Cooperation between NATO and Iraq is based on principles of respect for sovereignty, international law, joint ownership and mutual benefit. The partnership serves to anchor and bolster Iraq’s capacity to contribute constructively to regional security. It reflects NATO’s long-standing commitment to the development of Iraq’s capabilities to address shared challenges and threats.
Through a jointly-agreed Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, NATO and Iraq are undertaking further efforts to develop the capacity of Iraq’s security institutions and to cultivate the expertise of its national defence academies. This programme provides a framework for political dialogue and for training cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, crisis management and critical energy infrastructure protection.
Prior to the closure of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) in December 2011, NTM-I staff played a major role in enabling the partnership between NATO and Iraq, matching requests from Iraqi ministries with areas of cooperation open to NATO partners, and coordinating the participation of some 500 Iraqi officers and officials in courses each year.
The NATO Transition Cell is now working to ensure a smooth transition from the NTM-I to a regular partnership programme, helping the Iraqi government to develop an inter-agency mechanism for capabilities requirement analysis. In this way, Iraq will be able to fully exercise joint leadership of the design and implementation of its cooperation with NATO.
The signing of the NATO-Iraq cooperation programme on 24 September 2012, by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh Al-Fayyadh, marked the formal accession of Iraq to NATO’s “partnership family”. This accord reflects NATO’s commitment to the growing role Iraq plays in building regional stability, peace and democracy.