The Dutch Ministry of Defense has halted special units training in the Iraqi capital Baghdad amid tension between the US and Iran. The Dutch soldiers of Corps Command Commandes train Iraqi commandos as part of the US-led international coalition fighting against the Islamic State (IS).
On Friday, a US-ordered drone strike at Baghdad airport killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, whom RTL Nieuws labels “Iran’s most popular soldier” and “the architect of much of the wars in the Middle East.”
The Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded with a call for 3 days of national mourning and for revenge against the US. Iranian President Hassan Rohani also supports avenging the execution, saying, “The martyrdom of Soleimani makes Iran even more determined when it comes to resisting US expansion and defending our Islamic values. Iran, with other countries in the region that want peace, will take revenge.”
On Sunday, Iraqi Parliament adopted a resolution urging the government to withdraw its request for assistance to the international coalition fighting IS and to eliminate the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.
RTL Nieuws reports the forty Dutch soldiers in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil will continue their mission, where the Ministry of Defense says they train Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers in “among other things, marksmanship, tactical action, military first aid and the detection and defusing of roadside bombs.” As part of the NATO mission in Iraq, the Dutch government also provides around 6 civilian and military experts who advise the Iraqi government.
NRC reports the Dutch deployment in Iraq is scheduled until 2021.
Featured image U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Lisa Soy