You’ll be glad to know that the Dutch government approved last Friday an extension to the deployment of that country’s around 1300 troops in Iraq, who otherwise would have packed up and left next month. You may recall that there were increasing doubts about whether having troops there was really such a good thing, especially after the first Dutch soldier was killed last month (coverage of that was itself covered, of course, here in EuroSavant). But now in fact what’s been approved is not the usual six-month extension but one of eight months, until March of 2005 – designed to have Dutch troops in place to help provide security for those Iraqi elections scheduled for next January, plus a safety margin of a number of weeks beyond.
What has made all the difference has been that United Nations Security Council resolution on the transfer of sovereignty back to Iraq that was passed unanimously last week, as an analysis in the NRC Handelsblad by René Moerland and Floris van Straaten makes clear (From Dilemma to Necessity – free registration required). (more…)