Iraq urges former Saddam officers to join new army

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
BAGHDAD, Nov 2 (AFP) - The Iraqi defence ministry Wednesday called on all
former officers of Saddam Hussein's disbanded armed forces up to the rank of
major to join the new army.

The Iraqi army was stood down after US-led forces invaded the country in the
spring of 2003, but Iraq is now building up a new army for which it lacks
experienced officers.

"All former army officers who wish to rejoin the forces are invited to do
so. These officers must rank no higher than major," a statement said.

Recruitment offices will receive applications from November 6 to December 1
and carry out interviews and medical check-ups, the statement added.

The new Iraqi armed forces currently number about 87,000 men.

There are also some 69,000 policemen and 36,000 interior ministry troops.

According to US officials, less than half of Iraq's security forces are
currently capable of operating on their own.

Iraqi armed forces are expected to reach their full complement of 131,000
men by the end of 2006, allowing US forces to start to withdraw.

Calls for US President George Bush to set a firm timetable for pulling out
the more than 140,000 US troops currently in Iraq have multiplied amid
mounting casualties.