Iraq to set up joint military HQ this week

August 31st, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Iraq to set up joint military HQ this week

Media: AFP
Byline: N/A
Date: 31 August 2006

BAGHDAD, Aug 31, 2006 (AFP) - Iraq's fledgling military will activate a
joint headquarters on Saturday, in preparation for eventually taking over
full command of its own forces from its allies in the US-led coalition,
defence officials said.

A statement from the Iraqi defence ministry said on Thursday that military
leaders would meet their American and coalition counterparts to announce an
agreement "on the control of strategic and combat operations".

US military officials confirmed that Saturday's announcement would represent
the creation of a joint headquarters to command Iraq's navy, air force and
the army's ten divisions, totaling 115,000 troops.

Iraq's armed forces are currently coordinated by US headquarters.

On Monday, US military spokesman Major General William Caldwell, said of the
agreement: "What this means is that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense is
prepared to begin assuming direct operational control over Iraq's armed

"Upon stand-up of the Iraqi ground forces command, the majority of Iraqi
divisions will remain under coalition forces initially and then be gradually
transitioned into the Iraqi ground forces command," Caldwell said.

"We anticipate this command will take several months, this transition."

"This is a significant step in Iraq's path to self-reliance and security,"
he said, explaining that the chain of command would pass from Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki, through his defence minister to the joint headquarters.

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