an insight in to the Islamic religion and way of thinking.
  3. Department of Defence Authorises War On Terror, U.S Department of Defence, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/603569/
    1. Annotation: I chose this source as it was published by the department of defence of the Australian government thus making it a legitimate and reliable source to determine the Activities of Australian soldiers in Vietnam.
  4. Syria: Australian Military Operations, Parliament of Australia, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1718/SyriaMilitaryOps
  5. The Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty (ANZUS Treaty), 1951 , Office of The Historian, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/anzus
  6. Syria: Australian Military Operations, Parliament of Australia, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1718/SyriaMilitaryOps
  7. Operation Okra, Air Force, Viewed on 3/4/19 https://www.airforce.gov.au/operations/middle-east/operation-okra
  8. ISIS Fast Facts and Timeline, CNN, Viewed on 3/4/19 https://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/08/world/isis-fast-facts/index.html
    1. Annotation: I selected this source as it is from a reputable news source CNN. It also gave me a good general background on the events of the war on terrorism and the organisation of ISIS.
  9. Special Operation Task Group, Australian Department of Defence, Viewed on 3/4/19 http://www.defence.gov.au/Operations/Okra/SOTG.asp
  10. Task Group Taji, Australian Department of Defence, Viewed on 3/4/19 www.defence.gov.au/operations/okra/TaskGroupTaji.asp
  11. Australian Defence Force support to Iraqi Forces in Ramadi, Department of Defence, Viewed on 2/4/19 https://news.defence.gov.au/2015/12/31/australian-defence-force-support-to-iraqi-forces-in-ramadi

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History of and Australia’s Involvement in the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria: Discursive Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/history-of-and-australias-involvement-in-the-war-on-terrorism-in-iraq-and-syria-discursive-essay/
“History of and Australia’s Involvement in the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria: Discursive Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/history-of-and-australias-involvement-in-the-war-on-terrorism-in-iraq-and-syria-discursive-essay/
History of and Australia’s Involvement in the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria: Discursive Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/history-of-and-australias-involvement-in-the-war-on-terrorism-in-iraq-and-syria-discursive-essay/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
History of and Australia’s Involvement in the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Syria: Discursive Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/history-of-and-australias-involvement-in-the-war-on-terrorism-in-iraq-and-syria-discursive-essay/
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