The NATO alliance is considering boosting its numbers in Iraq, becoming involved in non-combat "train-and-advise" missions created to prepare the Iraqi military to cope with threats on their own.
Under the plan, the soldiers would be taken from the US-led coalition fighting Islamic states in countries including Kuwait and Syria.
The Canada-led operation was launched in 2018 but suspended last month after a US missile strike at Baghdad Airport killed Iran's top general and Iraq's government and lawmakers demanded that foreign troops leave.
The Iraqi government's green-lighting of the training mission was announced today by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg as defence ministers from across the 29-member military alliance met in Brussels.
Further down the line, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation plans to look at what more it can do help fight terrorism and build stability in the wider Middle East, responding to a call by US President Donald Trump.
Stoltenberg, speaking at a news conference at the end of the first day of a two-day meeting, pointedly said the "enhanced" North Atlantic Treaty Organisation presence in Iraq "would be with the consent of the Iraqi government".
Stoltenberg also provided no details about how many troops might be added to the training force or what new activities they might eventually undertake.
By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief.
The minister's comments followed news the Iraqi government had agreed to let NATO's Canada-led training mission continue, weeks after the country's parliament passed a resolution demanding all foreign troops leave. A second step, possibly over the summer, would see the mission's mandate changed to take over more activities now handled by the coalition.
"I wouldn't talk about more or less troops", he said.
"This also poses challenges for us, including fueling the spread of terrorism".
"Ministers also agreed to explore what more we can do beyond this first step", Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg stressed, "NATO, though, is in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government and will only stay in Iraq as long as we are welcome because North Atlantic Treaty Organisation respects Iraq's sovereignty". The first step would be to expand the training at three bases in central Iraq.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense ministers made a decision to increase its 500-strong Iraqi operation by shifting personnel deployed for the much bigger USA -led global coalition to fight terrorism in the country.
The defense ministerial concludes on Thursday, and Stoltenberg will then attend the Munich Security Conference on Friday and Saturday along with the Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană.