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The spectre of Iraq haunts Republicans

24 July 2015

Australian Institute of International Affairs

Polls show a clear majority of the American people say the US invasion of Iraq was not worth it. Research associate Tom Switzer explains why Republican policy on the war nonetheless remains fixed in 2002. Read article

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Did US withdrawal from Iraq leave a vacuum for Islamic State?

16 July 2015

ABC Radio National Between the Lines

Can the rise of Islamic State in Iraq be traced back to the US withdrawal? Research associate Tom Switzer looks at Barack Obama’s decision four years ago to withdraw all American troops from Iraq. Listen online

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Top officials warn that Iraq War could take another five years

5 June 2015

News Corp Australia Network

Australia's top defence official has agreed with senior US defence officials that the war against Islamic State could take another five years. Director of Alliance 21 James Brown says  that as the second biggest foreign contributor to Iraq, Australia should have more say in the overall strategy. Read article

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Iraq's woes stem from Bush

20 March 2015

The Age

Democracy meant that the majority Shiites became the new winners in post-Saddam Iraq; and the minority Sunnis the new losers, writes research associate Tom Switzer. Read more

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Looking back at the 2003 Iraq invasion

19 March 2015

ABC Radio National Between the Lines

Research associate Tom Switzer reflects on the wisdom of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and whether that mission sowed the seeds for the mayhem we’re seeing in the region a dozen years later. Listen online

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Tragic delusions

19 March 2015

The National Interest

Many supporters of the US's invasion of Iraq still refuse to acknowledge its ongoing impact on the nation today. Research associate Tom Switzer says neo-conservatives should abandon their foreign-policy fairy tales. Read article

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Keep the Aussies out of Iraq

5 March 2015

The American Conservative

The United States would be wise not to intervene in a fight against the Islamic State terror group that is, in reality, a sectarian dispute in the Middle East, says research associate Tom Switzer. Its ally, Australia, should be similarly reticent. Read article

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Abbott takes Islamic State's bait

3 March 2015

The Guardian

Before Australia's 2013 federal election, Prime Minister Tony Abbott had beceme a straight-talking skeptic of Western intervention in Iraq, says research associate Tom Switzer. A newly announced deployment of 300 troops to join the US-led mission shows contempt for the lessons of history. Read article

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US-led alliance can’t solve Iraq’s problems by waging war again

14 February 2015

The Australian

Barack Obama’s request that Congress authorise further action against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria has drawn criticism from the left and right. Research associate Tom Switzer says escalating the war will not solve the underlying problems of the region. Read article

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Western idealism is cruelled in the Middle East

6 January 2015

Sydney Morning Herald

It's been four months since President Obama set out to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, but as research associate Tom Switzer writes, the conflict has only revealed the intractability of a larger problem: Muslim sectarianism. Read more

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The case against the new Iraq War

27 November 2014

Quadrant Magazine

The mission to degrade and destroy the Islamic State terror group sounds like a noble and just cause, but the process of eradicating what is essentially a disparate group of Sunni militants is both complicated and fraught with the danger of unintended consequences, argues research associate Tom Switzer, in an essay originally published by American Review. Read article

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Is the cost of our symbolism worth it?

17 October 2014

ABC The Drum

Visiting scholar Adam Lockyer argues that any contribution Australia makes to US fight against the Islamic State terror group is largely symbolic. As such, Australians should consider whether the risk of being involved is worth the symbolism. Read article

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Have we learnt the lessons from Iraq?

30 September 2014

Sky News Reporting LIVE with Stan Grant

As Australia joins the United States in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, lecturer Malcolm Jorgensen discusses the lessons from the previous invasion of the region and what hope there is of a permanent solution. Watch online

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Abbott has not learned the lessons of Iraq

26 September 2014

The Lowy Interpreter

In a rare television interview, former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard recently reflected on his decision to commit Australia to the US's 2003 Iraq invasion. Lecturer Malcolm Jorgensen says current Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not learned from his predecessor's mistakes. Read article

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We can oppose intervention, even if the left agrees

22 September 2014

The Australian

Research associate Tom Switzer has found himself out of step with prevailing conservative opinion on the wisdom of the US-led mission against the Islamic State terrorist group. In this piece, he explains why he opposes the intervention. Read article

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Abbott commits 600 troops to war on ISIS at US request

14 September 2014

APN Newsdesk and INM

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has committed 600 troops to a US-led attack on the Islamic State terror group. Research associate Tom Switzer said the majority of Australians approved of the operation. Read article

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Abbott always faithful to US Marine Corps

13 September 2014

The Saturday Paper

US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a new bilateral "force posture agreement" at their White House meeting in June this year. It is unclear how much of the cost will fall on Canberra, but CEO Bates Gill expects Australia will pick up most of the tab. Read article

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New commitment in the Middle East could be a long one

12 September 2014

The Conversation

Plans by the United States to escalate its assault on the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria have received bipartisan support in Australia. Research associate Tom Switzer, however, is a critic of the action, saying Australia has no interest in the war. Read article

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Obama strategy fails on Sunni-Shia divide

11 September 2014

ABC The Drum

Barack Obama's failure to put the rise of Islamic State in the context of the broader Sunni–Shia dispute was a crucial, and revealing, oversight in his address, writes research associate Tom Switzer Read article

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Obama preparing to authorise air strikes to attack militants

11 September 2014

ABC News Online

Barack Obama has vowed to attack Islamic State militants "wherever they exist" in a speech laying out a strategy to strike against the Islamic State terror group. Lecturer Thomas Adams, however, says the lack of an endgame is cause for concern. Read article

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Unintended consequences could doom the latest US mission in Iraq

11 September 2014

The Australian

The new US-led mission in Iraq sounds like a noble cause. But research associate Tom Switzer warns the fight against the Islamic State terror group is more complicated than the war's proponents realise. Read article

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Ex-defence minister chides US on Iraq

10 September 2014

Australian Associated Press

Co-director of the Centre's Alliance 21 project Robert Hill said the United States' decision to outlaw the Iraqi Republican Guard and Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party after the 2003 invasion were mistakes. Hill was defence minister of Australia at the time of the invasion. Read article

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If blocked from returning home, where will Australia’s jihadists go?

9 September 2014

The Conversation

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to prevent Australians fighting alongside the Islamic State jihadist group from returning home. Visiting scholar Adam Lockyer and Macquarie University associate lecturer George Milad say when other nations have taken such action, the now-stateless terrorists took their fight to America, the West, and other targets. Read article

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Team Australia: Leader of the free world

5 September 2014

ABC The Drum

In pursuit of a values driven foreign policy, Australia isn't blindly following the United States, it's taking the lead. Visiting scholar Adam Lockyer says becoming an enhanced partner of NATO is only the latest example of an approach that has taken the nation far afield from its core strategic national interests. Read article

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Why we shouldn't rush back to Iraq

3 September 2014

ABC Radio National Drive

Have the lessons from the last war in Iraq been forgot by Obama? Research associate Tom Switzer discusses why America should be wary about overestimating the threat of IS. Listen online

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No good from a rush back to Iraq

2 September 2014

Australian Financial Review

Desires to end the killing of innocent people in Iraq are understandable, says research associate Tom Switzer. Nonetheless, he warns, there is a danger America's humanitarian mission will become a wider military one. Read article

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Why the West needs to fight the Islamic State

21 August 2014

ABC The Drum

Middle Eastern extremist group the Islamic State is the greatest threat to international peace and security since al Qaeda was at its deadly peak. Visiting professor Adam Lockyer and Macquarie University associate professor George Milad argue greater US intervention is the best available solution. Read article

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Obama's critics wrong about Iraq disaster

13 August 2014

ABC The Drum

Barack Obama's approach to the Middle East has been criticised by both the left and right. Research associate Tom Switzer says Obama's cautionary tactics in the Middle East did not create a strategic void allowing extremist Islamists to grow. Read article

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Iraq dominates AUSMIN talks

12 August 2014

SKY News AM Agenda

High-level Australian and American government figures are to meet in Sydney this week for the annual AUSMIN consultations. Associate professor Brendon O'Connor says that despite US desires to focus on Asia, events in Iraq will dominate the talks. Watch online

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Australia should not follow the US into Iraq mess

12 August 2014

The Guardian

Does the ouster of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki justify a more interventionist role in Iraq? Research associate Tom Switzer argues that instead of ending the moral and strategic catastrophe unfolding, an intensified US-led military effort could lead to big trouble for Washington and its allies. Read article

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AUSMIN talks set to take steps towards even closer military alliance

12 August 2014

ABC Radio AM

The 2014 AUSMIN talks are likely to draw Australia and the United States into an even closer defence relationship. CEO Bates Gill, however, says the US is unlikely to request military help in its campaign of airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq. Listen online

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America remains committed to Asia-Pacific

11 August 2014

ABC 7:30

In this interview, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reaffirms America’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and discusses on-going tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East. Hagel had appeared earlier that day at a roundtable co-sponsored by the US Studies Centre. Watch online

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How much further will US go in Iraq?

