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BAGHDAD (RFE/RL) -- The handover on April 1 of a major multinational forces military base outside of Baghdad to the Iraqi Army will enable the Defense Ministry to revive a military academy located at the base, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

The assistant chief of staff of the Iraqi Army, Lieutenant-General Hussein Jassim, told RFI that in January the Al-Rustamia military academy will have three-year courses for young officers.

Jassim said that since 2005 the academy has organized intensive, nine-month, officer-training courses at makeshift locations.

Major-General Daniel Bolger, a commander of Multinational Forces-Iraq in Baghdad, told RFI that the facility is "really important because it is...part of the strong tradition of the Iraqi Army."

Brigadier-General Mario Billardello of the NATO training mission-Iraq told RFI that NATO instructors will remain to help build the Iraqi Army but that NATO's training mission will be under the protection of Iraqi forces.
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