Combined Joint Task Force – Operations Inherent Resolve officials hosted representatives from more than 25 Coalition countries at an Ambassadors Day event here, April 21, 2022. The event marked an opportunity for Coalition officials to provide updates on the current state of the OIR mission and fostered discussion related to broad efforts to tackle enduring security and stability challenges in the region.
“One of the most important reasons for having this robust forum of Ambassadors here is to build a network for us to discuss the way forward,” said Maj Gen John Brennan, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve. “As we have drawn down our forces over time, the need to work together is paramount as we move forward and chart the path for the future of the fight to ensure the lasting defeat of Daesh and what comes after.
“Defeating Daesh militarily is only part of the problem,” Brennan continued. “Deash will still be able to regenerate if we don’t take steps now to preemptively stop that from happening.”
One of the most salient topics discussed at the event was the importance of addressing camps for internally displaced persons, or IDPs, and long-term solutions and security improvements for detention centers housing Daesh fighters.
Brennan explained that OIR is using a Coalition approach to develop defensive mechanisms to help Iraqi Partners defend their bases and allow them to continue to fight against Daesh. From a Coalition perspective, OIR is doing everything it can, he said, to rapidly develop our Partner Force capabilities to defend against threats.
“We can’t do what we do without support from the greater Coalition community plus the non-governmental organizations operating in the region, and all the folks who have the power to do something about the IDP camps and detention and rehabilitation centers,” Brennan added. “We appreciate the assistance from the ambassadors in helping ensure Iraqis understand the magnitude of the problem they’re facing and the need to take ownership of it.”
The IDP camps are breeding grounds for the next generation of ISIS, Brennan explained. And, while OIR serves as a connective tissue to help get the right capabilities at the right places at the right times to lower the threat, the issue is multi-faceted and requires a broad solution that goes beyond what the military can provide, he said. OIR is working directly with its partner forces in Iraq and Syria to help solve this problem, including efforts to train additional guards for the camps in Syria to protect the residents of the camps and the NGOs providing aid inside of them as well as investing in infrastructure improvements for both IDP camps and formal Daesh detention centers. CJTF-OIR personnel also facilitate efforts by NGOs and national governments to care for and repatriate and reintegrate IDPs back into communities.
In addition to the discussions about IDP camps and detention centers, Brennan addressed OIR’s updated campaign–and its associated advise, assist and enable mission–and emphasized the progress Coalition Partner Forces have made in recent months as well as the ways the Coalition has been working with them to help develop and improve their capabilities. Brennan also highlighted the advising “eco system” OIR has developed with its counterparts at NATO Mission Iraq. CJTF-OIR officials have taken measures to drive better integration with NMI, such as relaying Iraqi Security Forces capability gaps identified through partnered operations so NMI can work with the Iraqis to find institutional-level solutions. CJTF-OIR advises at the operational level whereas NMI advises at the strategic level, and can work institutional-level changes, such as improvements in officer and noncommissioned officer professional development programs and budgeting and sustainment planning.
The event also included remarks from the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, comments from the ambassadors to Iraq from Germany and the Netherlands on their recent visit to observe the Jeddah 1 IDP camp, as well as updates from the leaders of NATO Mission Iraq and CJTF-OIR’s Directorate of Interagency and Civil Environment.