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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04THEHAGUE2055 2004-08-17 15:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

NETHERLANDS/IRAQ: SECOND DUTCH FATALITY

Tags:   MOPS PREL IZ NL 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L THE HAGUE 002055 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UBI, EUR/RPM AND PMAT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2014
TAGS: MOPS PREL IZ NL
SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS/IRAQ: SECOND DUTCH FATALITY

REF: THE HAGUE 1164

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY CDA DANIEL R. RUSSEL FOR REASONS 1.4 (B AN
D D)



1. (U) A Royal Dutch Military Police (Koninklijke
Marechaussee) Sergeant was killed in an ambush on a Dutch
military vehicle on August 14 south of Rumaythah in Al
Muthanna province. The 29 year-old Sergeant, Jeroen Severs,
was riding in an unarmored jeep which came under heavy fire
from small arms and possibly a machine gun. Four Dutch Army
and one Royal Marechaussee personnel were wounded in the
incident. The five are being treated in the Dutch military
hospital in As Samawah, and all are expected to recover from
their injuries. The personnel were returning to the Dutch
headquarters Camp Smitty in As Samawah after investigating a
previous disturbance. Dutch Quick Reaction Force assets and
Dutch air force Apache helicopters from Talil AB were
dispatched to the scene to assist as was a U.S. Blackhawk
medevac helicopter. (Note: the Netherlands has some 1400
personnel serving in AlMuthanna province as part of the UK
Multinational Division SE. This deployment is set to run
through March 2005 to cover anticipated elections. End
note.) Two Iraqi militants were allegedly killed in the
incident.



2. (C) Charge conveyed USG condolences to PM Balkenende and
FM Bot at a WWII commemoration on August 15. Both seemed
fatalistic about the episode and expressed satisfaction with
the response coordination between Dutch and U.S. forces.
Balkenende made a strong public strong statement on August 15
saying that the Netherlands would hold firm in Iraq. He said
"this was not an attack by the Iraqi people but by
individuals who are trying to sabotage the rebuilding of Iraq
by their destructive actions." He subsequently said on
August 16, "in the face of terror we will not and we shall
not budge." CDA also spoke at same commemoration with Dutch
CHOD Lt. Gen. Berlijn. Berlijn expressed appreciation for
U.S. medevac support. He said that some early rumblings in
the Dutch media about the Dutch deployment had been
effectively quashed by strong statements from the junior
governing coalition partner the Liberal Democrats (D66) to
the effect that "these things happen" and that the Dutch
should "stay the course."



3. (C) Comment: Reaction to this event in the Netherlands
has been muted. Media attention has focused on the Dutch
military union questioning the advisability of Dutch forces
conducting patrols in unarmored vehicles. (The Dutch have
taken certain measures including traveling in open all
terrain vehicles and eschewing helmets in an attempt to
better ingratiate themselves with Iraqis and avoid
perceptions that they are an occupying force.) MFA and MOD
colleagues have also reacted to this event calmly. Dutch
Army Plans and Policy Chief MG van den Broek told DATT that
the incident, while regrettable, was not unexpected, and
modest compared with the scale of U.S. sacrifices in Iraq.
Post does not believe that this second Dutch fatality will
lead to any significant calls for a premature withdrawal of
Dutch forces in Iraq. End Comment.
MINIMIZE CONSIDERED
RUSSEL