Amid rising tensions the Czech soldiers remain at their bases in Iraq

Amid rising tensions the Czech soldiers remain at their bases in Iraq
09 / 01 / 2020, 10:00

In accordance with international commitments, the number of Czech soldiers in training units in Iraq was increased within the OIR and the NMI missions. For this reason, it was necessary to take action and in the second half of 2018 the ACR Task Force Iraq was created. The Czech Army's Task Force Iraq logistically and administratively covers all units and elements of the Army of the Czech Republic operating in the territory of Iraq with the clear objective of rationalizing and centralizing the national system of comprehensive support of all Czech units deployed in favor of OIR and NMI operations. Unlike other countries, the Czech Republic keeps its troops in Iraq, awaiting the decision of the Iraqi government.

This organizational measure created a structure of command and control of all units and elements deployed in the OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve, military intervention against the Islamis State) and NMI (NATO Mission in Iraq, helping to strengthen Iraqi security forces and Iraqi military education institutions so that Iraqi forces can prevent the return of ISIS) missions under the unified command of the commander of the Task Force, who also performs the function of senior national representative of the Czech Army in Iraq. The commander of the TF Iraq also has the authority to acquire assets and services at the place of deployment to fulfill the operational task of all units, which leads to greater flexibility and cost savings.

Currently, the organizational structure of the Czech Army's 3rd Task Force Iraq includes:

  • Task Force Iraq Headquarters
  • 4th CBRN Training Team (August 2019 - February 2020), Al-Taji Base

The core of the 4th CBRN Training Team is formed by instructors of Czech Chemical Corps. The total size of the Team is currently 13 specialists from the 31st Regiment. The major task of the Team are advisory and mentoring activites during operations training of Iraqi Armed Forces' chemical specialists in the field of protection from weapons of mass destruction.

  • 5th Military Police Training Team (August 2019 - February 2020), Dublin base, Baghdad

The task of the Military Police Training Team (currently 24 policemen) is to advise and train Iraqi security forces. The core of the team is formed by personnel from the Military Police Headquarters in Olomouc, and they are complemented by military policemen of the Supreme Military Police Headquarters based in Prague.

  • Representation at OIR and NMI HQs in Baghdad, Al-Taj, Kuwait

The Czech personnel serve in various positions on different levels of OIR and NMI command structues.

Members of the 3rd Task Force are soldiers from Liberec, Prague, Náměšť nad Oslavou, Strakonice, Klatovy, Opava, Lipník and Olomouc. The core consists of members of the 31st Regiment of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection (from Liberec), which consists of the 311th and 312th Battalions of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection and of the 314th Weapons of Mass Destruction Warning Centre.

See also: Foreign deployments: Czech casualties since 1991

Czech Police

In addition to soldiers, there are also Czech police officers in Iraq. Five instructors train local colleagues in Baghdad. Two other groups of elite policemen from the Rapid Reaction Unit guard the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Irbil.

Current situation

On 5th January 2020, the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) has issued the following statement: „Our first priority is protecting all Coalition personnel committed to the defeat of Daesh.  Repeated rocket attacks over the last two months by elements of Kata'ib Hezbollah have caused the death of Iraqi Security Forces personnel and a U.S. civilian.  As a result we are now fully committed to protecting the Iraqi bases that host Coalition troops.  This has limited our capacity to conduct training with partners and to support their operations against Daesh and we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review.  We remain resolute as partners of the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people that have welcomed us into their country to help defeat ISIS.  We remain ready to return our full attention and efforts back to our shared goal of ensuring the lasting defeat of Daesh.“

The Czech foreign minister Petříček said: “After NATO suspended its training mission for Iraqi security forces, in which the Czech Republic has soldiers and police officers, it was understood that we would remain in place and await the outcome of consultations with the Iraqi government on how to proceed. The Iraqi Parliament’s appeal was made without the presence of Kurdish and Sunni deputies and is moreover not legally binding. The decisive word must come from the Iraqi government which invited the allied forces, not just to help in the fight against Islamic State militants but to train the local security forces. Of course, it is a government in demise, which makes things more complicated.”

Czech soldiers remain at their bases in Iraq. The Czech Republic will not imitate some member states of the North Atlantic Alliance that have decided to withdraw their troops home or temporarily move to other countries in the region.

“There was a meeting between the Minister (of Defence), Chief of General Staff and the Director of Military Intelligence. All the pros and cons were evaluated and the agreement is that if the situation changes in any way, they will immediately meet again and take measures, ”the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense Jan Pejšek said.

Tags of article

This website uses to provide services, personalize ads, and analyzing visitor cookies. By using this site you agree.More information