Kevin Rudd is increasingly desperate to conscript Bashar al-Assad as an ally in his attempt to win the 7 September election. How else can one explain his increasingly strident remarks about Syria when Australia is both impotent and irrelevant when it comes to changing the Syrian regime?
Is Rudd willing to commit to a ‘coalition of the willing’ against Syria? Just like the coalition that invaded Iraq which Rudd himself condemned? The United States might well act unilaterally against Syria (the Russians will veto any move to declare against Syria in the Security Council). But they are not yet talking of ground troops, probably some bombing run.
Rudd says that the Australian Government has decided that the apparent chemical attack was conducted by forces loyal to Assad. Yet the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has urged the United States and other parties to allow time for UN weapons inspectors to complete their survey which, he said, would take another four days.
Doesn’t history repeat itself? The US and its coalition were criticised for attacking Iraq without sufficient evidence to support claims that it had weapons of mass destruction. Rudd condemned the war (albeit several years later – just before the 2007 election – I don’t recall him being critical at the time of the war).
Now the US might bomb Syria in advance of the UN weapons inspectors determining whether there had (1) been a chemical weapons attack and (2) determining which party was responsible for said attack.
And our caretaker Prime Minister is waving his arms around trying to sound the war drums even though Australia has no capacity or ability to join the United States in such a bombing raid.
Quo usque tandem abutere, Rudd, patientia nostra?