Australian prime minister, John Howard, has said in the past that Australians "don't abandon their mates" and he used that philosophy to explain why Australia would have to keep its 1500 or so troops in Iraq until the United States told him he could bring them home.
But a major Australian newspaper leads today with a story that claims Howard is going to double-cross the Bush administration, and is hoping to win back some of his plummeting support with the voters, before the coming federal election, by announcing he will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq in February, 2008 :
Prime Minister John Howard has a secret plan to begin withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq by February, a senior military source has revealed.A well-placed source said the plan is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the top levels of the bureaucracy.
It is understood the plan has not yet been put to the Bush Administration or even gone before the National Security Committee of Cabinet.
But the story is not all that it appears to be.
"The Government is quietly saying to Defence: 'We don't want to get caught in Iraq if it comes unstuck for the Americans'," another well-placed source said.
"They want to be ready to go, even before the Americans."
Australia's planned troop withdrawal is expected to begin at the same time the US military is expected to begin drawing down its presence in Iraq in February.
Go To 'The Orstrahyun' For The Full Story
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