Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015



The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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News Corp Australia

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News Corp Australia



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TUESDAY JANUARY 6 2015 WORLD 11 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Kurdish troops to regain control. But theyre not great soldiers: Given the poor track record of the local troops and their largely incompetent senior commanders, this is likely to take a very long time. The question is how long the international community is prepared to wait for the Iraqi government and security forces to get their act together. The consensus remains it is in our interests to reduce the threat to international security posed by IS (but) it seems we are in for yet another drawnout struggle with few winners. Maps depicting the current IS strongholds in Iraq are remarkable for the fact they follow no clean battleline logic. They are all over the country, beneath, adjacent to or above so-called Iraqi and Kurdish strongholds. The US-led coalition appears to lack the reliable intelligence to bombard supply routes and it is clear that IS is being assisted from within Iraq by Sunni extremists. And this is without considering what is happening in Syria, from where the IS creature declared its caliphate in July. According to the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the coalition has vastly underrated ISs temporary partner in Syria, the al-Qaedaaligned Jabhat al-Nusra. The ISW warned in a December report that Jabhat al-Nusra, or JN, was no less dangerous than IS and had developed into a expanding threat both to the West and to the future of Syria. JN is affiliated with the Khorosan group, which is deeply disappointing to find that Iraqs politicians and its huge military machine were incapable of containing a bunch of reasonably wellorganised thugs. There is no doubt coalition air strikes have reduced the ability of IS to move freely and carry out large-scale operations, but theyve come a bit late. If the international community had reacted more quickly to the advance of IS across northern Iraq, the use of overwhelming air power might have proved decisive while IS forces were in the open and vulnerable to attack. Now we have a situation where IS targets are few and fleeting. Cantwell says the air attacks have reduced IS boldness and given some opportunity for Iraqi and It seems we are in for yet another drawn-out struggle with few winners Major-General John Cantwell Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Kobane after an airstrike, and (insets) pro-Iraqi government fighters take on Islamic State in Yathreb, and a convoy of Islamic State vehicles and fighters in Iraqs Anbar Province, and (opposite page) an Australian FA18 Super Hornet jet. Pictures: Getty Images, AFP, AP, Gary Ramage C O V E R S T O R Y C O V E R S T O R YEXTRA pursuing global terror ambitions on behalf of alQaeda. JN shares the IS ambition of creating a caliphate but its strategy is to attack the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. So far, JN and IS tolerate each other because their enemies are mutual. But JN is playing a clever game, winning the hearts and minds of Syrians who like neither IS nor the coalition. While all attention has been on IS, JN is positioning for what it hopes will become, after the fall of Assad, both a caliphate and the worlds first al-Qaeda-run country. JN is engaged in a nuanced state-building effort in Syria targeted to secure the long-term establishment of sharia law in a post-Assad state, says the ISW. It warns the US-led coalition must neutralise JNs campaign to influence the population. This requires engagement with opposition forces, not simply air strikes against JN. That means boots on the ground, foremost in Syria, to take out IS, JN and whatever is left of the government of Assad. Many argued this was what US President Barack Obama should have done two years ago. But with no plans by the US to throw its troops into another ground war, and Turkey standing back, the policy of slow containment from the air will continue. You cant have a conventional war on one side and a guerilla war on the other, says Mark Lax. I would think they need boots.