Home Dutch News Commandos to be rushed to Dutch force in Iraq

Commandos to be rushed to Dutch force in Iraq

Published on 04/12/2003

4 December 2003

AMSTERDAM — Due to safety concerns for Dutch peacekeeping troops in southern Iraq, the Netherlands is expected to deploy 70 commandos before the end of this week to help secure the region, without first obtaining approval from the Dutch Parliament.

Defence Minister Henk Kamp said the situation in Iraq was too dangerous to wait for the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, to back the Cabinet’s decision to extend the mission by six months. MPs are scheduled to vote Thursday next week.

A Defence Ministry spokesman also said preparations for the deployment of the commandos were as good as complete. The special forces troops will be used to track down terrorists in the Dutch patrol region would also be involved in intelligence gathering about possible terrorist attacks.

The recent suicide bombing against the Italian HQ in southern Iraq, in which 19 Italian soldiers were killed, has heightened concern for the safety of the Dutch 1,100 marines. The Italian HQ was just 30km away from the Dutch base, NOS reported.

Iraqi authorities have also confirmed the arrest of an Al Qaeda suspect recently, who allegedly was planning a bomb attack against Dutch troops. He allegedly crossed the border from Saudi Arabia and tried to obtain weapons and recruits.

The arrest comes after Dutch media reported that a safety analysis given to the Dutch government indicated that terrorists were preparing attacks in the Dutch patrol region and were intermingling with the local population.

Meanwhile, the parliament will discuss the possible extension of the Iraqi mission next week, having delayed its decision after requesting an update on the security situation in the Al Muthanna province, the Dutch patrol region.

It has previously been claimed that the intention to dispatch the commandos was partially intended to ease parliamentary concerns. But a majority of MPs said the deployment was not adequately reassuring.

Opposition parties, under the leadership of Labour PvdA, have claimed that Kamp should wait until the parliament has had a chance to debate the mission. But the government coalition parties Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 left the decision up to Minister Kamp.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news