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Rumsfeld Sees Iraqi Special Operations Training in Jordan

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 23, 2005 – "Bark Allah finkom," Army Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told a class of Iraqi special police during a break in training at a special operations academy near here.

"God be with you," the general said.

Dempsey, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq -- the organization responsible for training Iraqi security forces -- and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld got a demonstration of the type of training Iraqi special operations forces receive here.

Jordan hosts the training for Iraqi special operations forces. A total of 98 Iraqi personnel are going through training at the facility. The secretary told the students that the world has been impressed by the performance of the Iraqi security forces in providing a safe environment for three elections in less than a year. "There is no question but that the Iraqi security forces provided security in a skillful and professional way," he told them.

Rumsfeld told the students the United States wants to turn over security responsibility to a trained Iraqi security force as soon as possible. The secretary thanked the Jordanians for their help in training the Iraqis. Jordanian instructors, with help from U.S. Army Special Forces personnel, trained the first few units, which returned to Baghdad and went into operations while continuing to train with a U.S. Special Forces unit.

The training in Jordan lasts three months. The first few weeks emphasize shooting and an intense physical fitness program. Most of the course deals with counterinsurgency tactics, including heavy emphasis on human rights, officials said.

The Jordanians showed Rumsfeld and Dempsey how the special operators clear a house and take down a suspect's car.

Once back in Baghdad after training in Jordan, officials explained, the unit commander chooses the best men in the unit to become instructors at the Jordanian center. These men will teach Iraqi special operations forces in the months and years ahead. All of the men chosen to be instructors wear the Iraqi equivalent of the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Jordan is seeking to become a special operations regional "center of excellence." U.S. officials said the base outside the capital city could host special operations training from the Gulf kingdoms, Iraq, the coalition, and even the United States.

The base is built into a large quarry. Jerusalem was built with the stone from the quarry -- stone so prevalent that people just call it Jerusalem stone.

Before he left, Dempsey paid the police a compliment. He said that in the United States people read of the number of Iraqi forces. "(But) what is far more important is what is in your hearts, you who have volunteered to serve your country," he said.

Contact Author

Donald H. Rumsfeld
Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, USA

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