Canada sending several dozen military advisers to Iraq

Harper makes the announcement at end of NATO summit

NEWPORT, United Kingdom – Canada will dispatch “several dozen” military advisers to Iraq to work alongside U.S. forces.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the deployment on his way out the door at the NATO summit in Wales, which has been preoccupied with the rising threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group.

The contribution is in addition to the two Canadian military cargo planes that are ferrying weapons to Kurdish fighters.

NATO’s plans to create a rapid reaction force to counter Russian interference in eastern Europe began to take shape today with the British announcing a commitment of troops.

Canada, which has dispatched a frigate and fighter jets to reassure jittery allies, is waiting on the sidelines until the alliance’s plans become more clear.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is stepping down after five years in the post, says the alliance has agreed to maintain a continuous air and sea presence in the region.