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HomeWorldAustralia Cancels Citizenship Of Woman Labelled ISIS Terrorist

Australia Cancels Citizenship Of Woman Labelled ISIS Terrorist

On February 16, Turkish authorities announced that a
26-year-old woman, Suhayra Aden, was captured with her two
children while crossing the border from Syria. Turkey’s
Defence Ministry said she was wanted as an alleged Islamic
State (ISIS) “terrorist.” The three will likely be
deported to New Zealand, where the woman has

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
told the media: “This individual was clearly most
appropriately dealt with by Australia… that is the place
from which they departed for Syria.” She added: “New
Zealand frankly is tired of having Australia export its

Aden travelled to the war-torn country in
2014 on an Australian passport. She was a dual New
Zealand-Australian citizen, and had lived in Australia with
her family since she was six years old. The Australian
government cancelled her citizenship last

Responding to Ardern, Australian Prime Minister
Scott Morrison declared that, under anti-democratic laws
passed in 2015, any dual citizens who “engaged with
terrorist activities” are “automatically” stripped of
their Australian citizenship. Morrison made no comment on
what this would mean for Aden’s children, aged five and
under. He described Aden as an “enemy of our country”
who had “fought with terrorist organisations.”

fact, Aden has not been convicted of anything and the
allegations against her remain unproven. The Australian
Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) pointed out: “The Turkish
government has in the past labelled as terrorists people who
merely lived under Islamic State and did not participate in
fighting or actual acts of terrorism.”

travelled to Syria as a teenager and lived there under ISIS
during the brutal war aimed at overthrowing the regime of
Bashar al-Assad. She reportedly married and had three
children with two Swedish men, who were both killed in the
war. One of her children died of pneumonia.

The growth
of ISIS in Syria was the product of intervention by the
United States and its allies, who provided weapons and other
support to Islamist “rebels” who were fighting to topple
Assad, including the Al Qaeda offshoot Al Nusra. Foreign
fighters were allowed to flood into Syria, including from
Libya, where they had been supported by the US and NATO in
2011 to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. The Syrian war has
left at least 500,000 people dead and 6.5 million

Successive Australian and New Zealand
governments, as minor imperialist allies of Washington,
supported the war against Assad. They had previously sent
troops to the illegal US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, aimed
at securing US dominance over the resource-rich Middle East
and central Asia. More than a million people have died in
these wars and entire societies have been destroyed, with
tens of millions made homeless.

Australia redeployed
troops to Iraq in 2014 to support the US occupation of the
country and military operations against ISIS fighters who
had crossed into the country from Syria. New Zealand also
sent troops to Iraq in 2015.

Aden and her children are
among thousands of people, from many parts of the world, who
have been detained after escaping from the horrors of war in
Syria. Clark Jones, a criminologist at the Australian
National University, told Radio NZ the detainees include 67
Australian women and children, including “around 34”
children aged six years and under.

ABC reporter Dylan
Welch, who spoke with Aden during a visit to the Al-Hawl
refugee camp in northern Syria in 2019, is quoted in the NZ
Herald saying: “She explained how worried she was, not
only for herself but mainly for the kids. She was terrified
she was going to lose the baby.” Aden’s children were
suffering from malnutrition and dysentery.

The refugee
camp in the middle of the desert houses about 70,000 people,
including 10,000 former ISIS supporters.

ruling elite, which has some of the world’s most draconian
anti-refugee policies, is now seeking to wash its hands of
any responsibility for the fate of its citizens caught up in
this humanitarian disaster. The decision to abrogate
citizenship violates the basic democratic rights of Aden and
her children.

New Zealand’s Ardern feigned sympathy
for the children, telling Newshub: “If we are thinking
about the wellbeing of the kids, then surely we’d think
about making sure this person was repatriated to the place
they had family, and that place is

However, the Australian and New Zealand
governments have known that the three joint citizens were in
the Al-Hawl camp at least since 2019, when Ardern and
Morrison first discussed the issue. Nothing was done by
either government to assist them, despite the immense
dangers facing people in the camp.

New Zealand has one
of the lowest refugee intakes in the world, at just 1,500
people per year. Successive NZ governments have collaborated
with Australia’s abusive system of offshore detention of
asylum seekers.

Ardern’s decision to publicly
denounce Canberra for “exporting its problems” has
nothing to do with humanitarian concerns. Australia and New
Zealand are close allies and trading partners, but the
economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has
produced conflicts between the two

Significantly, Ardern’s rebuke follows
comments by Morrison on February 1 criticising New
Zealand’s close trading relationship with China, which has
overtaken Australia as New Zealand’s number one trading
partner. Morrison called for New Zealand to “stick
together” with the US and Australia, which are
increasingly preparing for war against China.

At the
same time, as the latest episode shows, the ruling class in
both countries is stoking nationalism to divert growing
anger over attacks on workers’ jobs and living

Ardern’s Labour Party government is
seeking to channel opposition to the long-term erosion of
the rights of about 600,000 New Zealanders living in
Australia. Under changes made to Australian legislation in
2001, those who migrated to Australia after that date have
few means to apply for citizenship. They can be deported
easily and are ineligible for welfare payments and
disability support, regardless of how long they have lived
in Australia.

New Zealand’s government and
opposition parties have hypocritically denounced
Australia’s policy of deporting NZ citizens, many of whom
grew up in Australia, for criminal offences, including minor
crimes. More than 2,000 people have been sent back under the
hardline policy since 2015. New Zealand’s media has blamed
the deportees for the growth of criminal gangs.

Zealand, however, has similarly brutal anti-immigrant
policies. Last year, for example, the Ardern government
deported a paralysed Tongan woman despite warnings from
doctors that she could die. During the COVID-19 pandemic,
the government barred thousands of temporary migrants from
accessing welfare payments for nearly a year, while New
Zealand’s border closure—one of the harshest in the
world—has resulted in thousands of work visa holders being
stranded overseas and unable to

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