Iraq’s Army Celebrates 90th Anniversary
Iraq’s army marked the 90th anniversary of its 1921 founding on Thursday, with a huge military parade that included tanks and artillery weapons.
Top Iraqi officials, members of the country's military forces as well as foreign diplomatic missions attended Iraq's Armed Forces Day ceremony, which took place in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.
Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki affirmed that Iraq’s Army will protect the country’s sovereignty and the Interior Ministry will take command of the internal security.
"All of us in the executive, legislative and judicial authorities, must work to build a non-politicized army that is able to protect the country, and must arm it and train it according to the needs of the country”, Al Maliki vowed.
10 Abrams tanks that Iraq purchased from the withdrawing United States forces were on parade, the first of 140 that are to be delivered by the end of 2011.
The Iraqi army took over responsibility of security control across the country in mid-2010 as the US military formally ended its combat mission in the country and reduced its troop strength to about 50,000.
Iraq has signed contracts with the United States to buy planes, tanks and warships worth $ 13 billion in the coming years. The contracts also include training and maintenance, implying that some members of the US military will remain in Iraq for long.