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UK and Iraq sign anti-ISIS memorandum of understanding

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UK and Iraq sign anti-ISIS memorandum of understanding

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:33 am

UK and Iraq sign anti-ISIS
memorandum of understanding

Iraq signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Thursday, as Britain continues to train Iraqi security forces in their ongoing battle against Islamic State (ISIS) insurgency

Defence minister Najah al-Shammari signed the agreement with British counterpart Ben Wallace in London on Thursday, according to an Iraqi Ministry of Defence readout, with the aim of “developing military ties between the two countries.”

A British MoD news release on Thursday termed the agreement a “future defence relationship.”

“This document is a signal of our commitment to continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Iraq until that danger [ISIS] has been diminished, and also to form a longer-term defence relationship,“ the release from London read.

The agreement “focuses on military education,” with the UK working with Iraqi Security Forces to “develop their [Iraqi] intelligence structures and provide wider training and development,” it added.

Around 500 British personnel are currently training Iraqi forces. To date, over 100,000 Iraqi security personnel have been trained in “infantry, weapons maintenance, counter IED, medical and engineering skills,” according to the MoD.

Its forces undertook military action as part of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, after the Islamic State swept through Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014.

Iraq announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in December 2017, following a three years fight that left much of Iraq’s Sunni heartland devastated.

However, Iraq and Syria are currently seeing resurgence in ISIS activity. The group has reverted to sleeper cell operation and the use of insurgency tactics, including ambushes, kidnaps and killings of officials, tribal heads and civilians alike.

ISIS has been particularly potent in Iraqi territory disputed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad.

    According to an August 2 Pentagon report, the group have been able to “rebuild in remote territory” and “recruit in these areas [Iraq’s northern and western provinces] using family and tribal connections.”

    In an effort to quell the resurgence, Iraqi forces have conducted a host of operations in these areas in recent weeks.
Despite the threats posed by ISIS to Iraq, Iran-aligned politicians and militia leaders have previously called for the expulsion of foreign forces from the country.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has defended the US-led presence in Iraq, asserting that it is present with government permission.

In Thursday’s statement, Wallace admitted that the threat posed by Daesh and al-Qaeda are “very real”.

“The work our personnel are doing in Iraq to help them combat the scourge of terrorism is absolutely vital.”

    “Not only are we making a valued international partner more self-sufficient for the future, but we are also keeping our own streets safer by suppressing the spread of Daesh’s evil ideology,” Wallace was quoted as saying, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
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UK and Iraq sign anti-ISIS memorandum of understanding



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