Operation Inherent Resolve: Norske soldater fra NORTU 5 (Norwegian Task Unit) i samtale med irakere i Anbar, Irak.

Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar

Norway is part of the international coalition that supports Iraqi security forces in making Iraq safer.

As of 2021, Norway has deployed an Army force to Iraq. The Norwegian force is part of the international coalition Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Norwegian personnel provide mentoring and military and strategic advice to the Iraqi security forces. The Norwegians are based at an advisory centre in Baghdad. In addition, the Army has deployed a security force to the Anbar Province.

The Norwegian Armed Forces have also deployed one staff officer to the CENTCOM Partnership Integration Enterprise (CPIE) in Qatar. Norway also has personnel deployed in Jordan, who provide logistics support and supplies to the forces in the region.

Past Norwegian contributions

In August 2014, the government adopted a royal resolution that opened up for Norwegian participation in the international coalition. The resolution authorized the Minister of Defence to send about five staff officers to relevant headquarters.

In March 2015, the government gave its consent to deploy a Norwegian-assigned force to Iraq. The mission of the Norwegian forces was to guide and train Kurdish personnel, Kurdish units and Iraqi security forces in northern Iraq. The goal was to make the Iraqi forces better equipped to halt ISIL's advance and eventually defeat ISIL in Iraq.

The first contingent of Norwegian instructors from the Telemark Battalion was in place in northern Iraq in May 2015. The Armoured Battalion took over this mission in January 2017. The Norwegians trained the local forces both individually and in units. The training took place in training camps in the area. In November 2016, the Norwegian instructor contribution in Erbil was reduced, as training in basic military skills at the training centre in Erbil became less needed. In March 2017, the Norwegian force in northern Iraq completed its training mission in Erbil.

In September 2016, a Norwegian surgical team consisting of three doctors and three nurses was in place in an American field hospital in the vicinity of the Norwegian camp. Their mission was primarily to treat Allied soldiers, as Erbil has a well-functioning health care system that Peshmerga soldiers and civilians could use. The personnel consisted of experienced doctors and nurses from the Norwegian Joint Medical Service, the Navy and the Army, who were rotating on the positions. This mission lasted for six months. In March 2017, a German surgical team took over the assignment.

In the summer of 2017, a force from the Telemark Battalion was deployed to the American-leased Al Asad Airbase (AAAB) in Anbar province, Iraq. This force participated in the autumn of 2017 and the spring of 2018 in a number of major operations in the Euphrates Valley. They were both advisors to the Iraqi Army, and helped defeating ISIL in western Iraq. In the period 2018–2020, the focus was on advising and training Iraqi security forces in Anbar province.

From August 2020 the main task of the Norwegian force switched from mentoring to force protection. The size of the Nowegian contribution was reduced, and the name was changed from Norwegian Task Unit (NORTU) to Norwegian Security Force (NOR SECFOR). Along with American forces, the Norwegian force is in charge of patrolling and securing Al Asad Airbase.

Background information

  1. The extremist terrorist group The Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has gradually emerged as a threat to global security. The terrorist group is also known as al-Dawla al-Islamiya, Iraqi al-Sham (Daesh), Arabic for the "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham."

    Earlier, the terrorist group had close ties to al-Qaeda, but al-Qaeda distanced themselves from the group, allegedly because they thought that ISIL was too brutal. ISIL is one of several militant Islamist groups fighting against government forces in Syria and Iraq.

    ISIL took control over large areas in Iraq and Syria. They are a serious threat to safety and stability in the whole region, and affect the threat picture in the rest of the world.I SIL is extremely brutal and violent, and the Iraqi authorities have asked the international community for help to fight the terrorist group.  ISIL has stated that it is ready to attack Western targets.

  2. On 15 August 2014, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2170 under the binding Chapter VII United Nations Charter. The Resolution strongly condemns ISIL's massive, systematic and gross violation of human rights. It concludes that ISIL's attacks on civilians on the basis of ethnic or religious identity might constitute crimes against humanity.

    ISIL is against democracy and wants to defeat everyone who are not so-called true believers, which also includes Muslims who do not have "the right faith".

    ISIL's goal is to establish a radical Sunni Muslim caliphate in the Levant – a region that includes Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, and Turkey. The former leader of the terrorist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, encouraged Muslims throughout the world to take up arms and flock to a self-proclaimed caliphate. Al-Baghdadi claimed that a caliphate was established in occupied parts of Syria and Iraq, and called himself a caliph.

    After ISIL established their self-proclaimed caliphate, the terrorist group started to call themselves "The Islamic State". The name change aimed to signalise ISIL's belief that they had come closer to achieve supranational authority within the framework of Islamic statehood.

    The Norwegian Armed Forces therefore consistently use "ISIL" when we talk about the terrorist group.

  3. After Iraq requested the United States to join the fight against ISIL, the United States established a coalition consisting of more than 60 countries and organisations to fight the terrorist group. Inside the coalition, a core group consisting of 20 countries was established. Norway is one of the countries in this core group. The operation is called Operation Inherent Resolve.

    The coalition helps the Iraqi government on five areas: to fight ISIL military, stop the recruitment of foreign fighters, slow down ISIL's ideology, stop the funding of ISIL and stabilise the areas that are liberated from ISIL control. Norway has actively contributed within all these areas.