The United States will begin training Iraq's new military this weekend.
Officials said the training program will begin on Saturday. They said
the program was delayed because of intense U.S. search-and-destroy
operations of Sunni insurgents northwest of Baghdad.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, head of the U.S. military in Iraq, said more than
11,000 people have expressed interest in enlisting for the new Iraqi army.
Sanchez said on July 23 that the first battalion of the new Iraqi army would
begin training within 10 days.
Officials said 12,000 Iraqis will be trained in 2003 for the new army.
By the end of 2005, the Iraqi army is projected to number 40,000, Middle East Newsline reported.
At the same time, the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division is training
Iraq's paramilitary forces. Officials said the 101st is training a new class
of officers for the Iraqi Facility Protection Force, which provides security
at power plants, water treatment plants and other public works facilities.
Gen. Harty Schwartz, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, said the 101st Airborne is also training Iraqi police officers at
academies throughout the northern area of Mosul. On July 26, 60 police
officers were graduated.
Schwartz also said military police from the 1st Armored Division have
begun training a second class of Iraqi police officers. The course is
part of the training integration program in Baghdad that currently includes
some 200 officers
"Once the program is fully operational, more than 4,000 Iraqi police
will have completed the course," Schwartz said.