Finnish contingent’s work in Iraq
The Finnish crisis management contingent in Iraq continues its training mission in 2019. The contingent is tasked to support the multinational operation, Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), led by the United States, to defeat the Daesh organisation.
Training duties are carried out in two bases: one of the training bases is in the area governed by Iraq’s central government and the other near the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq; this is where the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center (KTCC) is in charge of the training.
As part of the international troops, the Finnish protection force started its mission in the area governed by Iraq’s central government at the beginning of 2018. The protection force is tasked to strengthen the existing multinational coalition in the area, working as a part of the protection, close defence and self-protection arrangements of the base. The contingent working under KTCC Erbil gives training to Kurd security authorities in separate training bases.
In early 2018, the training focus moved to training Iraqi army troops in the area governed by Iraq’s central government. To safeguard training and to improve force protection, armoured patrol vehicles RG32 were made available for the Finnish contingent in August 2018.
The Iraqi army soldiers have received training for teams in defensive combat and assault training, combat in built-up areas, firing practice and medical training. As training in the Kurdistan region of Iraq has progressed gradually to training the trainers, the Finns have become more mentors. Peshmerga fighters’ training has consisted of military company tactics, marksmanship and medical training.
During 2018, the Finnish mission was responsible for training a total of 170 Iraqi army soldiers and 594 Kurdistan’s Peshmerga fighters. The ultimate goal of all training given in Iraq is to support the country in building a sustainable security structure of their own.
The security situation on Iraq has remained stable and has appeared that way for the Finnish contingent. Firing or explosives have not been directed at the contingent during the past year, and security-threatening disturbances have not taken place in their vicinity.
Since the beginning of 2015, Finland has contributed with training and advisory tasks in the operation as a part of the international operation to defeat Daesh. The fact that chief petty officer Topi from Finland was chosen as the trainer of the month in July 2018, from among more than over 70 countries participating in the operation, serves as proof that Finnish trainers are highly appreciated.
The joint meeting between the President of the Republic and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy decided in summer 2018 that Finland’s participation in the OIR operation in Iraq will continue with about 80 personnel as of the beginning of 2019. In addition to training and advisory tasks, Finland’s contribution will include necessary staff, administrative and support functions.