The United States has announced plans to restore Iraq's
military with an emphasis on defensive capability. Meanwhile former soldiers of Saddam's army are still being paid..
Officials said the U.S. reconstruction administration will
begin recruitment for the Iraqi armed forces on July 1. They said the
military would be restored in stages.
"This country was grotesquely over-militarized," Walter Slocombe, a
senior aide to U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer, told a news conference in
Baghdad on Monday. "It is the fact that most people who were in the old army
will not be able to continue military careers," Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said former members of Saddam's military would continue to be
paid. They said the payments would range from $50 to $150 per month to up to
250,000 former soldiers.
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"The payments will be paid monthly and the recipients must renounce
Baathism and violence," the Coalition Provisional Authority said in a
statement. "The first payments to former soldiers will begin on July 14."
The project will be overseen by the Defense Department, officials said.
They said they envision the restoration effort of the military to take at
least three years.
The new Iraqi military would be structured for defensive operations,
including stopping any ground invasion from a neighboring state. Officials
said missions would include border patrol as well as protection of vital
Officials said the United States would establish several recruitment
centers in July. They said military training would last 75 days and carried
out by a private contractor under the direction of Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton,
former commander of the U.S. Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga. They said
a contractor has not yet been chosen.
In its first stage, the Iraqi military will recruit 12,000 soldiers and
officers, officials said. They said the soldiers would comprise a light
infantry division in an effort that would take one year.
By mid-2006, the Iraqi military would grow to 40,000 and three
divisions, officials said. Before the U.S. war to topple the regime of
President Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi military numbered 400,000.