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Wednesday 29.01.2020 | Name days: Valērijs, Aivars
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Latvian troops discontinue training Iraqi Defence Forces

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Latvia, USA, missile attack, instructors, Iraq, training mission, recommendedConsidering the increased tension in Iraq, Latvian troops together with other coalition member states has decided to discontinue training Iraqi Defence Forces, as confirmed by Latvian Defence Ministry press-representative Kaspars Galkins.

Soon there will be consultations held by Baltic States, Denmark and USA on future participation in the international operations against Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq. Latvia’s Defence Ministry works closely with American partners for information exchange, adds Galkins.

The ministry’s representative admits that Latvia’s government does not plan on deciding on extension of the presence of Latvian National Armed Forces in the international operation against the Islamic State terrorist organization in Iraq during 7 January meeting. This topic has been pushed back to next week. This is because Latvia’s Defence Minister Artis Pabriks is currently away from Latvia. Once the government has made its decision, it will be up to the Saeima to make the final decision.

As it is known, six Latvian troops were engaged in the training of Iraqi Security Forces.

In 2014, the Iraqi government issued a request to all UN member states to provide support in the fights against Islamic State terrorist organization. In response to this request, USA composed the Inherent Resolve international military operation, which provides support in both military strikes and training of local security forces.

In 2015, the UN Security Council adopted the resolution in which UN member states are asked to perform all necessary steps to enhance and coordinate efforts in territories under control by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq to prevent terror attacks.

Since November 2014 Latvia has been a member of the International Coalition and has supported the coalition’s activities.

Read also: U.S. air strike on Iran general raises Middle East tensions

Latvia’s Saeima decided on 14 January 2016 to send NBS troops to the international operation against terrorism in Iraq. Troops were initially stationed there until 1 February 2018. The term was later extended until 1 February 2020.

Latvian instructors performed training of Iraqi Security Forces as part of Denmark’s contingent stationed in the joint US-Iraqi military base located 160 km to the west of Baghdad.

Even prior to the attack on the US embassy in Iraq and the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, Latvian Defence Ministry project’s annotation had written about extension of Latvian troops’ participation in the mission that the ministry sees an opportunity to increase Latvia’s contingent in Iraq to 30 instructors.

Last Friday, 3 January, US missile attack near Baghdad Airport killed ten people – five Iraqi citizens and five Iranian citizens, including Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps major general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi military group Hashed al Shaabi deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

This attack was aimed against Soleimani and was performed following the order from US President Donald Trump. After the missile attack, the Pentagon claimed «General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.» On top of that, USA blames Soleimani for his statement regarding approval of the pro-Iranian protesters attack on the US embassy in Baghdad on 31 December.

Iran threatens to take revenge for Soleimani’s death.

In response to the attack, Iraq’s parliament has demanded removal of US-led international coalition forces from the country.


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