NATO has announced today that it has agreed to an Iraqi military request to launch a new program to help retrain the nation’s military, and to help it “reform” its entire security sector. Iraq’s military, trained by the US and its allies during the occupation, has largely collapsed in the face of fighting with ISIS.
The NATO training program will be conducted in Turkey and Jordan, according to officials, so there is at present no intention to permanently station NATO forces inside Iraq to conduct the training program.
That’s likely to change, of course, as efforts to “reform” Iraq’s security forces can’t possibly happen entirely abroad, but NATO is trying to downplay just how big of a commitment they are making right now, and will slowly escalate the mission.
The timing of the announcement is believed to be related to Turkey’s increased military involvement against ISIS, and the “emergency” NATO meeting Tuesday called by Turkey likely played a role in this decision to accept a long-standing request from Iraq.