11 August 2014

ABC Radio Sydney

President Barack Obama's authorisation of air strikes against ISIS forces in Iraq has brought the US back into a region with which it thought it had ended its involvement. Research associate Tom Switzer looks at whether air strikes are only the beginning. Listen online

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AUSMIN talks get underway in Sydney

11 August 2014

ABC NewsRadio

The US intervention against ISIS forces in Iraq are one of the many topics to come under scrutiny at the AUSMIN talks taking place in Sydney this week. Visiting scholar Adam Lockyer says the US won't ask its allies to assist in the short term, but if the conflict drags on, that might change. Listen online

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AUSMIN convenes as US readies return to Iraq

11 August 2014

ABC News 24

The US secretaries of state and defense have arrived in Australia for the annual AUSMIN talks soon after President Barack Obama announced air strikes in Iraq. Adjunct professor Russell Trood examines how the Middle East security situation will play into the ministerial consultations. Watch online

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USA ramps up bombing campaign against ISIS

10 August 2014

ABC Radio National Sunday Extra

US President Barack Obama has authorised airstrikes in Iraq in defence of United States staff and refugees who are trapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants on the Sinjar mountains in the north. Research associate Tom Switzer looks at the roots of the situation leading to up to the US intervention. Listen online

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Obama authorises ISIS airstrikes

8 August 2014

ABC Radio National

US President Barack Obama has authorised targeted air strikes in Iraq to protect American personnel and Iraqi civilians, and help members of the minority Yezidis beseiged by ISIS militants. CEO Bates Gill discusses the ramifications of a US return to the Middle East. Listen online

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Obama recognised action had to be taken

8 August 2014

Bloomberg TV

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has been growing as militants from the extremist ISIS group take control of more territory. CEO Bates Gill discusses President Barack Obama’s authorisation of airstrikes in the country's north. Watch online

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Was the 2003 Iraq invasion a mistake?

21 June 2014

2GB Radio

Research associate Tom Switzer looks at the ongoing violence in the Middle East and says the lesson for Western powers from Iraq is that democracy is not an export commodity. Listen online

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US, Australia, Iraq, and the Asia-Pacific

18 June 2014

ABC News Breakfast

Iraq is the land of no good choices and China is responsible for the pivot, says Douglas Paal, the director of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Paal was in Australia for the Centre's Alliance 21 conference in Canberra. Watch online

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Map redrawn in blood

18 June 2014

The Australian

Former US ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry says the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the most catastrophic foreign policy mistake in the history of the US. Ambassador Eikenberry was in Australia for the Centre's Alliance 21 conference. Read article

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Today’s catastrophe springs from Saddam’s ousting

18 June 2014

The Australian

Explanations that seek to pin the sectarian conflict in Iraq on Western withdrawal from Iraq or inaction in Syria have merit. But research associate Tom Switzer says the true blame lies with the original invasion in 2003. Read article

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The "blameless Bush" crowd gets Iraq all wrong

17 June 2014

US News & World Report

Leading conservative commentators are trying to pin the present turmoil in Iraq on President Barack Obama's foreign policy. Research associate Nicole Hemmer, however, says the country's troubles have roots deeper than the current administration.  Read article

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ISIS advance will come to quick end

17 June 2014

ABC 7:30

The advance of ISIS militants in Iraq will be brought to a quick end while Afghanistan presents a big challenge to that country's next president, according to a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan. Karl Eikenberry was in Australia to speak at the US Studies Centre's Alliance 21 conference. Watch online

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Cantor, Clinton, and the crisis in Iraq

17 June 2014

ABC Radio Sydney

A shock defeat for a senior Republican, fresh turmoil in Iraq, and a new book from Hillary Clinton. Lecturer David Smith looks at the week in US politics. Listen online

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Bloodshed in Iraq puts US in focus

10 January 2014

Sky News

Iraq has experienced one of the bloodest periods in recent memory with Iraqi forces fighting a tough battle against Al-Qaeda in cities like Fallujah. Lecturer Malcolm Jorgensen looks at whether the US is to blame for the re-emergence of sectarian violence. Listen online

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Iraq's devastation outlasts Saddam Hussein

24 December 2013

Sydney Morning Herald

Ten years after the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured, day-to-day life in the Middle Eastern country is more dangerous than ever. Research associate Tom Switzer explains why the capture was not the turning point foreign policy hawks predicted. Read article

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Howard fails in his defence of road to war

17 April 2013

The Canberra Times

PhD candidate Malcolm Jorgensen analyses former Australian prime minister John Howard's presentation at the Lowy Institute defending the invasion of Iraq. Jorgensen says Howard's decision to commit Australia to the 2003 Iraq War was shaped by a shared sense of the American experience of vulnerability. Read article

