No military draft in post-Saddam Iraq

Friday, May 14, 2004

BAGHDAD Iraq's interim government has agreed that the nation's new military will be based on voluntary service.

Iraqi officials said the Interim Governing Council has determined that Iraq will not renew the draft employed by the former regime of Saddam Hussein. They said the military will be based on an all-volunteer force similar to the United States and European Union countries.

In Amman, Jordan continued to train Iraqi police and security forces. On Thursday, a class of 500 police officers completed training and underwent graduation in Amman, Middle East Newsline reported.

Iraq has been training to complete the first phase of its new army, composed of 27 battalions. This calls for three light infantry divisions in a 40,000-member army.

Officials said Iraq could decide on a second stage of development that would expand the army to 60,000. Baghdad also plans to restore the nation's navy and air force.

"Iraq is passing through a very difficult security phase and all efforts should be focused on putting an end to the state of chaos by building effective security forces capable of restoring stability in the country," Iraqi police chief Maj. Gen. Taleb Abbas said.

So far, Jordan has trained and graduated 1,900 Iraqi police officers at Amman's police academy. Jordan agreed to train 32,000 Iraqi policemen by the end of 2005.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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