Amid all the ANZAC Day news yesterday, it was easy to miss the Turnbull Government’s quiet announcement of an additional $110m in funding to Iraq.
$10m will be released immediately to “meet urgent needs arising from the operation to liberate Mosul” and a new three year $100 million aid package will be part of the 2017-18 Budget due for release in two weeks.
The statement reaffirms Australia’s commitment to “utterly destroying ISIS” and continued “military contributions to the Counter-ISIS Coalition effort in Iraq and Syria”.
This rededication to countering ISIS in Iraq and Syria is somewhat at odds with Bishop’s last statement on Assad. Remember she acknowledges a lack of evidence regarding the perpetrators of the most recent (supposed) chemical weapons attack but blames Assad in the very next paragraph.
If we really want to “utterly destroy ISIS” shouldn’t we give the likes of Assad (whose forces are a vanguard against ISIS) the benefit of the doubt? But I digress.
This new funding will bring Australia’s humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Syria to more than $530 million since 2014.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia provided $382 million (2003 to 2014) in development and humanitarian assistance to Iraq in addition to $987 million in debt relief to support Iraq’s transition to a stable and democratic…”
That brings our total aid spend in Iraq and Syria to roughly $2.332B*