Dutch resume training mission in Iraq, Kurdistan Region

The Dutch Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Sunday said it would resume its military training mission in Iraq, including in the Kurdistan Region, as part of a decision by the US-led coalition.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Dutch Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Sunday said it would resume its military training mission in Iraq, including in the Kurdistan Region, as part of a decision by the US-led coalition.

“This was announced by the international coalition this morning,” the Dutch MoD stated.

“Last week (Sunday), the decision was made to suspend all training as a precaution, due to a higher threat level. That [threat] level has since been adjusted and the coalition decided to resume the training,” the MoD explained in its statement.

Indeed, the German and Dutch Defense Ministries on Wednesday had announced the temporary halt of their training missions in Iraq, which also includes troops that train Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region. 

The decision came as tensions continued to heighten from the current Iran crisis.

In response, the foreign relations office of the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) took to Twitter last Wednesday to call on both Germany and the Netherlands to resume their missions. “The Kurdistan Region is as calm as ever,” they affirmed.

On the same day, German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff claimed the training could resume within a few days “as there is no concrete threat,” German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

The Dutch MoD noted that Dutch special operation forces had already resumed their mission earlier to train Iraqi commandos “under specific conditions.”

Currently, 50 Dutch soldiers are maintaining the training of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Camp Stephan in the Kurdistan Region’s capital of Erbil. The Peshmerga are being trained by the Dutch on marksmanship, leadership, and protecting large areas.

A spokesperson for the US-led Coalition told Kurdistan 24 last week that the training mission throughout Iraq would continue, “despite increased tensions between the US and Iran.”

The coalition “is continuing to train Iraqi Security Forces throughout Iraq,” Col. James Scott Rawlinson, Director of Public Affairs and Spokesperson for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), confirmed with Kurdistan 24.

“Each facility has the necessary resources and authority to monitor and respond to any force that threatens the personnel, resources and facilities under their authority,” Rawlinson added.

“Security officials can employ a range of options available to them to protect the force against threats, which they assess daily, based on the environment.”

Editing by Nadia Riva