Report: U.S. to give military training to up to 10,000 members of Iraqi opposition
The White House is expected to seek approval from Congress soon to give military training to up to 10,000 members of the Iraqi opposition, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
The aim of the training is to create an array of forces to help the U.S. military in a possible attack on Iraq, the newspaper said, quoting Bush administration officials and Iraqi opposition sources.
The report said the administration move, which could come as early as this week, reflected the depth of commitment to the removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the quickening pace of military preparations targeting him.
"We have graduated to the next step of regime change," the LA Times quoted informed sources as saying.
Administration sources told the daily the forces, to come from all of Iraq's major ethnic and religious groups, would play a support role. "They will be trained on military systems and military capabilities, but that does not mean creating an armed insurrection group to go in itself as a tripwire (for war). This is looking at them as support staff," the administration official told the American newspaper.
In order to pay for the training, the White House intends to notify Congress it wants to use $92 million yet to be allocated from the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which allows the Pentagon to provide training, non-lethal goods and services to seven opposition groups, the LA Times said.
Training would likely be conducted outside Iraq, according to the newspaper. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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