As part of the plan to strengthen its participation in military foreign missions in 2018, the Czech Republic is considering sending up to 200 members of the 601st Special Forces Group to Iraq. However, their deployment will have to be initiated by the Iraqi government and the Czech Parliament will need to give its approval.
Iraqi special forces, the core strike units in fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS), have suffered great losses, especially in during the final street clashes in fortified Iraqi cities.Therefore, Czech special forces could either train new Iraqi forces or be deployed alongside their American or British colleagues. These are already carrying out direct operations against the IS despite the secrecy of their governments, as supported by several testimonies. Iraq has so far shown considerable interest in Czech Army medics and CBRN units. It will also be important that the deployment of additional forces does not impair the overall abilities of the army, as its numbers are insufficient in some cases. In total, the Czech Republic wants to deploy up to 650 soldiers this year and also strengthen its presence in Afghanistan by about 50 men. From mid-2018, Czech soldiers will also join NATO’s multinational mission in the Baltics.