Prague, March 8 (CTK) – The Czech Police are planning to send several teams of specialists that will alternate at a mission in the war-destabilised Iraq as instructors training the local police, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
This is another Czech contribution to fighting the fanatic Islamic State and stabilising the situation in Iraq, in addition to the Czech supplies of hundreds of tonnes of ammunition to the local army and the Kurdish militia, and the sale of old L-159 combat aircraft to Iraq, LN writes.
The plan has been proposed by a coordination group comprised of the defence, interior and foreign deputy ministers.
Prague is preparing the police instructor mission at the request of the Baghdad government and the Allies, Deputy Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek told the paper.
According to LN’s information, several teams of police specialists, with ten to 20 members each, have been created. They will rotate in Iraq every six weeks.
The Interior Ministry has confirmed the preparation of “certain projects” targeting Iraq, but it would not disclose any details about the police mission pending the government’s approval of it.
LN has found out that the main task of the Czech police will be to help build and train the Iraqi riot police, since the experts in the international anti-IS coalition fear that the long-lasting unrest in Iraq may foment the still smouldering intolerance between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
The Czech units will include not only bomb disposal experts and snipers, but also lawyers. A broad spectrum of foreign experts, including Czechs, are expected to teach the Iraqi bodies to enforce the observance of law and stay impartial in tackling disputes, the paper writes.
“That is why it will most probably be a long-term mission,” an Interior Ministry official is quoted as saying.
The Czech cabinet is to discuss the operation worth several dozens of millions of crowns in the weeks to come, the paper writes.
The first police team is to leave Prague in the latter half of 2016. In Iraq, it is to complement a 100-strong Italian police unit, LN continues.
The Czech Defence Ministry does not plan to send soldiers as protection together with the police. No armed protection is needed, it will be ensured by the Allies in Iraq, the ministry said, cited by LN.
After all, this will not be the Czech police’s first participation in a foreign mission. In the past fifteen years, they operated in several countries including Afghanistan, Georgia, Jordan, Kosovo and Liberia. They have experience with Iraq as well. Their rapid reaction unit assisted in protecting the Czech embassy in Baghdad, as well as in Tripoli, the daily writes.
Daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes that police specialists have shown enormous interest in being among the 300 officers listed for missions in Iraq and elsewhere abroad.
“The contingent will be completed based on the language and expert skills [of the applicants],” Police Presidium’s spokeswoman Ivana Nguyenova told the paper.
“Of course, it offers a certain prestige and experience. Everyone wants to see with their own eyes what has been happening within the refugee crisis in Europe. The financial reward, too, has been considered by all of us, though it is not as high as in the case of the military and the soldiers sent to war missions,” a police officer told MfD, requesting anonymity.