Canada deploys 250 troops to Iraq, offers to lead NATO mission


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SULAIMANI – The Canadian Prime Minister said on Wednesday (July 12) that his county will provide Iraq with helicopters and 250 troops offering to lead the first year of a NATO training mission in Iraq.

“Canada is going to commit 250 troops, a number of helicopter and we are actually offering to command that mission [training] for the first year,” said Justin Trudeau.

The offer by Canada to command a NATO training mission in Iraq later this year comes as Donald Trump berated alliance members for not spending enough on defense.

“We are going to be looking with great interest this afternoon as NATO announces that we are going to engage in Iraq as an alliance, capacity building, training, that next step in the challenge in Iraq which was first defeating Daesh,” said Trudeau at a highly anticipated NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

Trump has been loudly criticizing allies, including Canada, Germany and others, for failing to hit the target investment of two per cent that NATO members have agreed to strive for by 2024.

In a stinging attack on his NATO allies, Trump said in a post on his Twitter account "Many countries in Nato, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2 per cent (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?

He later added: "The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (US has a $151bn trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through Nato, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!"

Canadian special forces stopped providing training for the Peshmerga as part of the US-led coalition tasked with eradicating Islamic State (ISIS) from Iraq.

Ottawa suspended training support for the Kurdish forces October 2017 in the aftermath of independence referendum by the Kurdistan Region.