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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Proscription of Hizballah: a change in the UK and how Australia compares

The United Kingdom has expanded its proscription of Hizballah from just the military wing to include the whole organisation, effective from 1 March 2019. The Home Secretary stated that he hoped Australia and New Zealand would be listening carefully, and that he would raise the matter at the Five Eyes ministerial to be held in the UK later this year. This FlagPost outlines the bans in place in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK, the UK Government’s rationale for the recent change, and the Australian Government’s response. Read more...

Creeping Normalcy: boots are already on the ground in Syria and Iraq

Almost three years after the first US operations against the Islamic State commenced in Iraq, the US footprint in Iraq and Syria continues to grow, though the contributions of its allies largely remain static. There are now in excess of 5,000 US troops in Iraq, and close to 1,000 in Syria. Reportedly, the Trump Administration is also set to abolish the troop caps officially set by the Obama Administration (5,000 in Iraq and 500 in Syria), enabling even larger deployments.  Read more...

Security arrangements in Afghanistan from 2015 and beyond

While the foreign military presence in Afghanistan continues to decline, the number of civilian casualties is on the rise. By the end of 2014, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will take full responsibility for security across the country when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission comes to an end. A much reduced foreign military presence will remain in Afghanistan post-2014 and despite warnings anticipating increased threat levels from 2015–2017, the existing force of 352,000 ANSF personnel are expected to be reduced to 228,500 by the end of 2017—as agreed at the 2012 Chicago Summit. Read more...

WTO rules Chinese rare earth minerals export limits breach the GATT 1994

In March 2014 a Panel established by the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that export controls on rare earth mineral put in place by China contravened the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT).  Read more...

Australia, the United States and China: the debates continue

The Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington, where he urged the Americans to continue their ‘pivot to Asia’, occurred at a time when a range of other voices across Australia is expressing diverse thoughts on how Australia might further adjust its symbiotic relationships with both the US and China. Read more...

Israel-Palestine: Why the peace talks failed

As the dust settles after the collapse of the latest round of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, the way forward is unclear. Both sides lay the blame on each other for the failure, and an anonymous US official has been quoted as saying the willingness of US Secretary of State John Kerry—who brokered the talks—to continue his efforts ‘depends on the sides' willingness to show seriousness’.   Read more...

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