The United States hopes to quickly Iraq's new military
to ease the security workload in that country.
U.S. officials said the Bush administration hopes to launch a training
program that could deploy the first Iraqi soldiers by October. They said the
Iraqi troops will relieve U.S. soldiers in missions to secure vital
installations from insurgency attacks.
L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, said the effort to
rebuild Iraq's military is meant to address both short- and long-term
issues. He said training of the military would begin this month and that
training and recruiting sites have been selected.
The U.S. plan calls for the creation of an Iraqi light infantry division
of 10,000 soldiers by the end of 2003, Middle East Newsline reported. Another three Iraqi divisions will be
formed by 2005.
"We believe that these demobilized enlisted men can be very productively
used in their private and ministerial security forces to help secure, for
example, vital oil installations, electrical power plants, which are today
being guarded by American soldiers," Bremer said in a video-conference from
Baghdad. "If we can hire back and train enlisted men who have some weapon
skills already and get them to a high standard, then they can start to take
over some of the site security from our soldiers, which then allows our
soldiers to more aggressively try to reestablish law and order in Baghdad,
Bremer said Iraqi soldiers will first be used to help clear and build
training sites. He said the United States has also agreed to relay salaries
owed by the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein to hundreds of thousands of
demobilized Iraqi soldiers.
"We will be starting to clear those sites and clean them up and do the
necessary construction," Bremer said. "They are using, by the way, former
enlisted army men. And so, we'll start building a new Iraqi army here,
really, in the next month or so."