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Three years on, has enough been done on Syria?

24 Mar 2014
AIIA Fellows responding to the burning question of the week.

Expert Panel-Fellows of the AIIA

HilaryCharlesworthHilary Charlesworth FAIIA-Professor, ANU; Director of Centre for International Governance and JusticeProfessorJocelynCheyAMJocelyn Chey AM FAIIA-Visiting Professor, University of Sydney; former Consul-General in Hong KongJamesCottonJames Cotton FAIIA-Emeritus Professor at the University of NSWRawdonDalrympleRawdon Dalrymple AO FAIIA-Former Visiting Professor, University of Sydney; Chairman of ASEAN Focus Group LtdGraemeDobellGraeme Dobell FAIIA-Journalist Fellow, Australian Strategic Policy InstituteErikaFellerErika Feller FAIIA-Former UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection
Janet_HuntJanet Hunt FAIIA-Former Head of the Australian Council for Overseas AidJamesIngramAOJames Ingram AO FAIIA-Former Diplomat and Head of the UN World Food ProgramJohnMcCarthyAOJohn McCarthy AO FAIIA-Former Ambassador to Japan, Indonesia, the United States, Thailand, Mexico and VietnamRobertO’NeillRobert O’Neill FAIIA– Former Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford UniversityGarryWoodardGarry Woodard FAIIA-Former Diplomat and Senior Fellow, University of MelbourneRichardWoolcottACRichard Woolcott FAIIA-Former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Question: Three years on, has the international community done enough on Syria? 

Rawdon Dalrymple AO FAIIA

Where Syria is concerned, and indeed where a number of other vexed issues are concerned, it makes at best only aspirational sense to speak of an “international community”. Australia cannot avoid having something to say on the Syrian issues because of our temporary membership of the Security Council. But it is very remote from our direct national interests and any views we might express are unlikely to carry significant weight.

Jocelyn Chey AM FAIIA

I think Moir’s cartoon in the Sydney Morning Herald says it all, really.  It shows the husband of a Syrian refugee family explaining to his desperate wife that the international community has united to find the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.  In a contrasting response to the Syrian crisis, the same international community has been unable to agree on common action.  As a result the crisis may well become a perpetual tragedy like the fate of the millions of Palestinian refugees.


Past Questions

March 14, 2014
Should we aspire to ‘a larger Australia’ in international affairs?

March 07, 2014
What are the implications of events in the Ukraine?

February 28, 2014
Do you support the Australia Network?


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