Thursday, November 29, 2007

Australia joins the coalition of the disappearing

Kevin Rudd, Australia's new prime minister, doesn't appear to be wasting any time divesting his country of links to George W Bush's Iraq fiasco.
About 550 Australian combat troops in Iraq should be withdrawn by about the middle of next year, Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd said on Friday, setting a broad timetable for the soldiers to return home.

Australia has about 1,500 troops in and around Iraq, but Rudd won power at the Australia's national election on November 24 with a promise to bring frontline forces home.

"The combat force in Iraq we would have home by around the middle of next year," Rudd told Australian radio.

This is not a complete withdrawal however. What Rudd is talking about is pulling the Overwatch Battle Group (West) out of Tallil Airbase and removing the roughly 100 trainers out of various locations around Iraq.

What isn't mentioned is the Australian component of the Combined Explosives Exploitation Cell which works on countering improvised explosive devices along with US and British members.

It also looks like three C-130 Hercules transport planes and two P3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft will remain along with a permanently established frigate in the Persian Gulf.

It will be worth watching.

No comments: