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Cablegate: Dutch Parliament Supports Deployment of Troops In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS THE HAGUE 001672

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS MARR KPKO IZ NL
SUBJECT: DUTCH PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS DEPLOYMENT OF TROOPS IN
IRAQ

REF: THE HAGUE

1. Summary: On June 25, the Dutch parliament gave the go-
ahead for deployment in the Stabilization Force of about
1,100 troops in the Al-Muthanna province in Iraq. The
three government parties were supported by the opposition
Labor party and by smaller parties on the center-right.
Voting against were the opposition Socialist and Green Left
parties, as well as four dissidents from the Labor Party and
one from D66, a government party. Defense Minister Kamp
reassured the Parliament that adequate arrangements had been
made for British and/or U.S. military assistance in the
event the Dutch troops were to get into trouble. The 650
Dutch marines and 450 support troops are scheduled to arrive
in Iraq by mid-July and to be operative in early August
after a few weeks of acclimatization. The initial
deployment period is for six months. End summary.

2. At a June 25 hearing of the parliamentary foreign affairs
and defense committees, Defense Minister Kamp convinced a
large majority that adequate arrangements had been made to
guarantee the safety of the Dutch troops in Iraq in a
possible emergency situation. "If they get into trouble, we
can count on the British. If necessary, there will be
assistance from the British division within six hours and
air support within 15 minutes." Since the Dutch troops will
operate under British command, "they feel fully responsible
for us." Besides, he said we have it "black on white" that
they will come to our assistance. Kamp did not anticipate,
however, that it would come to that but he conceded that the
mission was not without risks. "This is not a holiday trip
to Gran Canaria," he said. Kamp assured the Parliament that
the armament of the Dutch troops was sufficiently "robust."
Unlike the situation in Srebrenica, he said the troops are
not sent off "with their hands tied behind their back."
Among the Dutch troops are sharp shooters and they will have
heavy machine guns and anti-tank weapons. Kamp also
assured the Parliament that the troops had been well
prepared for their mission. Various spokesmen expressed
concern about the death of six British soldiers earlier in
the week. Kamp, however, viewed it as an unfortunate
incident and not as an organized campaign against the
British.

3. A minority of opponents regarded UNSC resolution 1483 as
an insufficient basis for deployment, feared a repetition of
the misfortunes of Dutch troops in Srebrenica and objected
to what they viewed as the Dutch troops becoming part of the
U.S.-UK occupation force. "As long as this is no UN
operation, we have no business there," said opposition Labor
party deputy floorleader Adri Duivesteijn, one of four
dissidents in the 42-member parliamentary group. "What is
the legitimacy of this occupation force after a war in which
governments were deceived?" he questioned. Minister Kamp
sneered at SP spokesman Van Bommel that "parties that oppose
peacekeeping no matter what have no right to speak." He
pointed out that a clear distinction is being made between
countries that supply troops to the Stabilization Force and
the U.S. and UK as occupying forces, even though the
minister had to admit that this distinction may not be
obvious to the average Iraqi. Foreign Minister De Hoop
Scheffer assured Parliament that the mission of the Dutch
troops was to advance peace and stability in Iraq, but
conceded that "serving the peace is more difficult than
waging war."

Sobel

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