Australia Could Launch Military Action In Iraq Within Days

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Image: Mary Altaffer-Pool / Getty Images.

Australian troops could join air strikes on Islamic insurgent forces in Iraq just days after the paperwork is completed, foreign minister Julie Bishop says.

She told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday the government’s national security committee and cabinet will meet this week to discuss any air strike action but the legal framework for Australian involvement in Iraq should be finalised shortly, SMH reported.

“In Iraq we need to have a legal framework…we want to ensure that we can get the legal framework in place,” she said.

“I think it would be a question of days,” she said about finalising the framework with the Iraqi government.

The government is also expected to sign off on Australia’s Iraq deployment this week.

A legal framework would still need to be sorted out if Australia was to get involved in Syria. However the opposition has said it would oppose military intervention in Syria and Bishop has stressed the government believed it was important Australia’s involvement in the Middle East was bipartisan.

Bishop said, “should there be a request in relation to Syria, well we would consider it, we would also consider the legal framework that the US is relying upon in order to go into Syria, but we would make our own judgment about that”.

“Let’s take it a step at a time. We’ve been requested by the US and the Iraqi government to support efforts in Iraq. That’s what we’ve been considering, that’s what we’ve pre-deployed aeroplanes and our special forces for,” she said.

“Now Syria is another step, different considerations would apply. It would have to be a completely different discussion within the national security committee, within cabinet and presumably with the opposition.

Australia has deployed 600 personnel to the Middle East of which about 200 are reported to be military advisors.

There’s more here.

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