Iraq Sees No Need In Increasing NATO Forces On Its Soil, Able To Defend Itself - Lawmaker

Iraq Sees No Need in Increasing NATO Forces on Its Soil, Able to Defend Itself - Lawmaker

Iraq sees no need for the growth of NATO forces on its territory, Amer al-Fayez, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary committee for foreign relations, told Sputnik on Friday, adding that the Iraqi troops are capable of containing the aggression on their own

BAGHDAD (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 19th February, 2021) Iraq sees no need for the growth of NATO forces on its territory, Amer al-Fayez, a member of the Iraqi parliamentary committee for foreign relations, told Sputnik on Friday, adding that the Iraqi troops are capable of containing the aggression on their own.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the organization confirmed the alliance plans to expand its training mission in Iraq and gradually increase the alliance's forces there from 500 to 4,000 people. Stoltenberg and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi discussed the mission's build-up before the videoconference of NATO defense ministers.

"There is no need in an increase in the number of NATO forces in Iraq, Iraq does not require any foreign troops. ... The Iraqi security forces ... are able to deter any aggression against Iraq, and they have proven it during the war against the Islamic State [terrorist organization, banned in Russia]," al-Fayez said.

Any request for the mission's expansion from the country's government should first receive legislative approval, the lawmaker added, noting that parliament did not give its blessing.

"Parliament will seek clarification and inquire from the government for what reasons it asked to raise the number of NATO forces," al-Fayez said.

However, if the government expected to replace the US armed forces remaining in Iraq with the NATO contingent, then it should have been brought under the legislature's consideration, the lawmaker noted.

NATO established a training and capacity-building mission in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government in October 2018. It involves around 500 trainers, advisors and support personnel from the alliance's members and partner states, including Australia, Sweden and Finland. NATO has stressed the mission's non-combat nature and full respect for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Iraqi legislature moved in early January 2020 to end the presence of foreign military after a US strike killed an Iraqi militia leader and top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.