Fri. Mar 22nd, 2019

Canada to command NATO training mission in Iraq

Western military alliance will work to develop the skills of the Iraqi army to stabilize the country

Canada will assume command of a NATO training mission in Iraq for its first year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

At the urging of the U.S., the Western military alliance will conduct a “train the trainer” mission to better develop the skills of the Iraqi army to stabilize the country and prevent the re-emergence of groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The mission will involve up to 250 Canadian troops deployed to Baghdad and the surrounding area by the fall, as well as up to four Griffon helicopters.

The training mission, which has been in the works for at least two years, will be commanded by a Canadian major-general, and Canadian troops will provide the bulk of the headquarters staff. The force will protect the hundreds of other NATO trainers expected to begin their work in July.

Speaking at a discussion forum put on by foreign policy think-tank the German Marshall Fund, Trudeau called it “the next step in the challenge in Iraq.”

Defeating ISIS was the first step, he said, “and now we have to rebuild that democracy and strengthen it.”

NATO will make the formal announcement later Wednesday.

CBC’ complete story

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