Mindful of the divisive debate over the Iraq war in 2003, Mr Abbott told parliament on Monday the government had properly weighed up the risks. "Many Australians are understandably apprehensive about the risk of becoming involved in another long and costly conflict in the Middle East," he said. "Doing anything involves serious risks and weighty consequences.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the government also needed to ensure Iraq set up a unity government in coming months and that Australia denied the opportunity for its citizens to join the extremists and return home with terrorist skills. "We should not confuse empty jingoism and aggressive nationalism with steady decision-making," he said.
Admitting he had not spoken with the Abbott government, Iraq's ambassador to Australia Mouayed Saleh suggested the guns should go through the central government in Baghdad rather than the Peshmerga. "We are not saying they shouldn't have weapons, it just needs to be organised and coordinated with the central government," he told Sky News.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has moved to ease public fears Australia could rush into a new war in Iraq, but warned the Islamic State "death cult" needs to be stopped.
The principles included a clear and achievable overall objective, a proportionate role for Australian forces, a proper risk assessment and an overall humanitarian objective. "Like President Obama, Australia has no intention to commit combat troops on the ground.
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