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Australian prime minister welcomes US “surge” in Iraq
Within hours of yesterday’s announcement by US President George Bush that an additional 21,000 troops will be deployed to escalate the war in Iraq, Australian Prime Minister John Howard held a press conference to announce his unqualified support. Bush had briefed Howard on his new strategy in a 20-minute telephone conversation on Wednesday and the Australian prime minister immediately assured him of Canberra’s backing. The Howard government’s position serves to underscore its direct complicity in the Bush administration’s war crimes in Iraq and the Middle East.
Bush’s new strategy defies last November’s mid-term election outcome which clearly expressed the will of the American people to end the war. The change of course represents a desperate effort to bolster the efforts of the American ruling elite to dominate the Middle East and its oil resources by increasing the violence and repression directed against the Iraqi people and by ramping up threats and provocations against Syria and Iran.
Howard’s intervention is aimed at reinforcing Bush’s cynical justifications for the US-led occupation and at providing some measure of international support to his isolated and beleaguered administration.
The “coalition of the willing” assembled by Washington in the lead-up to the invasion in 2003 has largely disintegrated. Countries including Spain, Italy, Japan, Holland, Ukraine, and Poland have withdrawn all or most of their troops and logistical personnel. Even Britain, Washington’s most important ally, has been gradually scaling down its forces, and according to London’s Daily Telegraph is set to withdraw nearly 3,000 troops by the end of May.