FiveAA Australia’s Breakfast: New Zealand Report with Selwyn Manning. This week: Iraq’s foreign minister visits Auckland to formally request New Zealand to take part in the fight against Islamic State.
Iraq’s foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, will meet this morning (Friday Feb 13) with New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully. It is expected al-Jaafari will formally request New Zealand to commit soldiers to the fight against Islamic State.
In recent weeks, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has taken every opportunity to bring publicly justify his belief that New Zealand should play its part in defeating the Islamic State threat.
New Zealand Government wants Iraq to formally ask it for help. That request will satisfy New Zealand’s foreign policy, ease any international law concerns, and also comply with the Prime Minister’s view that NZ should stand beside the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia in this conflict.
The looming deployment will primarily be tasked with training, or mentoring, Iraqi troops. But the Prime Minister admitted this week that New Zealand SAS combat soldiers will also likely be deployed to provide “security” for the training contingent.
We understand New Zealand Defence scouts have been inside Iraq and have visited Taji base, north of Baghdad, raising speculation that NZ troops will be deployed to that sector.
Last week Britain’s foreign secretary Phillip Hammond also visited New Zealand and publicly stated that New Zealand was “family” and was needed to bolster the numbers of Australia’s training contingent that will be deployed to the conflict. Hammond clearly indicated that Australia would commit at least 600 soldiers, while the minimum needed was nearer 1000 personnel.
We can confirm, Kiwi soldiers are currently training for a deployment at New Zealand’s largest military training area, based at Waiouru. We also understand SAS combat units are also training for a probable deployment, but under strict secrecy.
(Ref. Here is a reference report by Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance. Also, here is an open source intel item published by ForeignAffairs.co.nz where Australia’s Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston discusses in detail Australia’s current military operations in Iraq.)
New Zealand Report was broadcast live on Five AA Australia and webcasts on LiveNews.co.nz and ForeignAffairs.co.nz. Recorded on 13/02/15 – Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/multimedia-investments-ltd