Australia has outlined an increased military commitment to Iraq as part of the international effort to destroy the Islamic State. Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbot has stated that Australia’s mission has a “specific and clear objective” to fight Islamic State militants in an effort to drive them from Iraq. Mr. Abbott announced he will be sending 600 Australian personnel to the Middle East and that 200 of these troops will be sent to the United Arab Emirates within days.

The bulk of this initial 200 will undoubtedly be special forces soldiers and support staff who, at this stage, are being deployed as military advisors to the Peshmerga or the Iraqi armed forces. The follow-on force would consist of approximately 400 Air Force personnel, eight Super Hornet aircraft, an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, and an aerial refueling aircraft.

Mr. Abbott is still maintaining that Australia is “not deploying combat troops,” but rather “contributing to international efforts to prevent the humanitarian crisis from deepening.” The mission of our SOF has changed within a matter of weeks, however, with the initial mobilisation taking place under the pretense of protecting Royal Australian Air Force aircraft and crews, to now include the role of military advisors. Mr. Abbott has also been quoted as saying the Government would make “final judgment” about combat operations within a week or so.

Australia Increases Its Commitment to Destroy the Islamic State