Iraq attack 'could not have been prevented'

25th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

25 August 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The attack on Dutch soldiers in which a military policeman was killed earlier this month could not have been prevented, Defence Minister Henk Kamp told Parliament on Tuesday.

25 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — The attack on Dutch soldiers in which a military policeman was killed earlier this month could not have been prevented, Defence Minister Henk Kamp told Parliament on Tuesday.

The Liberal VVD minister said a large number of attacks are taking place in Iraq on a daily basis and while many have been prevented, an attack similar to the one that killed 29-year-old Jeroen Severs must be accepted as inevitable.

MPs were highly critical of the lack of intelligence on Iraq, with several claming that the government was "naive" in its attitude towards Iraq. GroenLinks MP Farah Karimi even claimed the attackers have better intelligence than the Dutch government.

But Minister Kamp rejected the claim and maintained the government's intelligence is not inadequate. Despite this, he admitted the attack on 14 August — in which Servers was killed and five other troops seriously injured — could not have been foreseen.

The minister also said that efforts were underway to improve intelligence gathering, but he refused to publicly provide further details. MPs were informed behind closed doors about the measures taken.

This comes in addition to news last week that in response to the attack, the Netherlands was beefing up its security measures in southern Iraq, where 1,276 troops are stationed.
  
Two infantry platoons of 60 men in total were being rushed to the violence-torn nation and all patrols will include a four-wheel-drive vehicle mounted with a machine gun. In addition, more armoured vehicles will be used.

The Dutch peacekeeping mission in southern Iraq has a mandate until March 2005, but the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, refused to rule out on Tuesday an early return of troops if the security situation worsens or the local population has had enough of the Dutch presence.

Only the government parties Christian Democrat CDA and VVD remained unchanged in their commitment to the duration of the peacekeeping mission, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

And Kamp said the majority of Iraqis in the Dutch patrol area still backed the mission, despite the fact the Dutch were not warned about the attack earlier this month.

He admitted the Dutch were not on the friendliest terms with the locals in al-Muthanna province, but said there was no alternative for now but to continue working with the local population to get the job done. Extra emphasis will be put on reconstruction efforts to maintain Iraqi support.

[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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