On February 13th, NATO members agreed to enhance its training mission in Iraq, amid reports that members such as Germany, France and Australia plan to fully withdraw from the country.
Stoltenberg vowed that “everything we do will be in close consultation and coordination with the Iraqi government.”
Allied ministers agreed in principle to enhance NATO Mission Iraq. “In the first instance, this will consist of taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
He underlined that NATO is in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. “Our aim is to increase the capacity of the Iraqi armed forces so that they no longer require our support,” he said.
Ministers also discussed what more NATO can do to help build stability across the wider Middle East and North Africa.
Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO’s work in Iraq is helping strengthen the Iraqi armed forces and institutions to ensure ISIS cannot return, and Iraq no longer requires support.
He also underlined that NATO is in Iraq at the invitation of the government and the Alliance will continue to consult closely with Iraqi authorities and the Coalition.
This is also likely a result of the calls to reduce US presence in Iraq, if that happens, but if NATO receives an increased presence, this would mean that the US could still pull the strings behind the policy there.
In the statements on February 12th, Stoltenberg said that a few hundred soldiers could simply be added to the NATO mission in Iraq, but there is yet no response by the Iraqi government and people and their attitude towards the possibility.
Especially now that there is a new incoming Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Alawi.
“There is much angst in the American mind that Mohammed Allawi, once confirmed as prime minister by the Iraqi parliament, may not only restructure U.S.-Iraqi relations, but eventually take the wind out of the sails of the so-called protests that Washington and its regional allies have inserted since October 2019.”
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