Australia at War

As the war in Iraq appears to draw to an end, the role of Australian troops deployed in the Arabian Gulf undergoes a transformation. With the action moving away from the sea and into densely populated areas, Australian Navy ships find less and less targets for their guns. In fact, two Australian frigates active in the first days of the conflict have been called back. They will be replaced by HMAS Sydney leaving for the Gulf Monday.

Australian FA-18 bombers were in action recently against formation of Republican Guards in the South of Iraq. Their sorties are being gradually phased out as the coalition troops move into Baghdad.

The public Down Under had a chance to discover some details of 'spin' applied to military activities. We learned that 'live' video clips of Australian SAS soldiers in action in Iraq were in fact prepared before the conflict for future consumption in the mass media.

The Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer traveled to Washington last week to discuss a possible future role for Australia and the United Nations in the rebuilding of Iraq. Australian and US positions seem to differ, with the American administration ready to adopt a dominant role in Iraq. Mr. Downer argues for a reconstruction process managed by the United Nations and some opportunity for Australian companies offering their technical expertise to the 'new' Iraqi government.

Henry Marconi PRAVDA.Ru Sydney

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