More than half a thousand of Spanish military personnel provide training to the bodies and security forces in Iraq, one of the countries most troubled of the world, who lives these days turbulence additional. The approximately 550 Spanish there leading up the second mission, largest of Spain on the outside, with a daunting task: improve the capabilities of the iraqi forces in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIS, for its acronym in English). The escalation of tension between the united States and Iran has been forced this week to relocate to 10 Spanish military personnel who were in Baghdad. In principle, this is an isolated event. Except that the uncertainty that surrounds the region obliges to rethink the strategy, the will to Spanish is to keep the bulk of the troops in their roles, as explained by government sources.
Despite the large volume of troops that comprise it —only the UN mission in Lebanon has more Spanish—, the work in Iraq have nothing to do with a combat mission. Nor with control zones of occupation, as happened in 2003. The Spanish troops in Iraq are limited to do work of training and advice, and represent 5% of the approximately 11,000 soldiers deployed in Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait, according to this newspaper, a spokesman for the International Coalition against the Daesh (an acronym in Arabic of the ISIS), formed in 2014 and composed of 60 countries to fight against the self-proclaimed caliphate.
in Addition to that task, involving highly qualified staff, it also stresses the contribution of the helicopters that Spain has moved there. “Are scarce goods, which are used to move troops, to evacuate and to work logistics, and that are highly appreciated by the International Coalition anti-Daesh”, explains Félix Arteaga, security expert at the Real Instituto Elcano.
The Spanish presence in iraqi territory is distributed in four points. The first and most comprehensive is Besmayah, a city south of the capital where the military base Great Captain provide training to the armed forces of the country. There are also staff in Baghdad (now only three remain in the military), in Al Taqaddum, and in Taji. In this last town, military Special Operations training to units, service counter-terrorism, according to official information of the Ministry of Defence.
The Spanish force add to that the military and the assets belonging to the called Task Force Bull, the helicopter unit that provides air transportation to the troops of the coalition against ISIS. Defense accurate in its web page that has Chinook helicopters and Cougar. Finally, there is a unity of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, which were deployed at the base of Al Asad in October 2017, which serves as a logistical support, among others, to the Spanish forces. The ministry has declined to offer more information “for the safety of the people there deployed”.
“What I want to know is how to affect the past events to the missions there deployed. Right now everything is pending the decision of the iraqi Government,” analyzes Félix Arteaga. Following the relocation of the 10 Spanish military, the Government limited itself to noting that “any decision will be taken under the umbrella of NATO or the coalition.”Updated Date: 10 January 2020, 00:00