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Canada to head up NATO training mission in Iraq

14 July 2018

The Canadian troops will be deployed in the Baghdad region starting in the fall of 2018 to help "Iraq build a more effective national security structure and improve training for Iraqi security forces", said a government statement on Wednesday.

Canadian forces have been tapped to lead NATO's new military adviser mission in Iraq, as the alliance looks to expand and extend its operations in the war-torn country.

"Ottawa should, and ought to, remain engaged in the security of the Baltic states as long as the threat remains and as long as the alliance remains ultimately unified in its determination to provide collective security for all its members". They are the U.S., Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has a 16,000-strong military training effort there, and British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday that her country would provide 440 more personnel.

"We're doing good things in Latvia, we're one of four countries that are leading the battle groups. but the two that the secretary general tracks in his report, we have five out of about 18,000 troops".

Trump has threatened to pull out of the alliance entirely if other member nations don't pony up.

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The department's explanation makes sense, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, calling it laudable that the government is investing more in pay and pensions for service members. Trump warned Stoltenberg, "We're not going to put up with it, we can't put up with it", demanding that other states step up military spending. "Will they reimburse the USA?"

The prime minister is expected to use the extension to defend Canada from criticism from Trump that America's northern neighbour is not spending enough on defence.

Prior to the June NATO meeting and this week's annual ministerial, Pentagon sources told The Washington Times that Mr. Mattis meant to present the USA plan to expand the size and scope of the Iraqi military training operation - putting it on par with the ongoing mission in Afghanistan. A fractured summit would play directly into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump meets next week in Helsinki.

"The Trump-Putin summit could potentially aggravate USA allies who want to isolate Putin", said Jayson Derow, a research analyst at the NATO Association of Canada.

But any increases in military spending will not come as a result of pressure to do so from "people talking about a two per cent goal", he said when asked about Trump, but rather because of a desire to live up to the country's commitments to its military allies around the world.

Canada to head up NATO training mission in Iraq