Oppose New Zealand Military Training Support to Iraq

Open letter on military deployment to Iraq

11 February 2015

To all Government Ministers and Members of the New Zealand  Parliament,

We strongly oppose the commitment of any military support by the New Zealand government to the war in Iraq and Syria, and are appalled by the Prime Minister’s use of the Gallipoli anniversary as a mantle to cloak a new deployment of combat troops to the Middle East.

The situation in Iraq and Syria is the direct result of the tragic history of western military intervention in the region, in particular the 2003 US-led military invasion of Iraq and subsequent brutal eight-year long occupation. The further involvement of western armed forces in the Middle East, whether in a training or combat capacity, will do nothing but bring more violence, killing and hardship to the peoples there. Military trainers will add nothing of value to peace processes in the region.

We advocate for the self-determination of all people, in this case the people of Iraq and Syria. Any solution to this crisis must come from them, with diplomatic support from the international community. As the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and others have stated, comprehensive solutions will only come about through an inclusive political process.

The Prime Minister’s assertion that the deployment of combat troops to Iraq is the price of membership in the exclusive Five Eyes “club” implicates New Zealand in atrocities and human rights violations committed by any of the states involved. This diminishes rather than enhances our security, and will make it more difficult to be an independent honest broker on the Security Council. Such a “club” is completely at odds with the government’s stated commitment to an international order based on respect for human rights.

If endless overseas military deployments are the price of membership of the Five Eyes “club”, which in any event is New Zealand’s most significant contribution to US and UK-led military interventions in other countries via the Waihopai Spy Base, then it is clearly not in our best interests and New Zealand must withdraw from it.

We call on the government to make a positive contribution to peace in Iraq and Syria:

· by providing non-military humanitarian aid to intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations working in the region, and in particular we call for the resources currently earmarked for military deployment to be transferred instead to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian assistance agencies; and

· by increasing support for diplomatic processes to bring about comprehensive and long term solutions to the crises in Iraq and Syria.

Edwina Hughes, Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa
Professor Kevin Clements, Director, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
Helen Kingston and Virginia Stocker, Golden Bay Peace Group
Mike Treen, Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Murray Horton, Spokesperson, Anti-Bases Campaign
Kevin McBride, National Coordinator, Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand
Elizabeth Duke and Elizabeth Thompson, Yearly Meeting CoClerks, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Haahi Tuuhauwiri
Pauline McKay, National Director, Christian World Service
Celine Kearney, President, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Aotearoa section
Chris Barfoot, Chair, Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust
Pania Lawsen, Hokianga Catholic Workers
Caroline Ongleo-Calub, Acting General Manager and Head of Peace Development, The Peace Foundation
Commander Robert Green RN (Ret’d) and Dr Kate Dewes, Co-Directors, Disarmament and Security Centre
Fr Peter Murnane, Waihopai Ploughshares
V. Jonathan Hartfield, Chairman, New Zealand Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
Richard Northey, Chair, International Affairs and Disarmament Committee, The Peace Foundation
Jess Murray, Otaki Women’s Peace Group
Dr. Teresia Teaiwa, Pacific Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
Professor Dr. Klaus Bosselmann, Director, New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
Professor Richard Jackson, Deputy Director, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
Associate Professor Annabel Cooper, Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work, University of Otago
Associate Professor Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Pacific Islands Studies, Te Tumu (School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies), University of Otago
Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem, Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland
Dr. Heather Devere, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago
Professor Murray Rae, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago
Dr David V Williams, Professor of Law, University of Auckland
Dr Pala Molisa, School of Accounting and Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington
Rosemary McBryde, Centre Administrator, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago

· Edwina Hughes, Peace Movement Aotearoa, tel 04 382 8129
· Helen Kingston, Golden Bay Peace Group, tel 03 525 9576 / 027 525 9576
· Professor Kevin Clements, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, tel 03 479 9468  / 021 2471103


About kevinclements2012

Short CV Professor Kevin P Clements. I am the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and Secretary General of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy. Prior to taking up these positions I was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia . I went to Queensland from International Alert where I was Secretary General from January 1999 to September 2003. International Alert is one of the world’s largest NGOs working on conflict transformation. It pioneered innovative policy and practical approaches to conflict prevention and transformation in Africa ,Eurasia and Asia . It has also made a major contribution to the mainstreaming of conflict prevention within European Foreign and Development Ministries, the EU and a variety of UN institutions. During his time there I was on the Board of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention and past President of the European Peace Building Liaison Office in Brussels. Prior to becoming Secretary General of International Alert I was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University Fairfax Virginia USA 1994-2000 and Director of the Institute from 1994-1999. My career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. I was, for example, formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra .Prior to this I was Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Coordinator of Peace Studies at Canterbury University, Christchurch New Zealand . My first academic position was as a lecturer in Sociology at Hong Kong University . I took up this position from a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University where I worked on development issues with Paul Streeten and others. I have been an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian , British , Swedish and Dutch governments on conflict prevention , peace, defence and security issues and advised the German Government and the OECD on States and Violence. I was, a member of the New Zealand Government’s Defence Committee of Enquiry in 1985 and I currently conducting Problem Solving Workshops in North East Asia with high level participants from Japan, China and Korea. Iwas President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) from 1994-1998, President of the IPRA Foundation from 1995-2000 and Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. I was Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association 2008-2010. I got my B.A, B.A Hon ( First Class) and Ph.D in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. and held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 1970-1971. I have been a regular consultant to a variety of non governmental and intergovernmental organisations on disarmament, arms control, conflict resolution, development and regional security issues and I have written or edited 7 books and over 160 chapters /articles on conflict transformation, peacebuilding, preventive diplomacy and development with a specific focus on the Asia Pacific region. Research Expertise 1. Peace Research Theory- Conflict and Conflict Resolution Theory . Preventive Diplomacy , Development and Peacebuilding 2. International and Regional Regimes-APEC, ASEAN, the ARF, ECOWAS 3. Political Sociology-International Organisations. Multilateral/bilateral negotiating processes. 4. Fragile States, Legitimacy and Political Hybridity 5. Alternative Defence and Security Policies-Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific region. 6. The politics and ethics of international humanitarian intervention 7. Altruism and Compassion In my spare time I like to paint with acrylics or pastels, go to the theatre, listen to classical music, visit art galleries etc!
This entry was posted in #NZ Politics, ANZAC deployment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s