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No Alteration in Troop Dispatch to Iraq

Posted April. 07, 2004 22:22,   


As the conflicts between the Shiite Muslims, one of the largest religious denominations in Iraq, and the coalition forces have intensified recently, and which may stir a sort of civil war, the Ministry of National Defense (MND), which is facing the upcoming additional dispatch of troops to Iraq, is overburdened.

Suhee and Jema troops of Korea, which have been stationed at Nasiriya, Iraq for more than half a year, have already entered emergency preparation, and the Korean liaison officers, who were dispatched to the headquarters of CJTF-7 and the U.S. Central Army Command in Florida, are busily reporting the information related to the sanguinary accidents occurring in Iraq to the MND.

The Headquarters of Joint Chiefs of Staff in Korea have already requested the U.S. Army to provide information about Arvil and Sulaimaniya, the two proposed site for the future army post of Korean troops in Iraq, as soon as possible.

The MND expects that current bloodshed centering on the Shiite Muslims will not heavily influence the troop dispatch plan because the two proposed sites fall within the Kurd self-administration area.

On April 7, “Though we are gazing steadily at the Iraqi situation, the plan of Korean troops’ dispatch to Iraq will not be easily altered,” remarked the spokesperson of MND, Nam Dae-yeon, adding, “Our final decision as to the army post and the dispatch preparation will be conducted without any failure.”

However, if the current conflicts between the U.S. troops and the Shiite Muslims expand into a civil war between the pro and anti-U.S. factions in Iraq, MND’s standpoint will not avoid making a big change.

Recently, MND has intensified the anti-terrorists training of the Zaitoon Troops, which is scheduled to be sent to Iraq in the near future, because the possibility that the anti-U.S. factions may assault the Kurd self-administration area has increased dramatically.

The biggest terrorism organization in northern Iraq, which has been closely observed by MND so far, is the “Anshar Al Islam.” Though its leading group has been attacked and reduced by the U.S. Army, it has been strongly suspected that it is closely connected to Al Qaeda. That is, many experts have prudently suggested that the low occurrence rate of terrorism in the future army post area should not be naturally accepted.

On the other hand, MND plans to conduct a close investigation targeting the two proposed area for the future army post of Korean troops in order to weigh the necessities of reconstruction. The investigation team will also discuss the problem of terrorists’ inflow via the Iraqi border between Turkey and Iran with the border guards for mutual cooperation.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com