Bruun-Hanssen: Training Syrian rebels is worth the risk

Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-HanssenOslo.Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Miliary: Haakon Bruun-Hanssen concedes that there are big risks involved in training Syrian rebels for war. But the need to combat extremism in the IS makes the risk acceptable, he said.

It is a dilemma who we are to train, what they do after we’ve trained them, and what they will do after they have defeated Isil. I’ll admit that we still aren’t sure about the right solutions to this. But we have spent a lot of time on weighing our options and their probable and potential consequences: What is the risk that we give military training to rebels we will later regret giving that military training to, measured against the military training being necessary for combatting Isil,  Bruun-Hanssen says to Klassekampen
He is not willing to provide any details on which Syrian rebel groups that are to be trained by Norwegian soldiers.The US-led military coalition as a whole will decide on which groups that are to be trained, and this means Norway has limited influence.
– It will be limited in the same way it is to us in Iraq now. In Iraq, the Iraqi authorities have decided who are to be trained, and that has made it challenging for us to make sure we know who these people are.
The Chief of Staff stated that  a “screening” of the individuals that are to trained by Norway is now taking place, and that it is implemented by the United States and Jordan.
– A screening process in itself provides no guarantee that we will not train someone who may cause problems for us in the future, but we can sift out those we know will cause problems today, he says.

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today