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The effort against ISIL

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Danish soldiers training an Iraqi brigade at the Al Asad base in Iraq
Danish soldiers training an Iraqi brigade at the Al Asad base in Iraq. Photo: Danish Defence.

The effort against ISIL 

The terrorist movement ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has since 2014 exposed the civilian population in Iraq and Syria to systematic abuse and human rights violations. The attacks have resulted in millions of refugees and have threatened stability throughout the Middle East.

Despite the fact that ISIL has lost control over its physical territory, the group still poses a very real threat regionally as well as against Danish and international security, since ISIL recruits and inspires Western citizens. ISIL seems to be increasingly resorting to terrorist attacks outside of Iraq and Syria, and thus poses a more direct threat to countries such as Denmark.

The Danish contribution
Denmark's military contribution to the coalition's fight against ISIL consists among other things of a capacity building contribution. On 16 January 2018 a broad majority in the Danish parliament approved the deployment of further up to approx. 30 soldiers in a security role. This deployment will be included in the capacity building contribution, will bring the contribution’s strength up to approx. 180 soldiers. The capacity building force contribution counsels and trains Iraqi forces on the Al Asad air base in western Iraq. In addition, Denmark supports the coalition with a radar contribution that provides airspace surveillance in support of the coalition's air operations. The contribution consists of a mobile radar located on the Al Asad air base and up to approx. 30 personnel, including operators deployed to the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. Denmark has also deployed a staff contribution of up to approx. 20 people to the coalition's headquarters.

Mandate for the effort
The international legal basis for the Danish military contribution is consent from Iraq and the right to collective self-defense of Iraq against ISIL pursuant to Article 51 of the UN Covenant.

Through the UN Security Council on 25 June 2014, the Iraqi government has asked the international community for assistance to fight ISIL. The UN condemns ISIL and the serious abuse and human rights violations in violation of Resolution 2178 of 24 September 2014 and Resolution 2170 of 15 August 2014. Furthermore, in Resolution 2249 adopted on 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council has ruled that ISIL represents a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security, and that ISIL has the ability and intent to carry out further terrorist attacks.

The Danish contribution to the fight against ISIL has been deployed on the basis of UN resolutions and an American request to Denmark to support US-led efforts. The Iraqi Foreign Minister has welcomed the Danish military assistance.

Former military contributions 
  • An F-16 combat contribution consisting of seven F-16 aircrafts and up to approx. 110 people. The contribution has been deployed two times; October 2014 - October 2015 and June to December 2016. Total 18 months. 
  • The delivery of a C-130J (Hercules) airplane with crew who, from August 2014 until the end of 2014/15, solved transport duties in support of the British training-forces in northern Iraq. 
  • A C-130J transport flight contribution of up to approx. 60 people from June to December 2016, and from October 2018 to April 2019.
  • A force contribution comprising special operations forces which has been deployed in a training, counseling and support role in Iraq.
  • An emergency medical team in addition to the medical element already included in the capacity building contribution, deployed from October 2018 to April 2019.


This article in Danish
Last updated 2020-03-04 - 13:47

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