Opposition wants to prolong Danish involvement against IS

Venstre and Konservative want to continue the war beyond the end of the annual mandate in October

Venstre and Konservative have announced their support to continue military action against Islamic State, with both parties ready to renew the Danish annual mandate in October.

Denmark has played a significant role in the fight against IS, contributing with aerial bombardments and the training of Iraqi security forces. Since October last year, the Danish F-16 aircraft have been deployed over 300 times in an attempt to stop IS resurfacing in Iraq.

According to Venstre, the efforts will not stop until the annual mandate formally expires in October.

“We propose to extend our contribution. We continue to believe there must be Danish fighter aircraft present in Iraq, and we strongly believe we need soldiers to train Iraqi security forces,” Venstre’s defence spokesperson Troels Lund Poulseri told Politiken.

“In the coming months, we must discuss how comprehensive the new mandate must be, both in terms of economics and time.”

IS must be defeated – whatever the cost
Mike Legarth from Konservative says the mandate should “definitely” be extended.

“We have not spent a penny too much in Iraq,” Legarth told Politiken.

“Islamic State is a brutal and hideous terrorist organisation that must be defeated and obliterated – whatever the cost. We are willing to continue our efforts until Islamic State is eradicated. Maybe we are being pessimists, but we do not expect that we will reach that goal before October 1.”

Lidegaard yet to decide
The debate on the military effort has been renewed after IS seized control of the provincial capital of Ramadi, just 100 km from Baghdad, and it would appear that the whole of Parliament agrees there is still a long way to go before the threat of IS is neutralised.

The foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, also recognises this. However, he says he is yet to consider a new mandate.

“I acknowledge the opposition’s view on the mandate, and it may very well be the conclusion [to continue the mission in Iraq],” Lidegaard told Politiken.

“However, we are yet to take a position on the matter. We must first assess the coalition’s needs.”