With Poodle Tony Blair finally out of leadership, you have to wonder if John Howard's begging for attention? Howard, the prime minister of Australia, got a tiny flurry of attention when he attempted to interject himself into US party politics via a (failed) dressing down of Barack Obama. But despite being out War Hawking even Tony Blair when it came to posturing, that's pretty much played as his only "close up" in US media.
Someone who has his own domestic spying problem, whose government should have collapsed after the many fiascos surrounding Jake Kovco's death, whose re-election looks iffy (at best) is served not only by the overall disinterest on the part of the US on anything further south than Texas but also by an alleged international press that not all that long ago was billing him as "John Major."
Brendan Nelson, the country's Donald Rumsfeld clone, was once billed as the "rising star" of Australian politics. Then Brendy came all undone with one repeated mistake after another following the death of Kovoc and, near the end, seemed close to blaming the Kovco family for the government's own (repeated) mishandling of Jake's body en route to Australia.
Though long in the tooth at this point in the illegal war, Howard and Nelson may finally be about to taste some of that stardom they have so desperately craved.
Al Jazeera reports:
Australia has admitted for the first time that securing the supply of oil is a key motive for its involvement in the US-led war in Iraq.
Brendan Nelson, the defence minister, said "energy security" was one of the main priorities behind his country's support for the war, which is unpopular among Australians.
His remarks add weight to war protesters' arguments that the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was amied at grabbing the country's oil supplies rather than a bid to counter the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, which later proved to be non-existent.
Nelson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Australia's priorities were set out in a defence and security review being released on Thursday "and resource security is one of them".
Brendy Nelson not only declared that oil was the motivating factor, he attempted to sell continued involvement in the illegal war on the issue of oil. As BBC notes: "This is thought to be the first time the Australian government has admitted any link between troop deployment in Iraq and securing energy resources."
Skip notes "Nelson: Oil a factor in Iraq deployment" (Australia's The Age):
Federal Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has attacked Dr Nelson's comments, saying they contradict what the Howard Government said when the war began.
"When Mr Howard was asked back in 2003 whether this war had anything to do with oil, Mr Howard said in no way did it have anything to do with oil," Mr Rudd told reporters in Sydney today.
"This Government simply makes it up as it goes along on Iraq."
Dr Nelson said the primary reason for Australian troops remaining in Iraq was to prevent violence between the Sunni and Shia population, and to bring stability to the region.
"We're also there to support our key ally - that's the United States of America - and we're there to ensure that we don't have terrorism driven from Iraq which would destabilise our own region," he said.
"For all of those reasons, one of which is energy security, it's extremely important that Australia take the view that it's in our interests... to make sure we leave the Middle East and leave Iraq in particular in a position of sustainable security."
And from Australia's ABC, on the interview that started the international attention (audio of which is available at the link):
The Federal Government says oil is a key reason to keep Australian troops in Iraq, but says it was not the reason for the original invasion.
As it released the defence update, the Government said oil security is one of the reasons for staying on in Iraq.
The Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, says it is in Australia's interests.
"Energy security is extremely important to all nations throughout the world, and of course, in protecting and securing Australia's interests," he said.
Australia has approximately 1500 troops stationed in Iraq, predominately guarding the Green Zone. (A number were wounded last August from mortar attacks on the Green Zone.)
Yesterday, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during combat operations in a southern section of the Iraqi capital July 4." This death brought the ICCC total of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 3588 and the total of the month of July to 10. In addition the US military announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier was killed when a helicopter went down in Ninewah Province, July 4."
In this morning's New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin notes the violence in "Bombs, Gunmen and a U.S. Copter Crash Claim Lives in Iraq:"
As the American Embassy held a subdued Independence Day celebration under heavy security in the Green Zone, assassinations, roadside bombs and a suicide car bomb took the lives of at least 46 Iraqis.
Two American soldiers died Wednesday. One was killed in a combat operation in southern Baghdad, and the other when his helicopter went down in Nineveh Province in northern Iraq, according to statements from the military. A second soldier was injured when the helicopter crashed.
Sixteen bodies were found by the police around Baghdad on Wednesday, but the number does not fully reflect the number of killings in the city. Several sectarian killings came to light, highlighting some of the reasons for widespread anxiety over brutal acts by Shiite and Sunni groups that often go unreported.
Two Iraqi reporters who worked for the Baghdad television station sponsored by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni Arab party, were killed in separate incidents.
On the oil law/theft of Iraqi oil that the US is pushing and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki knows will determine his fate, AP reports it is "snarled . . . depite the prime minister's claims of a breakthrough" and "heavy U.S. pressure" which means that the theft said to be sent to the Iraq Parliament on Tuesday may get sent today.
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