Petition against going to Iraq

Andrea Vance is promoting a petition against sending troops to Iraq – Petition against sending NZ troops to Iraq gets support.

More than 9000 people have signed up to a “not in my name” campaign in response to the Government’s decision to send troops to Iraq.

Action Station director Marianne Elliott – a former human rights advisor at the UN Mission to Afghanistan – said the online petition had attracted support in its first 24 hours.

She said the Government has not made a case for sending 143 personnel to train Iraqi forces to battle Islamic State.

“Other options must be considered…the Government must consult Parliament and listen to the voices of New Zealand,” she said.

John Key has been speaking about this and listening (hopefuly) for the last six months.

That’s a sizable number but not huge. Action Station has had close links with Greens so the peition is likely to be well supported from that demographic.

She said international military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have previously failed “at very high cost.”

“If we have learned anything from recent military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan it must surely be, firstly, that we cannot ignore the broader political realities of the region in which we are acting. And, secondly, our military intervention have so far failed to eliminate the threat of terrorism.”

But another side of the story is included:

Elliott was speaking at panel discussion event at Parliament tonight. Also on the panel was British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair. Sinclair disputed her claim on Twitter, writing: “coalition air strikes stopped ISIL from threatening Baghdad in 2014.”

And another, this one representing Iraq.

Iraqi ambassador Mouayed Saleh, based in Canberra, addressed the Diplosphere panel, gathered in Parliament’s Grand Hall. He welcomed New Zealand’s contribution to the international coalition of 62 countries.

“We are obviously very happy to see New Zealand,” he said. The Government did not need ground forces, but wanted training, intelligence and technology.

Which makes this quite different from the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There would be opposition to involvement in war (and probably a petition) no matter what the circumstances.

But this canpaign is likely to be too little, too late.

Petition site: NZ Troops Going To War? #NotInMyName

In a recent Colmar Brunton survey, almost half of New Zealanders polled did not support sending Kiwi troops in a non-combat training role to Iraq, and yet today the Prime Minister announced that 100 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) staff would be sent to help Australia train Iraqi soldiers to combat Islamic State fighters.

Many New Zealanders do not believe the case has been made for military intervention. The risks, including the likelihood of ‘scope creep’, and benefits of sending troops have not been debated in Parliament and alternative forms of intervention have not been properly discussed – alternatives like providing humanitarian assistance, using sanctions to cut off the flow of funds to the Islamic State or providing support to Kurdish groups already successfully fighting them.

The bottom line right now is that the New Zealand Government does not have a mandate to send our troops in support of US military action. Public opinion in New Zealand is divided, our parliament has not been consulted, and the Iraqi parliament has not ratified a ‘status of forces’ agreement, which would offer official protection to our forces.

The situation in Iraq is complex and tragic, but the Government must consult Parliament, and listen to the voices of New Zealanders.

Tell John Key that he may be deciding to send troops to Iraq on your behalf, but he is not acting in your name. #NOTINMYNAME

Click here to read our National Director’s take on events.

“Dear Prime Minister John Key,

The decision to send New Zealand troops into Iraq may have been made on behalf of NZ, but it was made without a debate or vote in Parliament, without adequate discussion of the alternatives and without a clear public mandate.

If you choose to send New Zealand troops to Iraq now, in whatever capacity, you send them without my support and not in my name. The situation in Iraq is complex and tragic, but the bottom line right now is that you must consult Parliament, and listen to the voices of New Zealanders.

NB: Some people have reported trouble using our site. We are working on identifying and resolving the problem, but in the meantime, it seems to be only affecting people who have signed a petition with us before. If you find you can’t sign the petition and it just says “Saving” for a long time, simply sign out of your account (at the bottom of the page) and then you’ll be able to add your name. Hopefully we’ll have a permanent fix to this problem soon!

Will you sign?

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