Prime Minister Tony Abbott expects Australia to receive Iraqi government approval to send in special forces members within days.

While RAAF Super Hornets have been undertaking bombing raids against Islamic State targets, Australia's pre-deployed 200 special forces members have yet to start their mission to train and assist Iraqi ground forces.

Mr Abbott said the process for getting legal protections in place was taking longer than expected.

"But I am confident that the situation will be revolved in the next few days and our forces will be able to deploy into Iraq on advise and assist missions to help the Iraqi security forces," he told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.


Asked whether Iraqi government concerns about foreign troops setting up "military bases" was holding up the deployment, Mr Abbott said Australia had no intention of sending in combat troops.

"We are not proposing independent combat operations by Australian and other coalition forces," he said.

"It is about helping the people of Iraq to reclaim their country."

Australia's defence force chief Mark Binskin overnight on Tuesday attended a briefing with other coalition military leaders at the US Joint Base Andrews in Maryland hosted by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.

US President Barack Obama told reporters after the meeting the mission in Iraq, now involving 60 nations, was achieving its short-term aims against IS, or ISIL, but it would be a "long-term campaign".

"Because of the numbers of foreign fighters that are being attracted, and the chaos that ISIL was creating in the region, ultimately it will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States, Europe, and far-flung countries like Australia that have already seen terrorist networks trying to infiltrate and impact population centers on the other side of the world," Mr Obama said.