2021.02.19 – 13:26
Baghdad – People
The Pentagon has opened the door to the possibility of sending more American forces to the Middle East as part of a newly expanded NATO training mission to support Iraqi forces and ensure ISIS never rises again.
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A Pentagon spokeswoman, Jessica L. McConnellty, told CNN, and “People” followed her (February 19, 2021), “The United States is participating in the force formation process for the NATO mission in Iraq and will contribute its fair share in this important and expanded mission.”
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke about the mission with his NATO counterparts during a meeting with defense ministers on Thursday.
Late Thursday night, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby made it clear that “there are no plans to send more US forces to Iraq.” However, a defense official told the channel that US forces could also support the mission from outside the country.
“We support the expanded NATO mission in Iraq and will continue to do so, but there are no plans to increase US troop levels there,” Kirby said on Twitter.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Thursday, announced the increase in the number of its forces in Iraq in order to expand the task of training Iraqi forces, while no decision has yet been made on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference after a videoconference with NATO defense ministers that “it has been decided to expand the training mission in Iraq to support Iraqi forces in the face of terrorism and to ensure that ISIS does not return.”
Stoltenberg added that “the number of NATO forces will gradually increase from 500 to about 4 thousand, and their deployment will extend to areas outside Baghdad.” Allow the Iraqis to achieve stability in their country. ”
He pointed out that the increase in NATO forces will be gradual and come at the request of the Iraqi government.
Austin welcomed the “expanded role” of the NATO mission in Iraq, according to a reading of the discussions provided by the Pentagon. He expressed confidence that all the work done so far with the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces will lead to a self-sufficient mission.
In a related context, the “Daily Mail” newspaper quoted military sources as saying that the International Coalition Forces intend to increase the number of its soldiers in Iraq to 5 thousand members.
The newspaper said that hundreds of British soldiers would be sent to Iraq in the largest increase of British forces there since the last Gulf War.
The number of British forces is expected to double or triple later this year.
In total, 179 British soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq since March 2003, while the last troops withdrew there in May 2011.
Currently 100 British personnel are stationed there to train Iraqi security forces. Within the framework of the international coalition’s mission to combat ISIS, with the possibility of them playing security roles.
The announcement by British Defense Minister Ben Wallace last night that hundreds of soldiers would be dispatched came days after a missile attack on an international coalition base near Arbil airport in northern Iraq killed a civilian contractor and wounded nine others.
In support of the decision, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Richard Kemp, said: “Iraqi forces are facing an increasing threat from ISIS, as there was a double suicide attack in Baghdad in January in addition to daily terrorist attacks in different parts of the country.”
Kemp explained that the return of the force to ISIS “has led to several terrorist attacks in Europe including the United Kingdom.”
He added, “We and NATO must do everything in our power to help the Iraqis improve their military capabilities so that they can impose greater control over their lands. In this way, we will protect our homeland as well.”