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Blind allies of mass destruction

2 April 2013

The Sydney Morning Herald

Ten years since Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States invaded Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, there is little evidence that the leaders involved have learned any lessons from their mistakes. Quoting research associate Tom Switzer, Peter Hartcher says the war cost the US credibility and standing in the world. Read article

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Cost of Iraq War drains the US in race with China

20 March 2013

The Australian

Not only did the peace in Iraq prove far harder to win than the war, writes associate professor Brendon O'Connor, the conflict drained the US of credibility, resources and energy. Now even those who opposed the war have to live with its consequences, while America's main global competitor, China, rises inexorably. Read article

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"Fawlty Towers" in Mesopotamia

19 March 2013

The American Conservative

Ten years after the US led coalition forces into Iraq, Iran has expanded its influence on the region and human rights are on the wane. The lesson of the war, says research associate Tom Switzer, should be that Jeffersonian democracy cannot be rolled out like Astroturf. Read article

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Iraq's lesson for America

19 March 2013

ABC The Drum

Twenty years ago, the US was a global hegemon, write Centre research associate Tom Switzer and founding editor of the National Interest Owen Harries. But it's decision to invade Iraq ten years ago did not only have tragic consequences for the Iraqi people, it has also seriously tarnished US prestige and credibility across the globe. Read article

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Who benefited from Iraq?

18 March 2013

ABC Radio National Late Night Live

This week marks ten years since America invaded Iraq. The terrible consequences for Iraq are not in dispute, but what has America or any other country gained? Research associate Tom Switzer joins Robert Fisk from The Independent and Martin Chulov of The Guardian to discuss the war's legacy. Listen Online

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The cost of Iraq

18 March 2013

ABC TV The Drum

American foreign policy was changed forever when the coalition of the willing invaded Iraq ten years ago, but the conflict left a legacy around the world that is still being felt today. Associate professor Brendon O'Connor looks at the mark left by the war. Watch Online

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Ten years of war in Iraq

17 March 2013

ABC Radio National Sunday Extra

It is 10 years this week since Australia joined the 'coalition of the willing' and invaded Iraq, in what became a highly contentious conflict. Research associate Tom Switzer joins ANU professor Hugh White to discuss the contested legacy of the war. Listen Online

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Saddam a tyrant, but war was wrong

15 March 2013

The Lowy Interpreter

Australian forces played an honourable role in the war in Iraq and helped depose a murderous dictator. Nonetheless, says research associate Tom Switzer, they should never have been sent there in the first place. Read article

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Legacy of Iraq invasion lives on

15 March 2013

ABC 24 Planet America

It led to the ousting of brutal dictator Saddam Hussein but the invasion of Iraq 10 years ago has also plunged the country in a state of seemingly perpetual violence. Research associate Tom Switzer looks at the impact of the war around the world.  Watch Online

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Iraqi farce reeks of dead pigeons in the water tank

15 March 2013

The Age

The US-led invasion of Iraq ten years ago this month has resulted in Iraqi deaths in the hundred thousands, coalition casualties in the thousands, and a country still beset by internal conflict, repression, and terrorism. Only John Cleese's Basil Fawlty could see the bright side of this situation, says research associate Tom Switzer. Read article

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10 years on from the War in Iraq

7 March 2013

ABC Radio Australia Connect Asia

Nearly 10 years on from the US-led invasion of Iraq, it's a war that seems almost forgotten by many Australians. Research associate Tom Switzer looks at how the Iraq of today differs from the vision of country that advocates of the war imagined after the American intervention. Listen Online

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Iraq, ten years on

7 March 2013

The Spectator

March 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the United States' war on Iraq, and some neoconservatives still stand by their support of the invasion. Research associate Tom Switzer looks back at the debate over the past decade and why, even in 2003, he opposed the war. Read article

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Obama gets real with appointment of new defence secretary

9 January 2013

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Once upon a time, realism in foreign policy was the domain of the Republican Party, says research associate Tom Switzer. But the opposition to Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary, is indicative of how the national security positions of the two major US political parties have reversed since 9/11. Read article

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Lapdog theory a flawed view of US alliance

19 July 2012

The Australian 

Critics of Australian military deployments on the left and the right frequently cast the country as a sycophantic subordinate taking orders from its more powerful American ally. Associate professor in American politics Brendon O'Connor and Macquarie University professor Lloyd Cox argue that this view lets Australian politicians off the hook for freely taken decisions and that Australia has often been more eager for war than the US. Read article

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