Denmark’s government offered to lead the NATO mission to train Iraqi forces, saying it was prepared to send 200 personnel to Iraq next year.
The year-old NATO mission, which provides more than 500 personnel to train and advise Iraqi troops, is currently led by Canada, whose time in charge ends in 2020.
“We have told NATO we could take the lead” in the operation, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told parliament on Tuesday, November 26.
“We are doing this because it is an important task that should be followed through in Iraq,” Frederiksen said.
The non-combat mission seeks to bolster Iraq’s military and security capabilities, including in areas of medical aid, armored vehicle maintenance, countering improvised explosive devices and civil-military planning.
“The fight against ISIL continues and so does Denmark’s commitment,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said, according to a defense ministry release, using another acronym for ISIS.
The Danish proposal, which first must be approved by a parliamentary vote, will be presented at a NATO meeting in London in early December.
“During last week’s NATO Foreign Minister meeting, I discussed the government’s deliberations with my American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, and with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, both of whom were very positive,” Kofod said.
Denmark has deployed around 180 personnel to undertake Iraqi Security Force training and capacity-building initiatives at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province. Another 20 staff officers are deployed to the headquarters of the Global Coalition Against ISIS. A Danish mobile radar system is deployed at Al-Asad in support of Coalition air operations, along with 30 personnel, including operators at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
Danish leadership of the training mission will replace the efforts at Al Asad.
In October, Denmark’s parliament approved two separate deployments to the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, following government announcements in September of plans for deployments in the Sahel, Syria, and to other NATO missions.
With reporting from AFP