Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 20th, 2018

NATO Allies Offer Trainers, Seek to Set Disputes Aside

NATO Allies Offer Trainers,  Seek to Set Disputes Aside

BRUSSELS — Canada on Wednesday offered to lead NATO’s new military training mission in Iraq, as the world’s biggest security alliance seeks to prove it remains relevant despite deep trans-Atlantic divisions over trade, Iran and climate change.
With President Donald Trump lashing out at allies like Canada and Germany for failing to respect their defense spending pledges, NATO is keen to demonstrate at a summit in Brussels that it remains capable of confronting an aggressive Russia and playing a major role the fight against terrorism.
Canada is projected to spend just over 1.2 percent of gross domestic product on defense this year — well below the 2-percent target — but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his country plays a prominent role in NATO missions and is investing heavily in new military equipment.
In a possible attempt to outflank Trump’s demands for money, Trudeau announced that Canada would lead the Iraq training and military academy building mission for the first year, and stands ready to provide 250 troops and an unspecified number of helicopters.
The mission is part of the 29-member alliance’s attempt to help Iraq rebuild and ensure that the Islamic State group can’t gain a new foothold there. NATO leaders are expected to announce later Wednesday that they will expand the mission from around a dozen troops currently to several hundred trainers operating out of the capital, Baghdad.
“We have to build that democracy and strengthen it,” Trudeau said at a German Marshall Fund event on the sidelines of the two-day summit.
“Those sorts of tangible elements are at the heart of what NATO stands for,” he said. “You can try and be a bean counter and look at exactly how much this and how much money that, but the fundamental question is: is what you’re doing actually making a difference?” (AP)