The Defence has decided to temporarily halt all its training activities in Iraq following the US drone attack that killed the high-profile Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, on Thursday night.
The Danish training of Iraqi forces is part of the US-led operation Operation Inherent Resolve, while Denmark also contributes a handful of officers to NATO’s Mission Iraq in Baghdad. Both Danish efforts are temporarily put on hold for security reasons.
“Specifically, the soldiers are in heightened awareness about their own safety. This means that, among other things, Danish soldiers wear their security equipment and they congregate more often than usual,” the Defence said, according to DR Nyheder.
Staying put, for now
Denmark has had a military presence in Iraq since 2014, taking part in the fight against the jihadist organisation, Islamic State (IS). But in recent years, the Danish duties have mostly revolved around training and advising the Iraqi army.
The Danes have also pledged to send two separate naval contributions to the Strait of Hormuz in 2020 as part of a European-led mission.
There are about 140 Danish military personnel in Iraq at the moment and PM Mette Frederiksen has yet to make a decision about their future following the drone attack on Soleimani late Thursday night.
“It’s too early to come to conclusions regarding the Danish troops and our military presence,” Frederiksen told DR Nyheder.
However, as is the case with many other world leaders and foreign policy experts, Frederiksen does fear that the killing of Soleimani could lead to an escalation of conflict in the region.