Croatian Army Expanding Operations Abroad, Including with NATO and Against Islamic State

By 8 June 2017

The government approved four new foreign missions for the Croatian military.

At today’s session, the government sent to four proposals to the Parliament, calling for the participation of Croatian soldiers in missions around the world, one of which includes more active involvement in the fight against the Islamic State, reports tportal.hr on June 8, 2017.

Croatia has been a member of the anti-terrorist coalition which has been fighting the Islamic State since its inception, as part of the Inherent Resolve mission, but so far it has participated only by sending weapons to allies in the field, including to the Kurdish peshmerga living in northern Iraq. The goal of this military mission, as stated on the official website, is the military defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh).

Although Croatia negotiated on the subject of sending dozens of artillery instructors to teach the peshmerga in Kurdistan during the term of Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović in 2015, the decision which the government has now finally sent to the Parliament shows that it would still be a far less modest engagement. Three members of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia would take part in the mission, and they would be located at a command site in Arifjan, Kuwait.

In addition to sending troops to Kuwait, the Parliament will also decide on the participation of the Armed Forces in the EUNAVFOR MED SOPHIA mission, aimed at preventing human smuggling in the Mediterranean, as well as helping refugees who are travelling to Europe. In this mission led by the European Union, Croatia will also participate with up to three members.

The remaining two decisions relate to sending troops to Poland and Lithuania as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence close to the Russian border. Up to 200 members of the Croatian Armed Forces will be sent to Lithuania and another 90 to Poland.

Croatia has been participating in various peacekeeping missions around the world for about two decades, and the Parliament has almost always near-unanimously approved the participation of Croatian troops in these missions, including in the most dangerous one in Afghanistan, so it is also expected that these four decisions will be passed in the Parliament without any particular problems, particularly now when the new parliamentary majority is about to be formed.