NATO's assistance to Iraq
In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1546, the NATO Training Mission – Iraq (NTM-I) was set up in 2004 shortly after the Istanbul Summit at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government to provide training, assistance, and equipment to the Iraqi Security Forces. NTM-I is not a combat mission, its goal is to help Iraq develop a democratically led and enduring security sector that addresses the needs of the population. The Mission influences professional institutions of the Iraqi Security Forces to build enduring, sustainable capabilities, working directly with partners in the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior to build capabilities that provide internal security and build a foundation to defend against external threats.
By providing mentoring, advice and instruction support through in and out of country training, NTM-I has made a tangible contribution to the rebuilding of military leadership in Iraq and the development of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and the Iraqi Security Forces.
In 2007, NATO allies extended their training assistance to Iraq to include gendarmerie-type training of the Iraqi Federal Police in order to bridge the gap between routine police work and military operations. In total, NTM-I has trained nearly 9,000 Iraqi Federal police, 2500 Iraqi officers, 200 SNCOs and sent over 1800 members of Iraq's Security Forces on out-of-country training courses since the beginning of the mission in 2004.
NTM-I delivers its training, advice and mentoring support in a number of different settings. Twenty-three NATO member countries and one partner country have contributed to the training effort in or outside Iraq, through financial contributions or donations of equipment, since the mission began in 2004. Currently 13 members and one partner country are represented in Iraq: Albania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Turkey, The United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Ukraine. Through its activities, NTM-I is also helping pave the way for a long-term relationship between the Alliance and Iraq under a Structured Cooperation Framework.
The history of NATO's training effort in Iraq
In a letter sent to the Secretary General on 22 June 2004, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister llyad Allawi requested NATO support to his government through training and other forms of technical assistance.
At their Summit meeting in Istanbul on 28 June 2004 – the day that sovereignty was formally transferred to an interim Iraqi Government – NATO leaders agreed to assist Iraq with the training of its security forces and encouraged member countries to contribute.
A Training Implementation Mission was established on 30 July 2004. Its goal was to identify the best methods for conducting training both inside and outside the country. In addition, the mission immediately began training selected Iraqi headquarters personnel in Iraq.
The elements of the mission deployed on 7 August, followed by a team of about 50 officers led by Major General Carel Hilderink of the Netherlands.
Expanding NATO's Assistance
On 22 September 2004, based in the mission's recommendations, the North Atlantic Council agreed to expand NATO's assistance, including establishing a NATO-supported Iraqi Training, Education and Doctrine Centre in Iraq.
In November 2004, NATO's military authorities prepared a detailed concept of operations for the expanded assistance, including the rules of engagement for force protection.
On 9 December 2004, NATO Foreign Ministers authorised the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to start the next stage of the mission.
The activation order for this next stage was given by SACEUR on 16 December 2004. It paved the way for the deployment of 300 additional staff, and a significant increase in the existing training and mentoring given to mid-and senior-level personnel from the Iraqi Security Forces.
It also changed the mission's name from NATO Training Implementation Mission to the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I).
By February 2005, the new mission was fully staffed and funded.
Niche training options
At the summit meeting in Riga, November 2006, NATO Heads of State and government agreed to develop niche training options within the mandate of the NTM-I at the request of the Iraqi Prime Minister. A few months later, training was extended to include gendarmerie-type training of the national police.
In December 2008, the mission was expanded in other areas. These areas include police training, defence reform, defence institution-building and standardisation of officer education and training. In 2011 navy and air force leadership training will also commence, Also in 2008, at the Bucharest Summit, NATO leaders responded positively to Iraq's request to develop a long-term partnership under the auspices of a Structured Cooperation Framework.
Legal status of NTM-I Personnel in Iraq
On 26 July 2009, NATO and the Government of the republic of Iraq signed a long term agreement regarding the training of Iraqi Security Forces. This agreement provides legal protection for NATO to continue with its training mission until December 2011.