Downer Signs Up To The Coalition Of The Unwilling
Australian troops and special forces will not join the United States in proposed military action on Iran, according to foreign minister Alexander Downer.
Of course, this is Downer speaking. Australian special forces may already be operating inside Iran, along with US troops, conducting sabotage and espionage operations, and paying off military units not to fight if the US goes to war, as they are widely alleged to have done in the months before the Iraq War officially began in March 2003.
The point is, if Australian troops were already engaged in such operations with the United States inside Iran, Downer's hardly going to admit it. Certainly not in the lead-up to an election.
Still, it's a substantial show of official non-support from Australia for the "all options (including nuclear attack) are still on the table" aggressive creed when it comes to Iran, from President Bush and the NeoCons.
From ABC News :
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has ruled out Australian involvement in any United States-led military action in Iran.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has been writing about the possibility of a US strike on Iran for the past 18 months.
Mr Hersh says US President George W Bush is now focusing on getting support from allies, including Australia.
Mr Downer says he does not believe America is planning to invade Iran, but if the US did pursue that path, Australia would not follow."We're not planning to get involved with any military action against anybody."
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Downer, like prime minister John Howard, must be feeling extremely nervous about all the talk from American NeoCons and Israeli extremists demanding Iran be bombed, and soon. Australia has more than 800 troops and support staff in the south of Iraq.
Iran would be expected to launch retaliatory strikes against US allies in the event of an attack, which would mean Australian forces, relatively close to the Iranian border, would presumably be targets for Iranian military and terrorist strikes.
UPDATE : 'Australia's Next Prime Minister', Labor leader Kevin Rudd, has announced he wants to haul the Iranian president before the International Criminal Court and have him charged for "inciting genocide" :
In a dramatic lift in diplomatic pressure on a bellicose and defiant Iran, Kevin Rudd has committed a Labor government to take "legal proceedings against President Ahmadinejad on a charge of incitement to genocide".
The Leader of the Opposition said the charge of incitement to genocide "could occur through the International Court of Justice on reference by the UN Security Council" because of Mr Ahmadinejad's public statements.
"They refer to statements about wiping Israel off the map, questioning whether Zionists are human beings and the recent abhorrent conference that he convened on the veracity of the Holocaust," Mr Rudd said.
"It is strongly arguable that this conduct amounts to incitement to genocide, criminalised under the 1948 genocide convention."
Rudd also said a Labor government would not support the use of military force on Iran, but would support further sanctions, and that diplomacy was the best way to deal with the issue of Iran's "nuclear ambitions".
Getting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the ICC on a charge of "inciting genocide" is never going to happen, and Rudd knows it. Despite the constant attribution of the quote "wipe Israel off the map" to the Iranian president, by supposedly accurate, fact-checking media like the Washington Post and the New York Times, Ahmadinejad never actually said those words.
Ahmadinejad did say he wants to see the "Zionist regime" of Israel deposed or "wiped away", which is no less inflammatory than the recent run of American NeoCons who've repeatedly stated they want to see the Iranian president's regime overthrown, violently if necessary, or the nation bombed at the minimum.
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