Citing Iraq’s declaration of victory ovr ISIS, Australia has announced that it is ending its contribution of warplanes to fighting in both Iraq and Syria, and that all six Super Hornet planes are to return to Australia.
Australia has been involved in the air war since 2014, and says that special forces on the ground, estimated to be about 80 troops, will remain in Iraq going forward as part of a commitment to the region.
Australian officials say that the decision to withdraw the planes came after discussions with both the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition. While the US has presented their own deployments as more or less permanent, it’s clear not everyone in the coalition feels that way.
The Australian planes are the first to the exit here, but with both Iraq and Syria saying the war is effectively over, it’s not clear the planes are going to have a lot to do anyhow, an Australia’s move might convince others to rethink ongoing involvement.