OTTAWA — The recently departed male commander of Canadian Armed Forces trainers in Iraq says he was surprised by the high level of respect his male Iraqi counterparts afforded senior military women on his team.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says that bodes well for his successor, Maj.-Gen. Jennie Carignan, who assumed command last week of the NATO training mission in Iraq, a country whose military and political power is held squarely in the fist of men.
Carignan is a decorated combat veteran who served Canada in Afghanistan during some of the fiercest fighting between Western forces and a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida.
Now, she’s taking over a training mission aimed at professionalizing Iraq’s military at a time of massive internal unrest and the ever-present threat of retreating but still-plotting Islamic State militants.
Anti-government protests have rocked Iraq since October, resulting in the deaths of almost 400 people, and led to the resignation of Adel Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister last week.
Fortin says he had to make adjustments to his training mission because of the unrest, but most of the NATO training plan is unfolding as planned.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2019.
The Canadian Press