US wants SAS to fight jihadists

Call to arms: US wants Australian Special Forces to join the fight. Picture: ADF

The US wants Australia to commit special forces soldiers to an international mission to destroy Islamic State militants rampaging through northern Iraq.

Australia has already indicated it would offer jet fighters to a US-led coalition but The West Australian understands that Washington believes Australia's most valuable contribution to the mission would be Special Air Service Regiment troops and Commandos.

Senior Government figures say the US has high regard for the logistical and "disruption" abilities of Australian special forces.

The National Security Committee will decide the strength and shape of Australia's contribution once US President Barack Obama outlines his plan for "degrading and ultimately destroying" the IS terrorist network in a prime-time address to be delivered today.


Discussions over a possible contribution of Australian special forces came as Federal Police yesterday arrested two men alleged to be involved in funnelling funds and fighters to terror groups in Syria.

Police carried out a series of raids in Brisbane as part of a year-long investigation into the channelling of funds and fighters to the al-Qaida-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra.

Police targeted an Islamic book store in the city's south-east, the iQraa Islamic Centre, which has suspected ties to radical Perth preacher Mohammed Junaid Thorne.

A 21-year-old man will be charged with preparing for incursions into Syria with the intention of engaging in hostile activities. He will also be charged with attempting to recruit other fighters to travel to the conflict.

Omar Succarieh, 31, will be charged with providing funds to Jabhat al-Nusra. He is the brother of Australia's first suicide bomber to die in Syria, Ahmed Succarieh.The bookstore is believed to have raised funds for two "sermons" by Thorne, who has become infamous for his hate-filled online rants.Thorne, a Noongar, was jailed in Saudi Arabia for protesting against the imprisonment of his brother Shayden who had been convicted of terrorism offences.Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke yesterday to her newly installed Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Ja'afari.Ms Bishop made clear to Dr al-Ja'afari that a US-led international mission to push back IS would require an Iraqi Government request and a demonstration that it was being inclusive of the Kurdish minority and the Sunni populations.He told her that Arab states could soon be meeting to consider what support they could give to combat IS.Ms Bishop flies to New York next week where she will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers to devise strategies to deal with foreign fighters.Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend a special terrorism summit on September 24 chaired by Mr Obama.