Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must not agree to any increase in Australian military involvement in the Middle East when he meets with US President Barack Obama in the Philippines today. Instead the Prime Minister must rule out any additional military contribution and outline a timetable for a speedy withdrawal.

The fact is that the terror threat Australia faces today is a direct result of Australia’s foolish involvement in Iraq since 2003, and more recent involvement in Syria. To add to that involvement, or even just continue it, will fuel the existing hatred of Australia and result in more terror attacks against Australians.

It is an undeniable fact that the Middle East has been deeply destabilised by the Iraq War, which we helped start, and by Western support for the Syrian rebels which included Islamic State. To stay involved will just make a bad situation worse.

What we should be doing is better understanding the reasons behind Islamic State’s hatred of Australia and dealing with the threat as an extremely serious criminal matter warranting a robust police and intelligence response. This is now more important than ever because Islamic State is morphing into a global operation and their countries of origin are becoming less relevant.

“What we certainly should not be doing is trying to wage an air and ground conventional war in Iraq and Syria. That’s exactly what Islamic State is hoping the West will do. Yes we may well blow things up and even hold ground there for some time, but this will just inflame the situation and ultimately be pointless unless we are prepared to be an occupying power in the Middle East indefinitely.

Now more than anything the problem in Iraq and Syria is a civil war. Resolving it must be left to those countries with the assistance of other Islamic Middle Eastern states.

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