Defence & Security News - Spain / Iraq
|Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:00 AM|
|Spain will send 300 soldiers to train Iraqi Army|
On October 22, the Congress of Deputies of Spain (the lower house of Parliament) has voted in favor of sending troops with a large majority (314 lawmakers on a total of 329 present members). Spanish soldiers will be deployed at the end of 2014 in the south of Iraq.
Addressing lawmakers, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes said:'IS (Islamic State) is a rather strong enemy. They have at least 30,000 militants, about 12,000 of which are foreigners. They have a lot of seized artillery ammunition in northern and central parts of the country.'
The Spanish mission will be the contribution of Spain to the international coalition against Jihadism, led by the U.S.. The lawmakers also authorised the U.S. forces to use the Spanish bases of Rota and Morón in support of their troops.
Minister Morenes has detailled the deployment of the Spanish troops. 20 officers will go to the coalition's headquarters. 95 coachs will train a brigade of the Iraqi army, especially about explosives. Another 80 Spanish soldiers will be assigned to command and control, intelligence and Force Protection.
The Minister said that the special operations unit could be sent out earlier to join the coalition fighting the jihadists.
The mission will cost 35 million Euros for six months of deployment. Spanish troops will be deployed to a base in Tallil, in the province of Nasiriya.
While Morenés at no point mentioned the 2003 war in Iraq – Spain’s involvement that caused outrage among many of its citizens – he underscored that the current operation respects international law because the legitimate government of Baghdad has requested assistance from the United Nations. Spain was the first country to withdraw its troops from Iraq in 2004, after a terrorist attack in Madrid on March 11, 2004, which claimed 191 lives.