Sunday, 14 December 2008

Aussies in Iraqi dilemma

Diggers face rush Iraq exit

CONTINGENCY plans are being prepared for an abrupt end to Australia's military presence in Iraq within a fortnight unless a new legal accord can be hammered out by December 31.

A failure to conclude a status of forces agreement with Baghdad in the next few days would dictate the immediate departure of Australian defence personnel embedded with coalition forces inside Iraq.

In the absence of a new legal authority from Baghdad, the RAAF's C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which have flown hundreds of supply missions into Iraq since mid-2003, would have to obtain diplomatic clearance for every flight into Iraqi airspace.

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An untidy end to this illegal episode?