Canadian NATO commander wary of ‘underground’ threats ahead of Iraq training mission – National


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The Canadian commander of NATO‘s new mission to coach navy instructors in Iraq says he has a difficult job on his arms, however one which might be very important to selling long-lasting stability within the nation.

Maj.-Gen Dany Fortin will oversee a “practice the coach” mission, the mandate of which will likely be to show Iraqi navy instructors to impart key expertise resembling bomb disposal, fight drugs, gear upkeep and logistics to their trainees.

Some 250 Canadians will likely be amongst Fortin’s roughly 500-strong contingent within the mission, which Canada dedicated to main in its first yr.

READ MORE: Right here’s what you’ll want to learn about Canada’s latest NATO coaching mission in Iraq

Fortin, who was named commander of the first Canadian Division in Kingston, Ont. in April, stated the most important problem will likely be for NATO and Canadian personnel to mould their working strategies to the wants of Iraqi forces.

“[The challenge] will likely be to actually a get a great understanding of what the wants of the Iraqis are, not what we predict they’re,” Fortin advised International Information.

“So we’re going to must adapt a couple of of our processes so it is smart to them, it matches with their values, their concepts… and I believe that’ll be a little bit of a problem.”

WATCH: Trudeau publicizes Canada to steer NATO mission in Iraq

The coaching mission comes amid what Fortin termed a “turning level” in Iraq, with the Iraqi authorities eager to consolidate management and construct up its navy capability after dealing a number of defeats to Islamic State militants with the assistance of Western coalition companions.

“We’re at some extent the place we collectively must concentrate on stabilization efforts,” Fortin stated. “Daesh now’s not capable of preserve management over giant items of floor, unable to mount complicated operations.”

WATCH: Freeland, Sajjan focus on new Canadian navy mission in Iraq

Nonetheless, the territorial losses suffered by Islamic State militants doesn’t imply the risk posed by them has disappeared altogether, Fortin cautioned.

“It’s a fancy safety setting in Iraq, there’s little doubt about it, it’s nonetheless very a lot harmful,” he stated. “There’s nonetheless a risk that’s underground. It’s gone underground and it’s very a lot attainable for remoted incidents to happen, so we now have to be very protected.

“However I wish to reassure Canadians that as a common, I’ve my eye on power safety, on medical protection, on the morale and welfare of our troops — NATO troops in addition to Canadians.”

Fortin stated he anticipates deploying to Iraq in late October, and that the construction of the coaching mission will turn into extra clear within the late fall as soon as the wants of Iraqi forces are assessed.

— With information from Abigail Bimman

© 2018 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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