Thirty-three Australian soldiers who were guarding the country’s embassy in Iraq have been withdrawn, and a Dubai-based private security firm has taken over, an embassy official said on Wednesday.
“We now have moved to a contractor called Unity Resources Group” to provide embassy security, the official said, adding that the last soldiers left on Saturday.
The soldiers guarding the embassy were the last significant Australian troop presence in the country. Australia once had some 2,000 soldiers in Iraq, one of the larger non-US deployments.
Two Australian officers remain as advisers to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, the embassy official said.
According to its website, Unity Resources Group is based in Dubai and was founded by Gordon Conroy, “a former Commander in the Australian SAS (Special Forces) Counter Terrorist Squadron,” who is the firm’s director and CEO.