More info: NZ & ISIS

By next month, we could be at war. [1] The NZ government will soon make a decision about whether the country will join the American-led fight against extremist group Islamic State (IS).

PM John Key has said: "We need to engage with our partners and others to consider - if New Zealand was to make a contribution, what would actually be useful, practical and work … The country has a large range of options when it came to dealing with ISIS, from humanitarian support to diplomacy and military options”. [2]

As part of the response the Government is considering making to IS, Ministers will also be looking at “urging tighter passport controls, as well as other anti-terrorist measures.” [3]

ActionStation members care about making the world a more peaceful place. But what does that mean we should do in this particular case?

Some of us feel that the ethnic cleansing and attacks on innocent people by IS must be stopped at all costs - that if we don’t take action now, the consequences will be huge. Others say this is history tragically repeating itself. Airstrikes will kill civilians as well as terrorists. Is any military action in Iraq just plain wrong?

Some ActionStation members think our existing laws are more than strong enough (fighting alongside IS, for example, is already a criminal offense), and are concerned the Prime Minister is using threats of terror to get New Zealanders to accept expansion of security controls and surveillance powers. What do you think?

Our government faces a tough choice, but having the views of thousands of ActionStation members in front of them will mean they make a better decision. We have the power to influence this decision - but we have to move very quickly, so can you help decide what we should do together?

Let us know what you think we should do by filling out this survey or sending an email to laura@actionstation.org.nz

References:

[1] http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/256335/key-signals-is-decision-next-month

[2] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11341133

[3] http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/256735/cabinet-to-look-at-terror-laws-today


 

This is a complicated issue, and it’s going on thousands of miles away, so it’s hard for any of us to fully understand all the facts. But here’s some background information to help you make up your mind:

This is a comprehensive explanation of who IS is, by the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/16/world/middleeast/100000003117046.mobile.html?_r=0

The United Nations has said Syria and IS are committing war crimes:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/27/syria-isis-war-crimes-united-nations-un

Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, has backed action against IS:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/arab-backing-to-us-led-airstrikes-in-syria-widens-front-against-islamic-state/2014/09/23/85664a44-430c-11e4-b437-1a7368204804_story.html

Stop the War Coalition and others argue America’s attacks on Isis may help Bashar al-Assad keep his regime alive:
http://www.stopwar.org.uk/news/syria-air-strikes-america-s-attacks-on-isis-may-help-bashar-al-assad-keep-his-regime-alive

Organisations like Amnesty are getting together to protect Syria from IS’s human rights abuses:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/syria-new-call-39-organisations-civilian-protection#.VCFtJq10vgs.twitter

Barack Obama is to press the UN security council to pass a resolution that would impose travel bans on IS fighters:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/21/barack-obama-united-nations-foreign-fighters-ban-isis

Here are some articles about NZ's intervention in Middle East:

Graeme Edgeler (Public Address): Terrorism is already illegal
Vernon Small (Stuff): Key mulls air support in IS fight
Claire Trevett (Herald): 'Odd' if NZ shunned Isis fight: Key
Brendan Manning and Amy Maas (Herald): PM still considering NZ's role in Isis fight
David Farrar (Kiwiblog):Air support sounds okay

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