Post-Saddam Iraq now has 116,000 in uniform

Wedesday, November 12, 2003

The number of Iraqi military and security forces now totals 116,000.

As of Oct. 31, Iraqi nationals comprise the second largest contingent in that country, according to a Defense Department report. The United States leads with 131,000 troops, followed by Iraq with 116,000.

This marked a significant increase in the growth of the Iraqi troop level over the last two months. On Sept. 10, Iraqi forces totaled 62,000 police, military and security forces, Middle East Newsline reported.

The report said the Iraqi Border Police has 11,600 troops, with a requirement of 25,700. The formation of the police was said to have been nearly completed with 60,400 officers recruited out of a required total of 71,000.

The Iraqi military and Civil Defense Force have only a small portion of their required manpower level. The military has 700 soldiers of a required 35,000. The Civil Defense Force has 7,000 out of a required 40,000. The Facilities Protection Service has recruited 36,000 out of a required 50,000.

In all, 115,700 Iraqi soldiers and security troops have been operating out of a required manpower level of 221,000. The report said Iraqis comprise 43 percent of all military and security forces that operate in Iraq.

On Thursday, Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the number of Iraqi troops has risen since Oct. 31 to 118,000. Other members of the U.S.-led coalition contributed 25,000 troops, with Britain the largest contributor at 11,000. Not one of the countries that have contributed troops comes from the Middle East. The U.S. force level has hovered from between 129,000 to 136,000 over the last two months.

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced plans to reduce the U.S. troop level in Iraq during 2004. Officials said the military plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to 105,000 in May 2004 as the number of Iraqi forces increase to 170,000. They said the military would outsource a large portion of such requirements as bridges and trucks.

The report said crude oil production has exceeded 2.1 million barrels per day, an increase of nearly 600,000 barrels since September. The seven-day oil export average between Oct. 24 and 30 was reported at 1.4 million barrels per day.

By December 2004, the Pentagon aims to increase Iraqi crude oil production to 3.1 million barrels per day, the capacity before the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

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