NATO Defense Ministers agreed to expand the training mission in Iraq
NATO Defense ministers have agreed to expand NATO’s training mission in Iraq in response to a request by U.S. President Donald Trump to increase its engagement in the Middle East. The alliance that runs a 500-man mission, whose job is to train Iraqi forces, will broaden its participation by including elements of the U.S.-led multinational coalition fighting against ISIS in the mission.
“The Alliance Defense ministers agreed in principle to strengthen NATO’s training mission in Iraq in close cooperation and coordination with the Iraqi government,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
Spain has announced its readiness to strengthen the role of the alliance in Iraq, transferring part of its forces into the international coalition, if the Iraqi authorities agree.
“We support the transfer of a large part of the Spanish contingent to the NATO mission, and at the same time continue to work with the alliance”, stressing that any change should have the support of the Iraqi government, said Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles, upon his arrival at NATO headquarters in Brussels to attend the meeting.
NATO Secretary General stressed that NATO wants “to provide greater support for Iraq because it is extremely important that ISIS does not return in that country”. He added: “We have seen the brutality and terrible violence committed by the organization”.
Last January US president Trump called on NATO to increase its presence in Middle East, few days after an airstrike killed Iranian commander Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad, sparking a crisis in the region. The strike prompted the Iraqi parliament to vote on the exit of all foreign forces from Iraqi territories, including 5,200 American soldiers. To see more about Arab news latest.