WASHINGTON, October 3 (RIA Novosti) - Australia has a moral obligation to help the Iraqi ground forces to win back the territories they lost in fight against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, Dr. Rodger Shanahan, a non-resident fellow of Lowy Institute for International Policy, an independent think tank based in Sydney, told RIA Novosti on Friday.
"There is a need to stand up the Iraqi ground forces so they can ultimately regain the ground they lost," Dr. Shanahan said, noting that Australia was one of the original countries involved in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"So we have a moral obligation to assist Iraq, and we have dozens of our citizens fighting with Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq so there is a global dimension to this problem," he added.
Shanahan emphasized that the Australians support the airstrikes, and there is no threat of any retaliation against the country and its citizens.
"The threat will not have increased as a consequence of our participation as those jihadists who wish to do harm to the West and Westerners already include Australia in this group… They have already constructed a particular narrative and Western air support will just strengthen it, not create it," Dr. Shanahan added.
On Friday, Australian Air Forces joined the US-led international coalition to carry out airstrikes against IS militants in Iraq. The decision was made by Australia's federal government at a meeting of the National Security Committee.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting against Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
In August, the United States started launching airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq. In September, the attacks of the US and its allies were extended to Syria.