Britain to expand Iraq training mission to counter ISIL

The United Kingdom is to expand its military training mission in Iraq in the coming weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Sunday, saying the Iraqi army needed more help to deal with improvised bombs planted by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
Cameron, speaking at a meeting of the G7 group of industrial nations, said Britain would send 125 new military aisers to Iraq, most of whom would train the Iraqi army in how to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs). That will take the total number of British military trainers in Iraq up to 275, officials said, and the overall number of British personnel engaged in various roles against ISIL across the region to around 900.
andquotWeand’re already the second-largest contributor in terms of air strikes in Iraq and support for the Syrian opposition,andquot Cameron told reporters at the G7 in Germany. andquotBut Iand’m announcing today that weand’re increasing our training effort in Iraq. Itand’s a particular request the Abadi government has made itand’s a particular thing weand’ve been working with the Americans on.andquot
Cameron was due to brief US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the plans at the G7. He was also expected to discuss with Obama what more Britain can do to help train moderate Syrian opposition forces in locations outside Syria such as Turkey.
Critics say gains made by radical militants in both Iraq and Syria show that the US-led strategy against them is faltering and that Western ground troops are needed. British officials said the new trainers would be deployed in andquota handful of locationsandquot across Iraq including Taji, Besmaya and al-Asad. Around 100 would carry out IED training while 25 would focus on first aid, equipment maintenance or logistics and information support.
A spokeswoman for Cameronand’s office said ISIL routinely planted large numbers of bombs when retreating and that training Iraqi forces to clear them would allow local people to return more quickly to their homes. She said the deployment was consistent with the scale of Britainand’s current engagement in Iraq and did not herald deeper involvement. After taking part in the US-led invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003, Britain withdrew the last of its forces in 2011.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman