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(Cartoon by @JohnGrahamArt)

Tony Abbott has committed Australia to boots on the ground in Iraq, which means Australia becomes a player in a foreign religious war, with all that implies, writes Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones.

For the average non-Muslim Australian – me for example – Sunnis were something you left behind at the beach and Shiite a word Tony Abbott used before ‘happens’.

The average non-Muslim Australian is about to become better educated in these matters.

In true Coalition tradition, this Government is off to war. Training the Iraqi army to fight ISIS. apparently, presented as a noble cause against the "death cult". Eight flags’ (all made in China) worth of emergency. Followed, presumably, by just a little mission creep.

The chaps with the knives, AK47s and concealed identities are certainly nasty pieces of work. They stone women to death and throw gays from the city walls. If locals don’t go along with enthusiasm, even if confected, then look out. It’s hard not to think an awful lot of people in the region wouldn’t rather see the back of them.

So it’s easy to present as a noble cause. There are other noble causes — Boko Haram for example, or Al Shabaab, which rape and pillage their way through undefended villages piling bodies in their wake. But we choose ISIS. Not as much oil in Africa.

Let’s hope our willing Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has read the go-to war philosopher Sun Tzu. Sun thought it a good idea for warmongers to know their enemies before they commit to folly.

An article in the Jordanian Times on 4 March 2015 noted:

“Islam is innocent” is an incomplete sentence. Introspection is needed, for, if we shy away from reality, the alternative will be more images like those we witnessed last Tuesday night, when brave Lt. Muath Al Kasasbeh was burnt to death in a cage.

The inconvenient truth that is overlooked or willfully ignored by apologists for the indefensible is the fact that Wahabism, the cult of mediaeval austerity founded by Ibn Abdul Wahab (1703-1792), has over the last half century been exported to every mosque and school throughout the Muslim world until it completely enveloped mainstream Sunni Islamic teachings.

Wahabism has entirely replaced, and become, Sunni Islam; the two cannot be told apart anymore….

….The orgy of decapitations in Syria over the last four years was promoted by very rich Sunni clerics such as Yusuf Al Qaradawi and Mohammad Al Uraifi, aided by the countless satellite stations openly calling for the murder of Alawites and Shiites, and financed by billions from extremely wealthy but hateful Muslims

No mention of Australia there.

….very few people know that while Muath was being set on fire in that macabre video, the voiceover was a recitation of an Ibn Taymiyah fatwa deeming the incineration of unbelievers a legitimate act of jihad.

Ibn Taymiyah is not some obscure scholar on the fringe of Sunni Islam. In the Sunni world, he is universally venerated with the title “Sheikh of Islam”, elevating him to an almost infallible clerical status.

Kev v the Sheikh of Islam. Is he up to it? Does the Coalition really understand what we are getting into?

Once we are in this with boots, the carrot of appeasement cannot be dangled. Australia becomes a player in a foreign religious war, with all that implies.

We started with a few jet fighters (like an old Holden they needed a run) and let’s hope no RAAF flyer needs to bail-out.

But boots are different.

The John Graham feature image for this piece may be purchased from the IA store.

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