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NATO defense ministers agree to US demand for larger Iraq deployment

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NATO defense ministers agree to US demand for larger Iraq deployment
 NATO has agreed to deploy a larger military mission to Iraq after the US urged the Western military alliance to look into a long-term stay in the Arab country only after the defeat of the Daesh terror group there.
At a Thursday meeting in Brussels, NATO defense ministers reached an agreement to expand the alliance’s small mission in Iraq with the aim of providing “training” and “advice” to Iraqi armed forces.
The agreement was a positive response to a formal request sent to NATO last month by US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
“We will go to a consistent mission in Iraq,” Mattis told a news conference.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that not maintaining such mission on the ground would open the doors for resurgent terrorism.
He attributed the rise of Daesh in Iraq to the withdrawal in 2011 of the US military from the country.
“The lesson learned from Iraq [is that] it is dangerous to leave too early because we may be forced back into combat operations,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
The alliance will set the scope of mission with the aim of launching it in July at a NATO summit set to be attended by US President Donald Trump.
This is while Iraqi army forces, backed by popular volunteer fighters, managed last December to fully liberate their country of Takfiri Daesh militants, which had launched a campaign of terror there in 2014.
The US is pushing NATO to set up a long-term mission in post-Daesh Iraq amid fears among its European allies that they could be dragged into another Afghanistan-like quagmire.
The US first deployed forces to Iraq in 2003 under the banner of war on terror two years after invading Afghanistan under the same pretext. The deployment was followed by rampant violence and chaos, which set the stage for the emergence of Daesh in 2014.
Washington then mobilized scores of its allies in another mission to purportedly root out the terrorists. The US-led coalition, however, was suspiciously slow in progress, while its airstrikes against purported terrorist positions led to heavy civilian casualties and damage to Iraqi infrastructure.
Presstv