NATO Ends Mission in Iraq

Ali Al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images

NATO Ends Mission in Iraq

NATO has been given its marching orders by the Iraqi government.

“The North Atlantic Council has decided to undertake the permanent withdrawal of the nato Training Mission-Iraq personnel from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, when the current mandate of the mission expires.” So reads a press release issued by nato on Monday.

Following seven years of delivering support, by Iraq’s own invitation, to Iraq’s efforts to train cohesive military and police forces, despite nato’s willingness to continue the mission the Iraqi government has unceremoniously denied nato that opportunity. As the press release states, “Agreement on the extension of this successful program did not prove possible despite robust negotiations conducted over several weeks.”

The largesse nato members extended to Iraq since 2004, in addition to training over 17,000 personnel, includes “over €115 million worth of military equipment and a total of €17.7 million in trust fund donations from all 28 nato allies for training and education at nato facilities” (ibid).

It remains to be seen just how effective the nato effort has been. With pending withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq slated to also commence this month, the door will be opened wider inviting incursion from Iraq’s eastern neighbor, the nuclear-sabre-rattling Iran.

This nato withdrawal is but one more step toward emboldening the increasingly aggressive push from the biblical king of the south against the rising king of the north.

The year 2012 is set to witness a sea change in Eurasia as nato packs up and leaves Iraq and U.S. troop withdrawals accelerate.

Read our booklet The King of the South for background on these events in Iraq and Iran.