Iraqi military establishes chain of command

Friday, July 16, 2004

BAGHDAD 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 in northern, central, and southern Iraq 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 regime 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.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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