German Defense Minster Peter Struck reaffirmed his opposition to a NATO role in Iraq at the present time. In an interview with the
Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper to be published on Monday, Struck said the conditions necessary for the involvement of the transatlantic alliance in Iraq wouldn't be fulfilled for quite a long time. He said a decision on a NATO deployment could "maybe" happen next year. At the same time he warned against expecting too much from any potential NATO role in Iraq. "NATO won't replace large numbers of troops, such as those currently deployed by Poland," Struck said. "The idea, say that 20,000 Americans are replaced by NATO soldiers is completely illusionary." The U.S. government hopes that the NATO take part in stabilizing by as soon as this summer after the American-run administration begins to cede power to the Iraqis.