With the recent announcement that Britain will withdraw troops from Iraq, it looks like it might have a domino effect.
Over in the pacific rim, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has spent weeks lashing the Labor wing over its plan to begin withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq – only to have one of the original coalition war partners now prepare to withdraw its forces.
The opposition party has been pressuring Mr Howard to withdraw troops from Iraq prior to the British’s announcement. In early Feb 2007, Mr Howard attacked US Democrat presidential hopeful Barack Obama plans to withdraw troops in Iraq by March 2008 but I guess he will be singing a different tune with the withdrawal from Britain.
“The British position and our position is actually identical. That is that we believe that a withdrawal should be conditions-based, not time-based,” Mr Downer told ABC TV.
Australia currently has about 1,450 personnel in the Middle East, including about 900 inside Iraq. The Australian and British are overseeing the same area in Southern Iraq where violence is relatively low. The Australian troops rely on the British for help with medical evacuation and treatment.