News World Australia could ramp up involvement in Middle East: PM

Australia could ramp up involvement in Middle East: PM

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Australia could play more of a role combatting terrorism in the Middle East after deadly attacks in Paris, says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull condemned the violence and described the attackers as “mass murderers” and “barbarians”, who committed the “double crime” of defaming Islam.

“Ultimately, there has to be a political solution. The military angle is very important, it is very important that Daesh [Islamic State] is confronted and defeated militarily,” he told ABC’s Insiders from Turkey where he is attending the G20 summit.

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He said Australian peacekeeping forces “could be” sent to Syria in the future, but that forces drawn from the region would be more effective.

Mr Turnbull was set to meet with Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and other G20 leaders on Sunday night for a working dinner focused on the Syrian crisis and countering violent extremism.

The Prime Minister told reporters he agreed with French President Francois Hollande, who has cancelled his G20 attendance to deal with a state of emergency, that the crisis resembled a war.

“It’s guns and bombs – yes it does look like a war,” Mr Turnbull said.

Eiffel tower paris attacks
Famous Parisian landmarks, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, were closed indefinitely following terror attacks in the country’s capital. Photo: AAP

There will be no change to terror alerts in Australia – currently on high – due to the events in Paris.

US President Obama arrived in Turkey on Sunday afternoon for the G20 summit. On Friday night, he addressed reporters at the White House declaring the violence “an attack on all humanity” and “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”.

He vowed to provide assistance to France and work with other countries to “go after any terrorist networks”.

Mr Obama says the United States will work with France to hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice.

“France will not let itself be overawed, even if today it is expressing an infinite amount of emotion at this drama and this tragedy which was an abomination and a barbaric act,” he said.

‘Strong steps are necessary’

On Sunday, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “very strong steps” need to be taken against Islamic State in the Middle East.

Appearing on The Bolt Report, Mr Abbott discussed the need for strong government policies to combat ISIS – not dissimilar to those implemented by his government.

He described the attacks as “dreadful, dreadful atrocities” that showed tight border protection was necessary.

The comments were made after it was revealed that a Syrian passport found by police at the scene of the mass shooting in a Paris concert hall belonged to an asylum seeker who registered on a Greek island in October.

“We confirm that the Syrian passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Nikos Toskas, the minister for citizen protection, on Saturday.

Last month, Mr Abbott urged Europe to close it borders to asylum seekers or risk imperilling their nations.

Trump spins Paris attacks

Flowers paris attacks
Flowers were placed in bullet holes at a memorial site outside of the Carillon bar, in the 10th district of Paris, for victims of the attacks. Photo: Getty

Mr Abbott’s comments followed bizarre statements from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who used the attacks to condemn Mr Obama.

“President Obama said ‘ISIL continues to shrink’ in an interview just hours before the horrible attack in Paris. He is just so bad! CHANGE,” he wrote.

“We need much tougher, much smarter leadership – and we need it now.”

A day later, Mr Trump managed to connect the horrific attacks with the gun debate currently going on in the United States.

“When you look at Paris – the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris – nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody. Nobody had guns,” he told supporters at a rally in Texas on Saturday.

“I’ll tell you what. You can say what you want, but if they had guns – if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry – it would have been a much, much different situation.”

See a video of Mr Trump’s comments below

-with ABC, AAP


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