In September 2016 I wrote an article about why New Zealand should end its mission in Iraq. It stemmed from the knowledge that the nature of the war had changed from being about dealing with the sectarian mess post-Saddam Hussein to dealing with a militant group showing a contempt for human lives, but entirely the product of a security environment that neither the U.S. or Iraq had under control.
Now Minister of Defence, Gerry Brownlee is telling the media that there is scope for increasing New Zealand’s involvement in the conflict there.
My position is unchanged. New Zealand has no place whatsoever in that conflict, which has no clear outcomes. When it looks like a threat might be eliminated another one is allowed to pop up, thus ensuring a continuing cycle of war and fear. It has no United Nations mandate and – perhaps most importantly for New Zealand – is not a conflict we could have a meaningful input into. New Zealand should withdraw its forces forthwith, and bring them home.
Last, but not least, New Zealand has no strategic or economic interests to service by staying there. Our influence on the world stage does not extend to the Middle East, and we as a nation can better help with reconstruction programmes, teaching local communities how to build and maintain infrastructure.
Ask yourselves this: Who will gain in the Middle East from the expansion of our role in Iraq?
Not New Zealand.