Canada’s command of NATO mission in Iraq extended to late 2020

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Canada will continue to command a NATO mission in Iraq for a second year until November 2020, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan announced Wednesday.

Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan, who will soon be promoted to the rank of major-general, is to take over the command this fall of some 580 NATO troops including 250 from Canada, and others from non-NATO partners such as Australia, Sweden, and Finland.

She has previously deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Golan Heights, and Afghanistan.

The non-combat, advisory, and training mission look to bolster Iraq’s military and security capabilities, including in areas of medical aid, armored vehicle maintenance, countering improvised explosive devices and civil-military planning.

NATO’s advisory activities are centered in Baghdad, while training is carried out at Iraqi military schools in the Baghdad area, Taji and Besmaya.

The hope, outgoing commander Canadian Major General Dany Fortin said this month, is to make Iraq’s military self-sustainable to try to avoid a repeat of 2014 when ISIS seized large areas of Iraq and Syria.

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