At today’s sitting, the Government of the Republic decided to submit a proposal to the Riigikogu to issue the Defence Forces a mandate to participate, with up to ten servicemen, in a foreign training mission, to train Iraqi security forces fighting against the terrorist group ISIL.
Up to six instructors from the Defence Forces would participate under the valid mandate as part of the Danish contingent of the US-led operation Inherent Resolve. The servicemen would be serving in Anbar province, western Iraq.
According to Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso, Estonia will continue to cooperate with its Allies in ensuring international stability and security outside of our own region, thereby ensuring our own security.
“As a member of NATO, Estonia is not only a consumer of security, but also a producer. We support our Allies with contributions to the best of our capability, wherever our help is needed,” said Hanso. “The armed conflict in Iraq and Syria affects the security situation of Estonia as well as the entire Alliance; therefore, our participation in the mission is necessary.”
Estonian servicemen will be heading to Iraq as instructors, in order to train members of the Iraqi security forces. Estonian servicemen will not participate in direct combat activities, either as separate units, or as part of Iraqi units or the units of other countries.
Instructors from the Estonian Defence Forces would belong to the Danish contingent. The Danish contingent is comprised of approx. 150 servicemen and is located in the western section of Iraq, in the base located in Anbar Province. Danish servicemen are also involved in training Iraqi security forces. At the same time, training is organised on the base by representatives from the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries.
The US-led broad-based international coalition is fighting against the extremist group ISIL, mainly in Iraq and Syria. The objective of Operation Inherent Resolve, which began on 15 June 2014, is direct and supportive military activity against ISIL.
Estonian servicemen are participating in the operation at the invitation of Iraq. Iraq has called on countries to provide assistance via the UN, and the foreign ministries of Estonia and Iraq have exchanged diplomatic notes in order to accept the operation of Estonian servicemen in Iraq and guarantee their rights.
If the Riigikogu issues a mandate, six servicemen would begin participating in the mission as of this summer.