Abbott denies claims about unilateral mission to Iraq
It has been reported by The Australian that Tony Abbott requested advice on November 25th 2014 about a unilateral mission to Iraq in order to combat the Islamic State.
The goal was to send 3500 soldiers in order to fight, and when suggested to military planners, they were shocked that Abbott would put forward a mission without assistance from the United States or NATO. They concluded that a unilateral mission would be disastrous.
Since the news broke, Abbott has denied claims that he ever planned a unilateral mission to Iraq. In Darwin, he spoke to reporters, “We do not act unilaterally in the Middle East.”
Several of the Prime Minister’s supporters jumped to his aid, including Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. Cormann said that the statements were taken out of context, stating, “My advice is the journalist who wrote that story actually never put that proposition to the Prime Minister’s office when seeking comment.”
— Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) February 20, 2015
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister was asked about the prospect of sending troops to Iraq. A spokesman for Mr Abbott responded: “The Prime Minister has consistently said that the Australian government will continue to talk to the government of Iraq and to our coalition partners about what Australia can usefully do to make the world a safer place and to make Australia a safer country.”
Clive Mathieson, the editor for the Australian, has told Fairfax Media that the news organisation stands behind the article 100%, “The Prime Minister’s office was alerted to our questions verbally on Thursday afternoon and in writing on Friday morning.”