Tony Abbott: Australia needs more air strikes and military action against Islamic State

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Getty Images

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says Australia should increase its military presence in the Middle East in the wake of the Paris attacks, which killed more than 130 people.

Writing in The Australian today, the government backbencher agrees with French president Francois Hollande that Friday night’s attacks were “an act of war”.

“Islamic State cannot be contained; it has to be destroyed — because as long as it exists, the killings will continue. The more it grows, the worse the killings will become,” Abbott says.

The former PM says people should not engage with “those who always see Islam as the victim” and is blunt about the scenario ahead, saying:

As long as substantial swathes of the Islamic world believe in “death to the infidel”, there will be more terrorist outrages — especially with a caliphate urging susceptible people to believe that, somehow, God is on their side.

Abbott’s solution is war, arguing that “an understandable reluctance to accept military casualties abroad could easily lead to more civilian casualties at home”.

While outlining the actions he took while prime minister to boost Australia’s role in the Middle East and issues a rallying cry for governments both in the region and the West to band together to attack ISIS, and that also means relaxing the rules of engagement and ground forces.

He writes:

Preferably with Sunni states such as Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, as well as with the US, Britain and France, Australia should be prepared to contribute more to a military campaign to destroy this terrorist caliphate on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

This could involve less restrictive targeting rules for airstrikes and the deployment of special forces on the ground in support of local forces, similar to the 2001 campaign where the Northern Alliance defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Abbott says the upcoming G20 in Turkey should discuss creating a military coalition to deal with Islamic State.

You can read his views here.

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