Australian troops unlikely to be sent to Iraq: Julie Bishop

 

Extended coverage: Iraq crisis

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she hasn’t envisaged Australia sending troops to Iraq to quell growing violence in the country.

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Instead, she says the government is ready to help deal with the humanitarian crisis.

Insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have taken a swathe of mostly Sunni Arab territory in northern Iraq since launching an offensive last week.

US President Barack Obama has said Washington was considering options over Iraq but would not be sending troops – a position backed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

On Saturday US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier the USS George HW Bush, to sail into the Persian Gulf as President Barack Obama considers possible military options for Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in the Houston on Saturday, Mr Abbott said he would wait to see how the US responds to the situation in Iraq before developing an Australian response.

“The important thing at the moment is to let the Americans work their way forward,” he said.

Ms Bishop, who described events in Iraq as “deeply disturbing”, said the US would take the lead when it came to any military action.

“I didn’t envisage a circumstance where we would be sending in troops,” she told the Ten Network.

“But we certainly stand ready to support the humanitarian crisis should a request be made.”

Greens leader Christine Milne said following the US into Iraq “is not going to fix it”.

“We do not want to follow the United States blindly as John Howard did (in 2003,” Senator Milne told ABC Television.

“Clearly it didn’t work last time in Iraq and it won’t work this time,” Senator Milne told ABC Television.

World Cup: English supporters in Australia down but not defeated

The fans packed the pub in central Sydney to cheer on the English team as it went against the Italian side in their World Cup opening game.

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Many watchers were took a punt after the first half.

“I reckon we’re going to be all right. Second half we’ll blitz them,” one fan told SBS.

God Save the Queen. English #worldcup supporters in strong form in Sydney CBD a few minutes to kick off @SBSNews pic.twitter南宁桑拿网,/KL4U4UXmY5

— Helen Isbister (@HelenIsbister) June 14, 2014

But the final result did not favour the British. 

Some English supporters in central Sydney finding it hard to watch as Italy leads 2-1#worldcup @SBSNews pic.twitter南宁桑拿网,/xBQlZmAd1k

— Helen Isbister (@HelenIsbister) June 14, 2014

“Today we’re still in the challenge it doesn’t really matter. Next few games we’ll win the Group,” another fan said.  

“We’re English, we got heart, we challenge I tell ya. That’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to challenge it.”

And the defeat did not dampen celebrations among the English supporters.

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Statistician Nate Silver, who correctly predicted the winner in all 50 states at the last US presidential election, says England still has a chance of advancing from Group D.

Sitting behind Costa Rica (66 per cent) and Italy (74 per cent), he calculates England is in with a 35 per cent chance.