Baghdad: Gen. Iannucci relinquishes command of NATO Mission Iraq

(To Greater Defense)

​On 24 May, in Baghdad, at the Union III base, headquarters of the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) headquarters, the rotation ceremony was held between Army Corps General Giovanni Maria Iannucci and Lieutenant General Jose' Antonio Agüero Martinez (ESP).

The event, chaired by the commander of the Joint Force Command of Naples, adm. Stuart B. Munsch, was held in the presence of the Italian ambassador to the Republic of Iraq, Maurizio Greganti, the accredited ambassadors of the contributing countries and the Iraqi authorities, including the Chief of Defense Staff, General Rashid Yarallah.

The ceremony, after more than a year in office, ends the period of national command, during which Italy coordinated 26 NATO nations and two partners (Australia and Sweden).
12 months of intense work, in which NMI has achieved numerous results, solidifying relations between NATO and Iraq, defining together with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense the work areas and the priorities on which to work together (Long Term Objectives) and launching important reforms that are already beginning to show the first fruits.

Among the objectives achieved, the support provided for the creation of a capacity of particular importance cyber defense, which in a few months has allowed the newly established Iraqi cyber command to reach the Initial Operational Capability.

During the mandate of Gen. Iannucci, NMI has also actively supported the Iraqi security forces in the field of training, with activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of foreign languages, simulation, distance learning, as well as improving and developing the organization and training offer of Iraqi military institutes.

In his farewell speech, Gen. Iannucci thanked the men and women of NMI for their expertise and dedication during his mandate, acknowledging “to have largely achieved the objectives set with the Iraqi counterpart, citing as examples the development of a modern training methodology, the elaboration of the new intelligence and logistics doctrine, the development of a joint approach to operations; the modernization of human resource management procedures, the launch of the review of the national security strategy".

The surrendering commander then addressed a heartfelt thanks to the Chief of Defense Staff and the Iraqi authorities, for the continuous support received and for the active role in the reform process, which has seen them become protagonists, as well as users of the profound revision of the national security tool.

Gen. Iannucci concluded by saying he was sure of “to leave a country that is more stable and secure today, with great potential, capable of becoming a stabilizing and reconciling factor in the Middle East; Iraq is a credible and reliable interlocutor, which will be able to develop a lasting partnership with the Atlantic Alliance".

The NATO Mission in Iraq is an assistance mission that aims to stimulate and support the process of reviewing and strengthening Iraq's institutions and security forces, so as to enable them to stabilize their country, fight terrorism and prevent the return of Daesh.

Initiated after the 2016 NATO Summit at the request of Baghdad to provide support to global coalition against Daesh/ISIS, in 2018 NMI saw the range of activities offered to the host country expand, especially with an increase in those aimed at assistance, training and capacity development.

NMI operates in compliance with the sovereignty of the country and its territorial integrity, in continuous contact with the local authorities, and in close coordination with the other international operations and missions operating in the country.