By John Lee.

NATO‘s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) has received a request for international assistance from Iraq to control the spread of COVID-19 and deal with those affected.

The EADRCC is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic area.

It is active all year round, operational on a 24/7 basis, and involves all NATO Allies and partner countries.

The Centre functions as a clearing-house system for coordinating both requests and offers of assistance mainly in case of natural and man-made disasters.

(Source: NATO)

By John Lee.

European countries including France, Spain and the Netherlands have reportedly announced the temporary withdrawal of troops from the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition and NATO Training Mission in Iraq.

According to Janes 360, the withdrawals follow an announcement by Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) that it had ceased training Iraqi security forces to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

More here.

(Source: Janes 360)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday (12 February 2020) that Allied ministers had reaffirmed their support to Iraq and agreed in principle to enhance NATOs training mission.

In the first instance, this will consist of taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities.

Ministers also agreed to explore what more could be done, beyond this first step.

Read the Secretary General’s press conference here

(Source: NATO)

NATO supports continued development of Iraq’s defence education institutions

On 12-14 January 2020, a delegation from Iraq’s National Defence College visited Ukraine’s National Defence University in Kyiv.

The visit was conducted within the framework of the NATO Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP).

This programme supports the NATO Mission Iraq’s commitment and efforts towards the further development of Iraqi professional military education institutions. It is part of the broader endeavors aimed at reforming Iraqi national security structures.

During the visit, the Dean, Secretary General and Senior Instructor of Iraq’s National Defence College exchanged views with counterparts from Ukraine’s National Defence University on priorities for military education advancement, curriculum development, and the training of military specialists.

They also discussed areas of possible future cooperation between Iraq and Ukraine, including on distance learning, educational programming on integrity and the prevention of corruption, faculty and student exchanges, digital lectures and the planning of joint trainings and exercises.

As a NATO partner country that has recently undertaken a transformation of its professional military education system with NATO support, Ukraine serves as an excellent model for the achievements that the Atlantic Alliance aims to foster within Iraq’s defence education institutions.

The NATO Defence Education Enhancement Programme is a vehicle for reform of security structures. It provides tailored practical support to individual countries as they develop their own professional military education institutions.

Through faculty development, curriculum development and peer-to-peer consultations, this programme fosters defence capacity and institution building. In Iraq, the National Defence College is one of three colleges of the Defence University for Military Studies participating in the programme.

In addition to the programme in Iraq, NATO is currently running similar programmes in 15 other countries, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, the Republic of Moldova, Morocco, North Macedonia, Mongolia, Serbia, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

(Source: NATO)

On Tuesday, the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations Dr. John Manza and his delegation met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq Mr. Abdul Karim Hashim Aboualgus and his team.

The Deputy Minister and Dr. Manza discussed the current state of the NATO Mission in Iraq and cooperation between the Republic of Iraq and NATO.

They agreed that strong cooperation between the Republic of Iraq and NATO is of mutual benefit. NATO remains committed to our training mission in Iraq, which contributes to the fight against terrorism.

(Source: NATO)

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Foreign troops’ future in Iraq uncertain as clashes continue

For the security of its personnel, NATO has temporarily suspended its training activities in Iraq, given the recent violence there. Iraqis seem divided over what that will mean for their safety.

The United States on Jan. 3 assassinated Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a drone attack near the Baghdad airport.

Iran retaliated by firing missiles at military bases in Iraq where US troops are stationed. There are also mass protests taking place in Iran and Iraq.

Click here to read the full article.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Karim Hashim Aboualgus at NATO Headquarters on Tuesday.

They shared views on the recent developments in the Middle East and on NATO-Iraq cooperation.

Mr. Stoltenberg underscored that NATO remains fully committed to working with Iraq, and that NATO is ready to resume training and capacity building efforts in Iraq, as soon as conditions on the ground allow, by continuing to support Iraq to build, train and educate the military it needs. A stable Iraq is crucial to regional stability and to euro-atlantic security.

(Source: NATO)

Speaking after the meeting of NATO’s North Atlantic Council, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the safety of NATO’s personnel in Iraq is paramount and that the Alliance had temporarily suspended training activities on the ground.

He added that NATO was prepared to continue training and capacity-building when the situation permits, emphasizing that the Alliance remains strongly committed to the fight against international terrorism.

Read the Secretary General’s press point here.

(Source: NATO)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)

By John Lee.

On 11 December 2019, Christoph Buik was appointed as new head of mission for the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq). He will take up his duties on 1 January 2020.

Christoph Buik, a German national, is currently Director of the UN Standing Police Capacity. Previously, he was Police Commissioner for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia. He has long experience in international peacekeeping and peace building operations.

He will take over from Markus Ritter, who has held the post since October 2017.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee on 11 December 2019.

EUAM Iraq is based in Bagdad and contributes to the implementation at strategic level of a comprehensive strategy countering terrorism and organised crime with specific reference to border management, financial crime, money laundering and the trafficking of cultural heritage. The mission works in coordination with key international actors operating in Iraq, including the NATO mission in Iraq.

The mission was launched on 16 October 2017 to support the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Iraqi National Security Programme. This programme aims at building state institutions capable of consolidating security, peace and preventing conflicts under the rule of law, and outlines a number of threats to national security, including terrorism, corruption and political instability.

Please click here to read Christoph Buik’s CV

(Source: European Council)