Man flies flag of the Islamic State
Man flies flag of the Islamic State

Abbott 'up to his eyeballs' on Obama's ISIS plans

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott is "up to his eyeballs" in American moves to engage in further military action against the Islamic State in Iraq, according to a leading analyst.

Counter-terrorism expert Professor Joe Siracusa, from RMIT University in Melbourne, told APN it would only take one military plane shot down before ground troops would be sent in.

United States President Barack Obama on Thursday vowed to find and attack ISIS militants "wherever they exist" in a special live broadcast speech, but that he would not send ground troops to attack ISIS directly.

However, in announcing further air strikes on ISIS-held outposts in northern Iraq, and Syria, President Obama also said he would send another 475 ground troops to "train local forces".

But Prof Siracusa said if some of those training troops were killed, or a US plane was shot down during air strikes, it was "only a matter of time before war begins".

He said there had already been "150 air strikes" and Mr Obama had already engaged Australia, Jordan, Saudis, Turks and the British, in what he called "a new Coalition of the Willing".

"The campaign is already well underway, the war is on with ISIS, it is full bore right now, and when the history books are written, this will be called President Obama's war," he said.

Prof Siracusa also said that similar to numerous past occasions where Australian leaders had followed America to war, he expected action against ISIS would be no different.

"Prime Minister Abbott is up to his eyeballs in this; a couple of months ago he went to the US and told President Obama he would walk with him down this path," he said.

"If something happens, it's a natural progression from air strikes or training to war; no one is going to let something like that happen without a response."

But Mr Abbott on Thursday said Australia had not yet received a request from the US to help with further military action, but if a request was received it would be considered.

- APN NEWSDESK



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