Prime minister Tony Abbott is reported to have been the instigator in the US request for Australia’s assistance in the fight against IS in Syria.
According to Fairfax Media, it was not a random call from the White House which prompted talks on whether Australia’s RAAF would drop bombs on Syria – Abbott reached out first.
Abbott and US president Barack Obama discussed the possibility of Australian air strikes in Syria during a telephone call in July reportedly initiated by Abbott who had called his American counterpart to offer sympathies over the Chattanooga shootings.
Fairfax reports that government circles say Abbott has long been keen fight the IS in the Middle East.
Fairfax Media asked Defence Minister Kevin Andrews who initiated the discussion about possible Australian air strikes in Syria and whether the US request came without Canberra’s prompting.
A decision on Australia’s involvement in Syria will be made in the next week or so.
The development follows calls from former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr, who has said Australia has a moral obligation to join airstrikes in Syria.
“The West has really got a moral obligation to act where it can be argued there’s a chance of saving civilian populations from the mass atrocity crimes that seem to follow very quickly when ISIS takes control of territory,” he said on the ABC this morning.
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