President Trump is putting peace in the Middle East, such as it is, at enormous risk and Australia must caution him, withdraw Australian troops in Iraq and, above all, not be drawn into what could be a long and disastrous war with Iran.
Ongoing retaliation following Trump’s assassination of Iran’s Major General Qassim Suleimani is bound to escalate the conflict.
Yesterday 22 missiles were fired at Iraqi bases housing US troops and Israel is threatening devastating consequences if Iran carries out its threat to hit Israeli cities. Meanwhile Trump-the-unpredictable, is now threatening Iran’s cultural sites and wants tough sanctions imposed on Iraq. His ‘strategy’ is clear to no one.
The Iraqi parliament has called for all NATO troops to be withdrawn and the US and Australia should respect that and follow Germany, Croatia and Canada in doing so. Troop safety cannot be guaranteed and their presence is now more than ever provocative.
Australia has 350 defence force troops in Iraq and 2000 support personnel – part of a NATO operation there to ‘defeat the Islamic State’. Most Australians soldiers are training Iraqi security force troops there.
Further reading from the NY Times
photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press