Australia's Strategic Involvement in the Middle East

Australia’s Strategic Involvement in the Middle East

  • 4 May 2004

At first glance it seems unusual that Australia should have
a long history of strategic and military involvement with
the Middle East. After all, Australia is a third of the way
around the world from the Middle East. It is a relatively
small country, with no certain global aspirations, and
does not exhibit significant ties to religion with a few
long-standing ties of ethnicity. Australia had once
relied on the supply of oil from the Middle East, but
so too did many other countries that have not had the
same interest in the region. Furthermore, for the past
thirty years, Australia has been largely self-sufficient in
oil, even though it has continued to import from the
Middle East. Yet, for ninety years Australia has had a
strong military connection with the region. Initially,
the connection related to the fact the Australia’s main
line of communication with Europe was through the
Suez Canal. For that reason during the First and Second
World Wars, Australia sent forces to assist Britain in
the Middle East. However, those times have changed.
Australia has not deployed forces at Britain’s request for
many decades, but it has been involved in peacekeeping
missions in the Middle East consistently since 1956.
While Australia’s connection to the British Empire has
long disappeared, it now values its alliance with the
United States. For this, and other reasons, Australia was
involved in the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War.

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LECTURER

Tuesday 4 May 2004

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Tuesday 4 May 2004

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