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Iraq: Armed Forces

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how long it took to train and mentor the 10th division of the Iraqi army; (220316)

(2) how long on average it has taken to train and mentor each division of the Iraqi army;

(3) how long he estimates it will take to complete (a) training and (b) mentoring of the 14th division of the Iraqi army.

UK forces trained and mentored the 10th Division of the Iraqi army from the establishment of its Headquarters in Basra in May 2005 until its move to Dhi Qar province in September 2007. Since then, our Coalition partners have performed a residual mentoring role with the 10th Division.

The appropriate duration and shape of the training and mentoring support that the Coalition provides to the Iraqi army is determined by a range of factors specific to each Division. These factors include the previous military experience of the Division’s recruits, the timing of the Division’s formation, the security challenges it faces and the availability of equipment. The Coalition does not therefore seek to calculate an average period for the full training and mentoring of Iraqi army Divisions.

As the Prime Minister said in his statement on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 660-3, subject to conditions on the ground, our military commanders expect the 14th Division in Basra to be fully trained during the first months of next year. On completion of our remaining military tasks in Basra, we aim to make the transition to a long term bilateral relationship with Iraq, the details of which we will be discussing with the Government of Iraq over the coming months.