Australia to assist U.S. led coalition against Islamic State

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet at the 2013 Avalon Airshow. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

President Barack Obama announced that Australia has committed to send military aircraft and advisors to join the U.S.-led International Coalition.  The group’s goal is to target and defeat Islamic State insurgents in Syria and Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal reported Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Australian Defence Force would deploy aircraft to the United Arab Emirates.  In addition, it will prepare a special operations task group to act as military advisers.  Abbott has received a formal request from the U.S. government to contribute to the coalition.

Australia has raised its terrorism alert to its second highest level, concerned terrorist acts may occur on their home soil.

According to New Europe Online, Abbott said his government will join the United States, Britain, Canada, France and Italy in delivering rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and assault rifle ammunition at the request of the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

It is also likely eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker and Transport aircraft will be deployed.

“Australia will place Australian Defence Force personnel in the U.S. headquarters to ensure close coordination with our alliance partner and to support planning and logistics” as well, Abbott said.

About 60 Australians are thought to be fighting for Islamic State or other terrorist groups, “and another 100-or-so supporting these extremists,” said Abbott.

“While we understandably shrink from reaching out to these conflicts, the truth is that these conflicts reach out to us,” Abbott said.  “None of us want to get involved in another Middle Eastern war, but it is important to do what reasonably can be done to avert potential genocide.”

New Europe Online reported that the Australian government warns that the Islamic State movement poses an unprecedented domestic terrorism threat. It has proposed tough new counter terrorism laws and announced it is ready to spend $590 million for intelligence, law enforcement and border protection agencies.  The spending will be budgeted over the next four years.

Abbott did not believe Australia’s increased military involvement in Iraq would increase the possibility of domestic terrorist threats.

“There is a certain type of terrorist organization that hates us not because of what we do, but because of who we are and how we live,” he said. “And who we are and how we live I hope will never change.”

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