Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Nato’s training mission in Iraq is over

Nato ended its training mission in Iraq on Saturday as alliance officials lamented the collapse of a deal to extend it because Baghdad refused to grant its troops immunity from prosecution.

US lieutenant general Robert Caslen, the head of the Nato training mission, said the alliance had been willing to sign a deal with Iraq’s government and did not require parliamentary approval, but Baghdad’s lawyers said MPs would need to vote on any pact.

By contrast, the collapse of an agreement for a post-2011 US training mission, which was being discussed between Baghdad and Washington, was due to the US’s insistence that it be approved by lawmakers.

The United States has signed over its final base in the country, and virtually all remaining American forces in Iraq are due out in the coming days.

Admiral James Stavridis, Nato’s supreme allied commander of Europe, said in a letter addressed to Caslen and read out at Saturday’s ceremony that “there were hopes to continue the mission beyond 2011, and we are concluding earlier than we had hoped”.

‘Unfortunate’
Caslen told reporters after the ceremony that Nato was willing to sign an agreement with Iraq’s executive, “but … as the lawyers reviewed it and looked at it, they thought that the immunities had to go back down to the parliament”.

“They knew they weren’t going to get that [approved]”, he said.

He continued: “The secretary general of Nato had the authority to go ahead and approve it with whatever [authority] the Iraqi government decided.”

“So the issue ended up being who in the Iraqi government had the authority to approve this … It turned out to be, Iraqi law said the authority had to be at the legislative level”.

He added that the lack of a post-2011 Nato training mission was “unfortunate”.

On November 29, a Nato spokesperson said the alliance had been asked by Maliki to “extend its training mission until the end of 2013” and that it had “accepted this request in principle”.

Nato’s training mission in Iraq was aimed at assisting “in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions”, and as of November 2011, 12 countries were represented in its force, comprising 120 soldiers. All will leave by year-end.

A post-2011 training mission would have involved 110 Nato soldiers, Caslen said. — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Petro states: What happens when 30% of your national budget...

As the demand for oil shrinks and prices collapse, Africa’s petro states — the likes of Angola, Nigeria, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea — will be left with massive holes in their budgets

More top stories

Petro states: What happens when 30% of your national budget...

As the demand for oil shrinks and prices collapse, Africa’s petro states — the likes of Angola, Nigeria, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea — will be left with massive holes in their budgets

Europe, Asia rob West Africa of fish

Greenpeace Africa reports that the fishmeal and fish oil industry is ‘robbing the Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal of livelihoods and food’

Covid jab tech helps fight malaria

An estimated two-thirds of malaria deaths are among children under the age of five, most of them in Africa.

Learners moving to other provinces puts education departments under pressure

Gauteng and the Western Cape struggle to put children in class, but Limpopo and the Eastern Cape are closing schools as enrolment plummets
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×