U.S. Proclaims Control Over New "Iraqi" Military

March 28, 2004

This week, the chief of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Paul Bremer, issued an edict appointing an American general as commander of the newly created Iraqi army.

Bremer's executive order says that the U.S. will remain the sole military authority in Iraq after June 30, when the U.S. will formally " transfer authority" to a transitional government handpicked by the U.S.

The March 25 executive order unequivocally proclaims "All trained elements of the Iraqi armed forces shall at all times be under the operational control of the commander of coalition forces for the purpose of conducting combined operations." The document also calls for the appointment of an Iraqi forces chief of staff and a national security adviser for three-year terms, and an inspector-general with a five-year term. All Iraqi military authorities will report to the American commander, Lt. General Ricardo S. Sanchez, according to the edict.

The U.S. hopes to train and equip a 40,000-strong Iraqi puppet army within a short period of time. In addition, more than 100,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq. Top aides to Mr. Bremer admitted that maintaining military control is "an important guarantor" for the nearly $20 billion recently invested in the country. Both the U.S. forces and its puppet Iraqi army will continue to wage a counterinsurgency war against the Iraqi people.