BAGHDAD Ñ The Iraqi Governing Council has decided that the new Iraqi Army would
have a majority of Shi'ite soldiers and officers, far outnumbering Sunnis
U.S. officials said Shi'ites would comprise 54 percent of the
The military would comprise three light infantry divisions and be ready
by October 2004, Middle East Newsline reported. The army would be composed of 27 battalions, equipped with
armored fighting vehicles, artillery and light weapons.
Officials said the military would also consist of 15 percent Sunnis and
12 percent Kurds. Christians and ethnic Turks would comprise the remaining
19 percent of the military.
The Shi'ite majority, officials said, was intentional and meant to
reflect the composition of the Iraqi population. Shi'ites also dominate the
interim Iraqi ruling council.
Officials said the military's biggest hurdle would be to develop a
army that crosses ethnic and religious lines. They said tribal loyalties
would also constitute a problem, even among Sunni recruits.
Another challenge to the Iraqi military has been maintaining personnel.
Attrition rates have been reported as high as 25 percent despite a $72 per
month supplemental for hazardous duty. Initial salaries range from $60 to
$180 a month based on rank.