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.