News

DATE=10/28/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=IRAQ OPPOSITION TRAINING - L NUMBER=2-255574 BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The U-S military is set to start training some members of the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein next week. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports from the Pentagon, where officials say the classes are small and the training academic - for the time being. TEXT: Air Force officials say four members of the opposition to Saddam Hussein are set to begin training next week at a U-S Air Force Special Operations school in Florida. Major Thomas Hudd says that rather than creating skilled warriors, instructors will focus on the problems of organizing a military force in an emerging state, relations between military and civilian officials, and human rights concerns. /// Hudd Act /// Jumping out of airplanes and things like that - that is military training. This is an education. This is schoolhouse, and the courses we teach here are basically academic background. /// End Act /// Pentagon officials say they plan to train more members of the Iraqi opposition in the future, and they do not rule out future classes in war-fighting skills. The U-S military is also making two million dollars in surplus equipment available to the Iraqi opposition, though for the time being it consists of office supplies instead of weapons. While the effort appears small so far, it represents a big change from previous policy that saw the Pentagon keeping its distance from the fractious opposition groups that want to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The program is the first visible step toward complying with a law passed by the Republican-dominated U-S Congress that requires the Pentagon to promote opposition Saddam's regime by providing nearly 100 million dollars in surplus military equipment to seven opposition groups designated by the President. (Signed). NEB/JR/LTD/JP 28-Oct-1999 12:43 PM EDT (28-Oct-1999 1643 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .