News BlogGulf Middle EastMissions Operations

Coalition against Daesh. Unnecessary personnel evacuated. Europeans leave Baghdad and some bases in Iraq (v3)

(B2) It appears that there was a generalized order to evacuate military personnel present as part of the coalition operation against Daesh, Inherent Resolve, and the NATO training mission in Iraq. And this movement could accelerate in the coming days

German soldiers deployed on operations (© Bundeswehr / Jana Leuman – Archives B2)

A very real order...

La leaked letter of the U.S. commander in Iraq, Marine Gen. William H. Seely, was perhaps " a draft » authentic, as the American authorities argue, it seems to have been followed in spirit. A letter recommending (or ordering) the redeployment of troops present in 'central' Iraq (Badgad, central Iraq, etc.) outside the country, to neighboring Kuwait for HQ personnel, or to Jordan for example.

…transmitted to coalition partners

The German Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs refer to it in their letter sent to the Bundestag (read: Germany withdraws troops from Baghdad and central Iraq). And in several European capitals, a decision was taken and announced to temporarily withdraw their troops from Iraq and redeploy them to other nearby countries. A decision " taken for security reasons ". Canada, which has a large contingent (around 500 personnel, half in the NATO training mission in Iraq (NMI), the remainder in the coalition against Daesh, aka Operation 'Impact' for Canadians) announced transfer certain personnel to Kuwait. A transfer which results from a “ coalition and NATO planning writes the Chief of the Defense Staff, General JH Vance in a letter sent to families on January 7.

Fear of an attackgreen on blue'

What the military fears, above all (for the moment), are more so-called 'Green on blue' attacks, coming from (Iraqi) military personnel trained by Coalition or NATO troops or from employees locals, as well as air strikes (1).

A dozen countries have already or are in the process of withdrawing their troops

According to information provided officially, and compiled by B2, the Germans, British, Bulgarians (two officers repatriated to Kuwait), Croats (21 soldiers), Latvians, Romanians (14 soldiers), Slovaks, Slovenes (six soldiers), already proceeded with the withdrawal or relocation of their troops. Others did it partially for a few officers present in Baghdad, such as the Spaniards (10 soldiers out of the 13 in Baghdad), the Dutch or the Lithuanians (3 soldiers out of the 15 in Iraq). Some countries (Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Sweden) did not carry out such repatriation, sometimes simply because their troops were not in central Iraq, but in Iraqi Kurdistan.

A movement set to accelerate

The latest Iranian missile strikes, notably in Erbil, Kurdistan this Wednesday morning, could change the situation and lead to a withdrawal or security of certain additional personnel. Much will depend on the coalition command's assessment of the internal threat. To be continued…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Updated at 18 p.m., 20 p.m. and 23 p.m. with details on several countries (Lithuania, Canada, Netherlands)

  1. The bases of the coalition have already been the target on several occasions in recent weeks of rocket fire: “ thirteen attacks in total in the last two months “says on January 5, the spokesman, Colonel Myles B. Caggins III on Twitter. The last two dating from January 4 with two rocket attacks on Baghdad and Balad.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).