Norway, which refused to back the US’ invasion of Iraq during the Bush Administration, will be supporting US President Barack Obama’s plan for fighting the Islamic extremist group IS in Iraq now. “We have no choice,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
“We have to contribute to the fight against IS,” Brende said on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) after Obama released his plan earlier this week.
Norway is already sending humanitarian aid to the refugees in Northern Iraq who have been driven from their homes by IS. A Norwegian military transport flight took off last week with water filtration systems, for example, to help provide the thousands of displaced persons with fresh water.
The US began using drones to bomb IS’ installations in Iraq and now will do the same in Syria, where the brutal organization that seems to thrive on horrific executions and crucifixions also has declared control.
Brende, who planned to attend a high-level conference on Iraq in Paris on Monday, said Norway is joining the “broad coalition” against IS, which is also known to have some members and even leaders from Norway. The Norwegian contribution will be limited to humanitarian aid at the outset, but Brende said military contributions will need to be evaluated if the US-led coalition asks for help.
“We’re using Hercules aircraft from the defense ministry,” Brende noted. “If we’re asked to contribute militarily, we will have to have a thorough discussion on whether we can, for example, help with military training (of Iraqi forces).”
Some Norwegian political parties have already proposed military participation, which is unusual in Norway. The Christian Democrats, one of the government’s support parties, thinks Norway must already consider offering military aid in the fight against IS, while the Center Party and the Socialist Left (SV) are, as usual, skeptical to use of military force. SV has never supported Norway’s membership in NATO.
All agree, however, that IS must be stopped if at all possible. In the meantime, Norway will now start sending food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to Iraq.