US Coalition Suspends Iraq Training Over Coronavirus Fears

Officials want to avoid large gatherings during pandemic

Coronavirus has taken the world by storm, and even in countries where it is not prevalent, like Iraq, the fear of being exposed to it has forced some major changes. The US-led coalition in Iraq, which had already paused training over military tensions, is keeping them paused.

Officials have made a conscious decision to avoid large gatherings of people to avoid spreading the virus, and that’s made training missions simply impractical to organize. There is no timetable for how long this could be on hold.

This sort of caution is putting a lot of military operations on hold, and while the Pentagon is presenting it as likely a few weeks, talk of the pandemic lasting as many as 18 months means at some point, they are likely going to have to reconsider if keeping troops lingering around waiting for the situations to resolve is worthwhile.

US forces have been redeploying around Iraq in recent weeks, ending smaller presences at certain bases, and focusing on military bases further east in the country, where larger numbers of troops were present.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.