Australia's military presence in Iraq was more about loyalty to the United States than it was about the interests of Iraqis or Australians, a former Iraqi minister said Thursday.
Prime Minister John Howard sent 2,000 troops to support the US and British forces in the 2003 Iraq invasion and has vowed that the 1,600 that remain in the region will stay as long as they are needed and welcome.
The opposition Labor Party has pledged to withdraw 550 combat troops if its wins elections this year, prompting US President George W. Bush to personally ask Labor Leader Kevin Rudd last week to reconsider the policy.
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