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France suspends, in turn, its operations in Iraq

(B2) A week after the British, the French General Staff announced on Wednesday (March 25) to suspend its training operations in Iraq

Training in Iraq of French soldiers from Chammal (credit: EMA / DICOD 2018 - B2 archives)

A request from the Iraqi government

A decision taken in the wake of the decision of the coalition “ to adjust its system in Iraq » and who answers « Iraqi government request and the coronavirus crisis. With Iraqi security force training activities suspended, the British had already packed up last week (read: Training missions in Iraq are on hold! Brits, Spaniards… go home).

More than a hundred soldiers return

Operation Chammal personnel deployed in Iraq in this context will thus be repatriated. A hundred soldiers engaged in the 'training' pillar, as well as the national support elements stationed within the operation headquarters Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Baghdad, with the Iraqi army, are returning to France from 26 March.

Always committed by other means

France remains however engaged in the Levant, because the fight against Daesh continues “says the staff. The presence of soldiers inserted in the structures ofInherent Resolve in Kuwait and Qatar as well as maritime deployments in the Syria Channel remain topical. But above all, the French soldiers continue to participate in the air component which makes daily flights from the planned air base in Jordan and the coalition air base in Qatar. Training activities will resume as soon as the situation permits ».

Comment: this withdrawal does not seem to be justified solely by the current epidemic

It was just as much the security conditions and the growing temptation within the Iraqi government to no longer have Western troops permanently in the country that precipitated this departure. These reasons are clearly set out by other countries.

Prague had taken the same decision yesterday (Tuesday March 24) justifying it with four reasons: the reduction of operations, security threats, the coronavirus epidemic and the mission's restructuring project. 30 soldiers have thus returned, according to CTK and Radio Prague, most of them were responsible for training Iraqi pilots of Czech-made L-159 ground attack aircraft. Others dealt with chemical weapons or were military police.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).