But the SAS unit has found solace from one source: Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes. Already, Stokes has loaned decorated former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith somewhere between $1 million and $2 million (depending on the source) to aid his — so far not going all that great — defamation case against the Nine papers.Seven torn between loyalty and duty in SAS war crimes report
The report reveals that special forces insiders have confidentially disclosed “unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations” by Australian special forces soldiers which extend to a “disregard for human life and dignity”.
The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Sunday, meeting with top officials to discuss ways in which the country can aid Iraqi forces in their fight against Islamic State (Isis).
Abbott and the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, discussed military cooperation between the two countries, including the training and equipping of Iraqi soldiers, state television reported. The Iraqi army collapsed last summer in the face of a blitz by Isis, which now holds about a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in its self-declared caliphate.
During a joint news conference, Abbott said his country was determined to provide all kinds of support to Iraq in its war against terrorism. He vowed to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Australian fighter jets are bombing Isis targets in northern Iraq as part of a US-led coalition and 200 Australian special forces troops will soon enter Iraq to advise and assist local security forces.
Meanwhile on Sunday, police said mortar shells slammed into several houses in the Shia village of Sabaa al-Bour, about 20 miles (30 kilometres) north of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding seven.
Elsewhere, police said a bomb blast on a commercial street killed two people and wounded six in western Baghdad.
On Sunday night, two bombs exploded in downtown Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 10, police said. A sticky bomb attached to a minibus also exploded, killing two passengers and wounding three, police said.
Medical officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to journalists.
Iraq says foreign military trainers welcome but “a little late”
“This step is a little late, but we welcome it,” a statement from Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s office said.
The Baghdad government had requested members of the US-led international coalition battling Islamic State group (IS) jihadists to help train and arm its forces, the statement said.
“The coalition agreed on that and four to five Iraqi training camps were selected, and building on that, they have now begun sending the trainers,” it said.
IS spearheaded a major military militant offensive that has overrun much of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland since June, and Iraqi federal and Kurdish forces backed by tribesmen and militiamen are fighting to regain ground.
Multiple Iraqi divisions collapsed in the northern province of Nineveh in the early days of the jihadist offensive, leaving major units that need to be reconstituted.
Experts say Iraqi security forces suffer from serious shortcomings in training and logistics, hampering their performance in the conflict
Islamic State (IS) has executed another 85 members of the Albu Nimr tribe in Iraq in a mass killing campaign launched last week to further the militant group’s territorial advances, a tribal leader and security official say.
Sheikh Naeem al-Ga’oud, one of the tribe’s chiefs, said IS has executed more than 300 tribe members in the past few days.
He said the group had killed 50 members of Albu Nimr who were fleeing the militants on Friday. In a separate incident, a security official said 35 bodies were found in a mass grave.
Mr Ga’oud said he had repeatedly asked Iraq’s Shiite-led central government for weapons but his pleas had been ignored.
IS has been killing at will, with no sign the government will send armed forces to the rescue of Albu Nimr or other tribes under threat.
Members of the Albu Nimr tribe had held out for weeks under siege by IS fighters in Anbar province to the west of Baghdad, but finally ran low on ammunition, fuel and food.
Hundreds of tribal fighters withdrew and members of the tribe fled their main village Zauiyat albu Nimr.
IS rounded up many people, shot them at close range and dumped their bodies in mass graves.
Security officials and witnesses have confirmed that bodies of more than 200 people were found in mass graves on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The sustained bloodshed appears to demonstrate IS’s resilience to US airstrikes against militant targets in parts of Iraq and Syria it controls.
Terrorism and violence killed at least 1,273 people in October, compared to at least 1,119 in September, according to UN figures released on Saturday. The figures excluded the vast desert province of Anbar.
Kurdish Peshmerga arrive with weapons in Syria’s Kobane
Iraqi Kurdish forces arrived in the Syrian town of Kobane with heavy weapons to help Syrian Kurds fend off attempts by IS insurgents to seize the town and cement control in the Turkish border region.
Syrian Kurdish fighters welcomed the fighters who are known as Peshmerga, and said they could help tip the balance in a battle which has raged for more than 40 days.
The Peshmerga are expected to take part in the military action in Kobane in the next few hours, Kurdish officials said.
“What was lacking is the weapons and ammunition, so the arrival of more of it plus the fighters will help tip the balance of the battle,” Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister of Kobane district, said.
“The whole issue is the weapons and ammunition, of course more fighters will help.”
The arrival of the 150 Iraqi fighters marks the first time Turkey has allowed ground troops from outside Syria to reinforce Syrian Kurds.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 100 IS fighters had been killed in the past three days of fighting for the town.
The group said the deaths brought the total number of IS fighters killed in the ground battle for Kobane to 576 since clashes began on September 16.
Overall, 958 people have been killed in the battle for Kobane, including 361 Kurdish fighters and allied forces and 21 civilians, according to the Observatory.
Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets in Turkey on Saturday to show solidarity with those fighting for the mainly Kurdish Syrian town which has been besieged by jihadists.
Tensions are currently running high between the government and Turkey’s Kurds after pro-Kurdish protests last month left more than 30 people dead across the country.
Many Kurds in Turkey are angry over the government’s perceived lack of support for the Kurds fighting for Kobane against IS jihadists who have carried out a litany of atrocities including beheadings.
In a set-back on Saturday, Syria’s al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front seized Jabal al-Zawiya region, the last remaining stronghold of Western-backed rebels in Syria’s north-west province of Idlib after days of fighting
In August last year, the ABC revealed a group of soldiers from the elite SAS Regiment were under investigation for cutting off the hand of at least one Afghan insurgent.
The ADFIS officer told them it did not matter how the fingerprints were taken and that it would be acceptable to chop off the hands of the dead and bring them back to base for identification purposes.
The ABC understands it took three days for the senior command at Tarin Kowt to realise what had happened, but as soon as it was known an operation pause ( paws ) was put in place.
Article 15 of the Geneva convention states: “At all times, and particularly after an engagement, Parties to the conflict shall, without delay, take all possible measures to search for and collect the wounded and sick, to protect them against pillage and ill-treatment, to ensure their adequate care, and to search for the dead and prevent their being despoiled.”
After the publication of the initial story in August last year, the ABC was informed that an AFP investigation would be launched to identify the source of what was described as an unauthorised disclosure of information.