Pride, Partnership and Professionalism: CAF contributes to security capacity building with Iraqi partners
By Major Mark Giles – Public Affairs Officer, Joint Task Force – Iraq (Operation IMPACT)
The pride was evident on their faces as members of Iraqi security forces (ISF) from Ninewah province graduated in mid-October. Having completed an intensive four-week training program conducted by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) instructors with Joint Task Force – Iraq (JTF-I), in Qayyarah-West, our Iraqi partners are confident this training is making a difference.
“I am glad we had the chance to meet and work with the Canadians to attain our desired goals and improve the level of training of Iraqi [security forces],” said Lieutenant-Colonel Idris Hameed Kalf Abdulah, Deputy Commanding Officer of 3 Emergency Response Brigade, ISF.
The graduation of nearly 300 ISF personnel marked the completion of the first serial of a program designed to build partner capacity and help prepare Iraqi forces protect their local communities.
“They’ve done an outstanding job over the past four weeks,” said Colonel Sean Trenholm, Deputy Commander of JTF-I. “Our Iraqi partners arrived highly motivated to learn a variety of tactics and skills to help them achieve operational success, and we are impressed with their performance.”
Part of Canada’s efforts with Operation IMPACT, the training program covers basic military tactics and specific skill-sets including firearms, first aid, urban operations, explosive hazard awareness, and command and leadership training.
“Most of this is practical – it’s very hands-on with the Iraqi partner force,” said Sergeant Jonathon Schmidt, a CAF instructor. “They seem very eager and keen to learn all the skills that we’re [teaching] them.”
For ISF members, the opportunity to learn from CAF instructors was a very positive experience – providing new skills through cooperation and shared expertise.
“The Canadian Armed Forces instructors were extremely cooperative,” said Commissionaire Mohammed Ismail Jaraf Ismail, ISF. “We worked hand in hand as if they were from Iraq, not Canada – they were like brothers.”
CAF instructors also gained new insights from the experience, learning new cultural viewpoints on training and combat, while interacting with ISF – many who have frontline experience fighting elements of Daesh in recent years.
“While they don’t necessarily come from the same culture of training that we do, they are experienced and seasoned soldiers,” said Maj Rafe Mackenzie, Officer Commanding Training Company. “They come with a great deal of passion and commitment, and dedication to the people of Iraq – and they will make the sacrifices necessary to be successful against the enemy.”
With the second training serial now underway, to be followed by additional serials in late 2018 and 2019, CAF personnel and members of the ISF are finding this experience to be rewarding in many ways.
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