NATO forces provided millions of euros’ worth of supplies to the fledgling Iraqi army in June, including a recent donation of 1.8 million euros’ worth of ammunition to the 9th Iraqi Army Division (Mechanized).
At least three European nations made direct contributions this month, according to NATO press releases. The alliance also provides trainers and advisers to the Iraqi army through the NATO Training Mission Iraq, which kicked off in August 2004.
“NATO is playing a valuable role to help the Iraqi government develop the ability to provide for its own security and these donations show NATO’s commitment in this regard,” wrote alliance spokesman Maj. Steinar Sveinsson of the Iceland Crisis and Response Unit in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
NATO’s Training, Equipping and Coordination Group in Belgium, along with the NTMI and the organization’s Training and Equipping Synchronizing Committee, coordinate donations with the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior.
The group was started Oct. 8, 2004, to help coordinate the training and equipment for Iraqi forces.
In the latest NATO donation, eight cargo aircraft flights carried a total of 300 tons of tank ammunition from Slovakia to the Iraqi mechanized division, based north of Baghdad in Taji.
The final Ilyushin IL-76D flight arrived June 21.
The ammunition will be paired with last year’s NATO donation of 77 tanks to the division, which, according to a press release, is the only mechanized division in the Iraqi army.
On June 1, Denmark donated 100 trucks and spare parts, worth about 1.2 million euros (about $1.5 million), to the Iraqi army’s 10th Infantry Division at Talil.
It is also devising a two-week course to train Iraqi mechanics on the equipment.
Also that day, Spain donated about 1.85 million euros’ worth of unspecified equipment to the Iraqi army.
Spain had about 1,300 troops operating in Iraq after the invasion, but withdrew its military contingent in early 2004.