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Iraq 'changing by the day' ahead of Kiwi troops' arrival

New Zealand troops bound for Iraq will being heading into a situation that is "changing by the day", according to International Law professor Al Gillespie.

Prime Minister John Key announced in February that he would be sending 143 troops and support personnel to the Middle East nation, with around 50 already involved in joint-training with Australian soldiers.

They could spend up to two years in Iraq, training local forces to fight against radical Islamists.

The Kiwi forces are expected to deploy next month, and according Waikato University's Mr Gillespie, they will be heading into a conflict that is markedly different from the one which Mr Key initially committed them to.

"I think the war is changing almost by the day, and it's changing in terms of our closest allies and the conflict on the ground," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.

"With regards to our allies you can see that in America there is now over 50% support for ground troops going in. Canada has changed from just bombing in Iraq (to) bombing into Syria, and Australians has expanded the numbers that it has on the ground.

"And then you see the conflict changing, that's not mentioning what's happening in Libya and of course now what's happening in Yemen."

Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme could also change the situation, a deal potentially triggering tensions with other Middle Eastern nations.

"This is the biggest deal in 12 years, and if a deal is made whereby they can have compliance and inspection you'll suddenly see the whole political landscape change because our friends have moved," Mr Gillespie said.

"We are completely in the middle of it.

"If America starts moving towards Shia-based Iran while we're finding that Saudi and its Sunni basis is going into Yemen with the Arab League, then we're stuck right in the middle of the two sides."

Kiwi troops are in Australia and about to deploy to Iraq, but International Law professor Al Gillespie says they're stepping into an increasingly unstable environment. Source: Breakfast


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