Danish soldiers training an Iraqi brigade at the Al Asad base in Iraq
The effort against ISIL
The terrorist movement ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has exposed the civilian populations in Iraq and Syria to systematic attacks and human rights violations. The assaults have put hundreds of thousands of people on the run and contributed to threaten the general Middle Eastern stability.
ISIL constitutes a considerable regional terror threat. At the same time, ISIL also threatens Danish and international security, due to its ability to recruit and inspire Western citizens. ISIL has thus increasingly resorted to terrorist attacks outside of Iraq and Syria and increasingly constitutes a direct threat to countries like Denmark.
ISIL operates primarily in North Western Iraq and Eastern Syria, where the movement is able to exploit and aggravate the general instability. Since the International Coalition against ISIL started its campaign in 2014, ISIL has largely been forced into the defensive. The Coalition’s campaign has contributed to weaken ISIL’s progress and mobility and generally ISIL has come under increasing pressure on several fronts in both Iraq and Syria. However, a considerable task remains until ISIL is finally defeated.
The Danish contribution
The Danish military contributions to the Coalitions fight against ISIL consists of a capacity building contingent of up to 150 persons. The contingent conducts capacity building in terms og advice, training and education of Iraqi Forces at the Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq. Denmark also supports the Coalition with a radar contribution that monitors the airspace in support of the coalition’s air operations. The contribution consists of a mobile radar placed at Al Asad and up to 30 persons, including operators stationed at the Al Dhafra Air Base in The United Arab Emirates. Besides, Denmark also provides a staff contribution of up to 20 persons placed at the coalition’s headquarters.
On 19 April 2016, a broad majority in Danish Parliament approved a new substantial Danish military contribution consisting of a fighter aircraft contribution, a C-130J transport aircraft contribution and a contribution comprising special operations forces. The new contributions have a mandate to operate in both Iraq and Syria.
The fighter aircraft contribution consisted of four operational F-16 fighter aircrafts and up to three F-16s in reserve and comprised up to 110 persons. The Danish fighter aircrafts were deployed to the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey from where they conducted their first operation on 17 July 2016. The fighter aircrafts conducted both offensive operations and took part in surveillance and information gathering missions.
The C-130J transport aircraft contribution was deployed to the Ali Al Salem Airbase in Kuwait at the end of June 2016 and conducted its first operation in support of the coalition on 3 July 2016. The contribution consisted of up to 60 persons.
The special operations force was deployed in August 2016. The special operations forces are a part of the Danish military contribution and currently provides training and assistance at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq.
Mandate for the effort
In Iraq the legal basis is a request and consent by the Government of Iraq. In Syria the legal basis is the inherent right of collective self-defence of Iraq against ISIL in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations
On June 25 2014, the Iraqi Government requested assistance to fight ISIL from the international society through the UN Security Council. In resolution 2178 of 24 September 2014 and resolution 2170 of 15 August 2014, the UN condemns ISIL and the serious attacks and human rights violations. In resolution 2249 of 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council has furthermore stated that ISIL constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security and that ISIL has the capability and intention to carry out further attacks.
The Danish contribution to the struggle against ISIL is deployed on the basis of the UN resolutions and a US request to Denmark for support in the US lead effort.
This article in Danish