Iraq deployment extended

Despite unwisely saying the deployment of New Zealand troops in Iraq would be limited to two years yesterday John Key announced an 18 month extension.

Stuff: Kiwi troop deployment to Iraq has been extended by 18 months

The Government has agreed to extend the stay of Kiwi soldiers in Iraq by another 18 months.

Prime Minister John Key announced on Monday that New Zealand’s mission to train Iraqi Security Forces in the fight against so-called Islamic State (Isis) would continue until November 2018.

The deployment had been set to finish later this year and when Key visited the camp in October last year he said he was reluctant to extend the mission beyond the two-year time frame.

Finite plans involving long running conflict zones were always likely to have to change.

The number of troops deployed would not change under the extension – up to 143 at any time are in Iraq.

The threat by Isis to New Zealand and “New Zealand’s interests remains a real one,” Key said.

The Government has also agreed to amend its mission mandate and allow small numbers of troops to leave Taji to travel for short periods to Besmaya – a secure training location about 52 kilometres southeast of Taji.

The troops would remain “behind the wire” and Key had been advised the camp in Besmaya was “as safe as Taji if not even safer”.

To ensure that safety, troops moving between Taji and Besmaya would only do so by air.

While Key said he was “extremely reluctant” for troops to go outside the wire, if there was another deployment after 2018, he didn’t rule it out.

The future of Iraq is clouded by ongoing conflict and uncertainty.

The future of the New Zealand deployment was always going to be up for review, as it should be. Whether it’s wise to remain there is a valid question.

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  1. @rodemmerson
    That tour of duty extension in Iraq – my cartoon in today’s @nzherald

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  21st June 2016

      As John Key never said that the army would NOT have an extension to the time there, he is not going back on his word. He said that he wouldn’t rule it out but hoped that it wouldn’t be necessary.

      • Gezza

         /  21st June 2016

        Claire Trevett, accompanying John Key, 7 October 2015:

        “The New Zealand troops had integrated well with the Australians and he believed the training was making a difference.
        “You can see they’re taking a very localised view of it and not trying to impose a New Zealand way of doing things, not trying to impose our culture on the Iraqi forces. They are using a respectful way of training them.”

        However, he did not believe it would justify extending the deployment beyond the two year limit he had set.
        “Quite frankly this is likely to be a troubled part of the world for a very long period of time – we could arguably stay here forever. But this isn’t New Zealand’s engagement. I think New Zealand has a job to do here. We’re doing it. I think there should be an exit point and that exit point at about two years feels about right to me.”

        “During the visit Mr Key and his entourage, as well as the media, were protected by a team of elite SAS troops, who have not been deployed in Iraq.”

  2. Gezza

     /  21st June 2016

    I’ll repeat my comment on Open Forum yesterday evening.:

    Mission in Iraq extended until November 2018. Funny how Stuff & Herald haven’t given that any prominence. Also he’s quoted as saying while he was “extremely reluctant” for troops to go outside the wire, if there was another deployment after 2018, he didn’t rule it out.

    Peters says the Prime Minister has “hoodwinked” the public. “It was never going to be a tour of duty for just two years – that was totally unrealistic given the circumstances of the war,” he said. Labour & Greens saying much the same.

    Key has hoodwinked the public on this, ever since the first deployment, where he carefully gave everyone the impression that a mission for 2 years was all that was planned.

    He hasn’t even scored us 10 F-16s at bargain basement prices for being a lap dog.

    This is a really bad move. I wonder why he’s sucking up so hard to the US & got us further into this shit of a mess that the US created and that we should be having nothing to do with.

    I’ll also add this from the morning’s Stuff headlines:
    No New Zealanders hurt as blast outside Camp Taji kills four Iraqi soldiers
    “No New Zealanders have been hurt in a suicide bombing that killed four Iraqi soldiers outside Camp Taji, where New Zealand and Australian soldiers are based, north of Baghdad.

    At least 12 people were injured in Monday’s attack, when a bomber blew himself up outside the entrance to the camp.

    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee told Radio New Zealand no New Zealanders were hurt. He said he was confident that the Kiwi troops were as safe as they could be – despite the attack being the second to hit the camp this month.”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Yeah Gerry. I’m confident you have no idea what you’re dealing with, or that you do but that you just have to do as you’re told. The longer they stay there the higher the likelihood some of our soldiers could be coming home in a body bag is only one of the reasons this is a bad move.

  3. Halliver

     /  21st June 2016

    More lies from John Key. It just a reminder that the US empire is in charge of our military and not the PM.

    • Halliver

       /  21st June 2016

      And thanks John Key for making us a target for ISIS, that’s just what NZ needs, an new enemy.


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