Our 300 diggers to help 'ultimately destroy' ISIS
THE fight against ISIS will be bolstered by hundreds of Australian troops who will land in the Middle East from May, to help train Iraqi soldiers who are on the front line against the militant "death cult".
These 300 new troops will be on top of the 170 Special Forces soldiers already in Iraq, although that first contingent is expected to return in September.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the ultimate goal was to have Australian troops training Iraqis for the next two years, with the mission status reviewed in 12 months time then again at 24 months.
There is not a specific target for the troops to achieve, aside from improving the skills of the Iraqi forces.
"I want to stress that we haven't taken this decision lightly," Mr Abbott said.
"Ultimately, it is Iraq that must defeat the death cult but we do not want to leave the Iraqis on their own."
When asked if this would mark the final "escalation" of Australia's role in the conflict, Mr Abbott said the challenge was to "disrupt, degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS.
"We've already seen the attack on police in Victoria, the Martin Place siege, the prevented attack in Sydney," he said.
"All of these were inspired by the death cult.
"I don't want anyone to underestimate the problems that would be caused in a diabolically volatile part of the world should Daesh consolidate its hold on the territory it already occupies and form a kind of ongoing terrorist state in the Middle East."
The Australians will join the "Building Partner Capacity" alongside contingents from New Zealand, United States, Spain and the British Isles.
The US has committed 3000 troops, Spain is sending 300, New Zealand will dispatch 140 and the UK will make "a modest contribution", Mr Abbott said.
Italy, Germany and the Netherlands are also contributing forces.
300 Aussie diggers to train Iraqi forces to fight ISIS
AUSTRALIA is poised to expand its military role in Iraq, with Federal Cabinet approving a plan to send another 300 soldiers to help train forces fighting Islamic State militants.
Some 200 Australian special forces are already in Iraq helping train Iraqi government forces.
Now Federal Cabinet has agreed to send up to 300 more troops as part of a joint training mission with New Zealand.
The plan will be put to the Coalition party room today.
The move was flagged last week by New Zealand prime minister John Key, who told his country's parliament that more than 140 New Zealand troops would be sent to Iraq as part of a new deployment alongside Australian personnel.