SPAIN’S Government has ordered the immediate withdrawal of Spanish Several in Iraq, as tensions continue to mount between the US and Iran.
Much had been speculated on the safety and position of the Spanish soldiers stationed on the ground in Iraq, after intelligence indicated that European troops would be targeted in response to the US execution of General Iranian General Qassem, ordered by President Donald Trump.
NATO had issued a state-wide warning, strongly urged that all training activities should be temporarily suspended, a decision which the German Government rapidly followed. This led to Spain’s Ministry of Defence examining the dangers posed to the Spanish troops, where it was stated that the government would ensure measures were taken to ensure their security.
Foreign forces were deployed in Iraq primarily as part of a US-led coalition against the threat of terrorism, where they trained Iraqi security forces against the threat of Islamic State militants. This included some 500 Spanish troops, where the majority are stationed in Besmayah, with others in Taji and Baghdad.
However, governmental officials have confirmed that the withdrawal of Spanish troops would be imminent, where ten soldiers who were part go the NATO mission left Baghdad this on Monday evening, during an evacuation by the Alliance of Base Union III at the city’s headquarters.
“At our meeting today, Allies expressed their strong support for the fight against ISIS and for the #NATO mission in #Iraq. In everything that we do, the safety of our personnel is paramount. As such, we have temporarily suspended our training on the ground,” – @jensstoltenberg pic.twitter.com/htkIA7dIcb
— Oana Lungescu (@NATOpress) January 6, 2020
According to the Ministry of Defence, these 10 soldiers are on their way to Kuwait, where the remaining troops are thought to follow suit as the threat of war continues to rage on in the country.
According to the Ministry, they reaffirm that although the mission remains unchanged, all future decisions will be made under the NATO coalition itself, as has been the case with the withdrawal of troops from Baghdad. The acting Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, also spoke to the press today (January 7), and stressed that the situation in Besmayah is reported to be stable stressing that the troops were being attentive and prepared.