NATO joins anti-ISIS coalition, will coordinate support for Peshmerga

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced that the alliance will join the US-led global coalition against ISIS, although it indicated it will not engage in combat. Regarding the Kurdistan Region NATO will encourage "different activities providing support to the Peshmerga."

"[W]e agreed that NATO will become a full member of the Global Coalition, in which all 28 Allies already take part," read a NATO statement, adding that Montenegro will become the 29th member in a few weeks. "Being in the coalition does not mean that NATO will engage in combat. But it does send a strong signal of our commitment to fight global terrorism."

The Coalition has 69 partners including nations and other entities like INTERPOL, which connects police agencies from 190 member countries.

The Coalition, which was formed in 2014, says 23 partners have over 9,000 troops in Iraq and Syria "in support of the effort to defeat ISIS."

Syria was not mentioned in the lengthy statement and subsequent press conference at Thursday's NATO summit in Brussels.

"We will continue our training for Iraqi forces," NATO stated. "Iraqi troops trained by NATO to defuse improvised explosive devices are, right now, putting their skills to use in the battle for Mosul."

NATO added that it will also establish "a terrorism intelligence cell within our new Intelligence Division.

"It will constantly monitor and assess regional threats, including terrorism, NATO stated.

Donald Trump during his campaign for the US presidency and since taken office has called on NATO members to contribute their requisite 2 percent of their gross domestic production, or even beyond to 4 percent.

[We all agree that the important thing now is to implement and to deliver and to make good on the promise we made in 2014, which is about stopping the cuts, gradual increase, and then moving towards spending 2 percent of GDP on defence," said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

He highlighted that Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, for example, have comitted to reaching the 2 percent threshold within this or next year.

NATO's role for assistance to Kurdish Peshmerga

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg directly was asked about additional support for the Peshmerga.

"Several NATO allies are training, providing support to the Peshmerga and of course NATO being part of the coalition, we will also take part in the deliberations and the coordination of different activities providing support to the Peshmerga," he responded.

"NATO has not so far provided any training for the Peshmerga. What we have done is to be focused on training Iraqi government forces," he added. So it’s too early to say whether that can be an issue.

"The important thing is I think for the Peshmerga, is that several NATO allies, as part of the coalition efforts, which NATO will now become a member of, are providing training support for the Peshmerga."

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