Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed yesterday that 300 more of the Australian Defence Force would be deployed to Iraq in a non-combat training role with New Zealand "to empower the Iraqis to retake their country".

The Australians, under the umbrella of what they call Operation Okra, already have 600 there, including 200 Special Forces and 400 dedicated to air strike capability.

New Zealand's deployment, to be called Operation Weta, will largely be based in Camp Taji north of Baghdad.

Mr Abbott said there were "obvious historic parallels" in the joint military contribution although it was not strictly an Anzac mission because it was not one single corps.


But even in the original Anzac operation in Gallipoli 100 years ago, the New Zealanders and Australians were in their own units.

"But I'm very pleased and proud that in this centenary of Anzac year that Australia and New Zealand will be jointly contributing to this important mission."

Mr Abbott said most of his Special Forces would return home in September.

The New Zealanders are set to go in May, Prime Minister John Key said last week. Others of the 143 will be deployed around the region.

There will be Americans at all four main training bases including Al-Asad base in Al-Anbar province west of Baghdad but there are Australians and Danes there too.

The Spaniards also had about 300 in Iraq on a training mission they are running with Portugal in Bismayah, south of Baghdad. In Erbil, in northern Iraq, the training mission is staffed by Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.