Australia has admitted that securing oil is a key factor behind its continued troop deployment in Iraq. It is the first time such an admission has been made. Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said that maintaining "resource security" in the Middle East was a priority for the government in Canberra.
"The defence update we're releasing today sets out many priorities for Australia's defence and security, and resource security is one of them," he said. "Obviously the Middle East itself, not only Iraq but the entire region, is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world...it's extremely important that Australia take the view that it's in our interests, our security interests, to make sure that we leave the Middle East, and leave Iraq in particular, in a position of sustainable security."