New Zealand to Enter Iraq Conflict. NZ “Hitching a Ride on” Military Campaign. Free Trade Agreement the Price of NZ’s Acquiescence?

John Key can't remember his position on Iraq

John Key can’t remember correctly his position on Iraq, but he did change his mind about using black in NZ’s flag

After many months of softening up public opinion, and a predictable ‘capture the flag‘ diversion, the Prime Minister of New Zealand will announce on February 24 that New Zealand won’t be missing the boat on the present Iraq conflict.

Without putting it to a vote, Key will tell Parliament that New Zealand will be deploying up to 143 personnel in Iraq to aid in the fight against Islamic State.

In addition to the 143 souls “further personnel and Air Force assets will occasionally need to be deployed to the region to support the mission” (source) but Key gives no indication of what that will entail, or what “assets” will be deployed.

The New Zealand contingent will comprise trainers, an intelligence gathering unit and armed troops.He’d previously said involvement in Iraq was “the price of the club“,

The New Zealanders will be stationed at the US base Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, presumably supporting US troops there. However, NZ’s SAS are believed to be already on the ground and engaged with the enemy.

Journalist Gordon Campbell says the NZ public have been drip fed information for months, to make them more receptive to today’s announcement…

There are two ways of framing the story of our troop deployment in Iraq. They go roughly like this:

The Official Version : We are going to Iraq solely to train Iraqis. We will not be engaged in combat against the Islamic State. Our troops will be safely behind the wire at all times.

The Alternative Version: Besides training the Iraqis, some of our forces will be engaged in intelligence gathering, which – among other things – will involve identifying targets for air strikes and providing the co-ordinates to increase the accuracy and effectiveness of bombing raids. This is highly dangerous work. Canadian special forces engaged in air strike assistance in Iraq this year have repeatedly come under fire from Islamic State fighters.

So far, no coalition forces engaged in this work have been captured and executed, but doing so would be a high priority for IS.

No prizes for guessing which version the Key government has been promoting, to the point of being actively misleading… more here

Labour, NZ First, the Greens, United Future,ACT and the Maori Party are all against the deployment, with United Future leader Peter Dunne saying New Zealand’s involvement would only make matters worse

Dunne told Radio NZ a decision to send troops would be a very “short-sighted and wrong approach” and give the impression the country was hitching a ride on an “international military campaign“. source


Sharing the Honor of War – John Key’s Speech to Parliament 10 Sept 2003

Dunne may have a point.

In 2003 Key wanted to send troops to Iraq alongside the US and Britain, saying

Blood is thicker than water and we should stick with the family which has supported us in the past and will support us in the future

Key (while an opposition MP) is still remembered vividly in Parliament for his hysterical, high-pitched rant. Key was apoplectic that New Zealand was missing out on “sharing the honor” of the 2003 Iraq war. Watch the video, read the transcript below.

Our traditional allies are in there, in this agreement – WHERE’S OUR NAME?!  MISSING! M.I.A.!  just like it was in the war in Iraq – MISSING! and this country will…this country will PAY for that DON’T YOU WORRY ABOUT THAT!

There’ll be NO free trade arrangement! here in New Zealand! There’ll be one thing we won’t have to worry about it’s container ships going to America because there’ll be none of them leaving out of this country because there’s no free trade arrangement because of the shambles – the absolute shambles – The government made of its position!

It doesn’t matter if they’re offering up bodies and all the rest of it now, that’s not helping, they missed the boat…

John Key lies about Iraq, 2007

Then in 2007 Key had one of his infamous brain fades. He said he was against supporting the 2003 war, saying it wasn’t his personal view that troops should be sent. Watch the Campbell Live interview…

Do New Zealanders really want to go to war based on the poor judgement of a ‘forgetful’ ex-banker, selling out their country’s sovereignty because they’re told to by the head of some “Club”?