Denmark to take weapons, not aid, to Iraq

An original offer of humanitarian assistance has now turned into a mission to exclusively transport weapons and ammunition.

Denmark to take weapons, not aid, to Iraq
The Hercules C-130 could be headed to Iraq as early as Wednesday. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix
When Helle Thorning-Schmidt two weeks ago expressed an interest in helping the US-led mission in Iraq, the prime minister said that Denmark was “can transport emergency humanitarian aid” the the area. 
When the Foreign Affairs Committee met a week later, it decided that the Danish contribution would not be limited to humanitarian aid but would also transport weapons and send a contingent of troops
Now it looks like Denmark will only transport the weapons and leave the humanitarian aid behind. 
The official motion for a resolution that parliament is expected to approve on Wednesday notes that the United Nations has previously rejected using military aircraft to transport humanitarian aid, therefore limiting the Danish contribution to military goods. 
“The assignments include, as a starting point, the transport of personnel, weapons, ammunition, material and supplies to the Iraqi and Kurdish troops and additional collaborators. The plane could also transport emergency help but the UN has thus rejected using military aircraft in similar circumstances,” the motion reads, according to Politiken. 
Denmark will send a Hercules C-130 aircraft to northern Iraq, accompanied by around 55 Danish troops. There is universal backing for the mission, including from the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), which was the only hold-out before deciding on Sunday to give its support. 
According to the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste), the Danish mission faces a “high” chance of being fired upon by militants from the Islamic State, the extremist organisation previously known as Isis. 
“It is certainly not without risk when a Danish plane is sent to northern Iraq. But the Defence will do everything it can to minimize the risks in cooperation with our allies,” Defence Minister Nicolai Wammen told Jyllands-Posten after last week’s Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. 

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Six arrested in Denmark raid for suspected Isis links

Six men suspected of being members of the so-called Islamic State (Isis) group or funding it were arrested in an anti-terror raid in Denmark on Tuesday, police said.

Six arrested in Denmark raid for suspected Isis links
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The suspects, whose identities were not disclosed, are aged between 27 and 35, police in East Jutland said.

Two of the suspects were arrested in the Danish capital Copenhagen and the four others in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city.

“Two of the people arrested, a man aged 29 from the region of Aarhus and a 30-year-old man living in Copenhagen, are suspected of penal code violations… for having travelled to Syria in 2014, where they were recruited by the terrorist organisation Islamic State,” police said in a statement.

The 29-year-old is also suspected of having tried to return to Syria in early 2015 to rejoin Isis.

Under his instruction, the four other suspects are accused of having acted as “intermediaries” and having sent money to the organisation.

According to Danish intelligence service PET, at least 160 people have travelled from Denmark to fight in Syria or Iraq. About a third of them have been killed in action, 32 are still there and around half of them have either returned to Denmark or another country.

Jihadism is considered the biggest threat to Denmark’s national security, according to PET.