Canada will lead a new NATO training mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in Brussels on Wednesday, July 11.
Speaking ahead of the NATO Summit, Trudeau said that Canada would assume command of the training and capacity building mission in Iraq for its first year, a Defense Post reporter at the “Our Shared Global Values” event in Brussels said.
In a press release, Trudeau’s office said Canadian troops “will be deployed to Baghdad and the vicinity” starting in the autumn of 2018 and running for a year. Canada will also contribute up to four Griffon helicopters, the release said.
Canadian troops are already deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Impact, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve. The CAF are providing training and assistance to the Iraqi security forces, and mobile training teams are helping the NATO counter-improved explosive device capacity building effort for Iraqi forces.
“As part of this mission, up to 250 Canadian Armed Forces members will join partner countries in helping Iraq build a more effective national security structure and improve training for Iraqi security forces,” the prime minister’s office said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg signaled the new Iraq training mission in February, saying that the alliance’s defense ministers saw the need for more training of Iraqi forces as operations in the country move from the fight against Islamic State to building local capacity.
Trudeau’s government has sought to expand Canada’s global activity, including by deploying peacekeepers to United Nations missions in the Sahel. A defense policy released last year will increase Canada’s defense budget more than 70 percent by 2026.