Following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike last week and the ensuing Iranian retaliation, the Iraqi Parliament decided that foreign troops are no longer welcome in the country.
While Norway, Sweden, and Finland have all decided to remain in the country amid a recent escalation in Iraq. Denmark has become a Scandinavian outlier by moving most of its forces to Kuwait.
Despite the recent missile attack in the region, the approximately 70 Swedish soldiers posted in Iraq will remain there, national broadcaster SVT reported, citing a government decision.
“The government’s main line is that the unit should remain”, Social Democrat Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said after Thursday’s meeting in Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Swedish force in Iraq consists of about 70 men tasked with training the Iraqi defence against Daesh (ISIS)*. Should the need arise, the unit will be temporarily reinforced by a force consisting of a maximum of 120 persons. The Swedish force is posted at the Taji base some 30 kilometres north of Baghdad.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven emphasised that Sweden and its allies have invested so much in the fight against Daesh that it is important to remain in Iraq.
Sweden’s neighbours to the east and west, Norway and Finland, decided to stay as well. In contrast, Sweden’s southern neighbour Denmark has decided to temporarily move its troops out of the country amid the recent escalation. Social…