The number of attacks on Western military targets in Iraq is increasing. For example, Dutch soldiers came under fire at an American air base on Tuesday. This has no consequences (yet) for the Dutch contribution to the NATO mission.
This is what outgoing Minister Kajsa Ollongren (Defense) said in a letter to the House of Representatives.
“The change in the threat assessment does not yet constitute a reason to adjust the current and planned Dutch military contribution in Iraq.” According to her, the soldiers have “adequate protective equipment”.
The Netherlands will supply approximately three hundred soldiers next year as part of the NATO mission. In addition, three Chinook transport helicopters will go to Iraq. These will be placed at the Ain al-Asad Airbase. This is the base that was attacked on Tuesday morning when a reconnaissance mission with Dutch soldiers was present. No one was injured, according to Ollongren.
According to the US Department of Defense, American and international troops have been in Syria and Iraq in recent months been attacked at least forty times. 56 people were injured in those attacks.
The attacks are being carried out by groups supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG), the Americans say. This unit does not fall under the regular army, but falls directly under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That’s the highest leader of the country.
Ollongren expects the attacks to continue as long as the battle between Israel and Hamas continues.