President Talabani hails 89th anniversary of Iraqi Army Day
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani hailed Wednesday the 89th anniversary of the foundation of the Iraqi Army, stressing on the defensive nature of the post-invasion Iraqi Army, Xinhua reported.
Amid tense security measures, Talabani and Iraq's top military officers attended a ceremony and a parade to commemorate the anniversary at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad.
"After the collapse of the tyrannical regime, modern bases have been considered to build a new Iraqi army with a defensive ideology. Its essential mission is to be a fence for the homeland to defend its borders, integrity, sovereignty, and to counter terrorism," Talabani said in his speech in the ceremony, which was also attended by dignitaries, foreign diplomat missions in Iraq and national and international news agencies.
Talabani also asked the Iraqi army to be ready this year to protect the parliamentary elections which he said "would consolidate the political process and the national reconciliation."
During the ceremony, the Iraqi president visited the tomb of the unknown soldier and attended a military parade in the Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government offices and some foreign embassies, including the U.S. one.
The Iraqi government took over the security control of the zone from the U.S. forces at the first day of 2009, as part of a security agreement signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.
On Jan. 6, 1921, Iraq established its first battalion of the modern army by the British during their mandate over the country after World War I.
Actually, the post-invasion Iraqi Army is part of the country's security forces, mainly designed to confront insurgency for a period of time until the police can handle the task alone. Thereafter, the Iraqi Army will undergo a modernization plan which includes purchasing more heavy and sophisticated equipment.