BAGHDAD ø Iraq's military has established a chain of command in an
effort to effectively respond to threats to the nation's security.
Officials said the chain of command was one of several steps taken over
the last month to build Iraq's new army. They said the chain marks the
appointment of colonels, brigadier generals and major generals responsible
for what will be Iraq's 35,000-member army by late 2004.
Iraqi Chief of Staff Gen. Amir Hashimi confirmed the establishment of a
chain of command and said the military has taken other steps to improve
command and control. Hashimi said the army has established a department to
oversee border security as the U.S.-led coalition hands over border
facilities to Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported.
In a July 9 interview with the Jordanian daily Al Ra'i, Hashimi said the
border security department was part of the
Defense Ministry and would cooperate with the Iraqi Army and National Guard.
He said the Interior Ministry would also establish a border security force.
Officials said the army was also preparing recruitment centers
throughout Iraq. So far, the military has three recruitment centers ø in
northern, central, and southern Iraq ø and plans to establish three
additional centers over the next few weeks, they said.
The new Iraqi military also plans to recruit those who served in the
army of Saddam Hussein. Officials said some members of the former Saddam
would also work in the Defense Ministry.
At the same time, the army also wants to increase cooperation with Iraqi
militias. Prime Minister Iyad Alawi and Defense Minister Hazim Sha'lan have
met Kurdish leaders to ensure cooperation between the army, police and
Kurdish peshmerga and officials said thousands of Kurdish fighters have been
recruited to maintain security in Baghdad and other major cities. They said
20 percent of the militias will be integrated into the army.