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Iraq: Bremer Dissolves Military, Security Institutions

Baghdad, 23 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, has abolished several ministries and institutions of Saddam Hussein's regime, and disbanded the Iraqi army, declaring them illegal. The ministries of defense and information are among institutions being dissolved as well as the military and security courts, the Iraqi Olympic Committee, and the Republican Guard units.

Bremer's office today said in a statement that plans are afoot to create a new Iraq Corps as the first step toward forming "a national self-defense capability for a free Iraq."

The statement said the corps will be "professional, nonpolitical, military effective and representative of all Iraqis."

Today's move is apparently aimed to get rid of Ba'athist influences in the military and security institutions. It follows last week's decision to abolish Hussein's Ba'ath party and order the dismissal of party officials from the civil service.

It is estimated that about 400,000 people, mostly military personnel, will lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, UN humanitarian agencies say that as a result of the resolution on Iraq approved yesterday by the United Nations Security Council, aid could quickly be shipped to improve conditions there.

Mark Malloch Brown, administrator of the UN Development Program, says the resolution will help his agency "move quickly" in planning reconstruction efforts and assessing humanitarian needs.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette says nearly $1 billion worth of priority humanitarian supplies can be shipped to Iraq by 3 June.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said he will name a special representative for Iraq shortly to coordinate humanitarian aid.

The UN resolution on Iraq approved yesterday by the Security Council ends 13 years of economic sanctions and authorizes the U.S.-led coalition to administer the country. U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte says the resolution sets up conditions for a gradual -- six month-long -- phasing out of the existing oil-for-food program for Iraq.

"The resolution establishes a framework for an orderly phaseout of the oil for food program, thereby preserving, for a transitional period, what has become an important safety net for the people of Iraq," he said. The sanctions were imposed after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The resolution immediately transfers legal control over Iraq's oil from the UN to the United States and Britain. Proceeds are to be used to rebuild Iraq.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says Moscow will fight to retain oil contracts signed with Hussein's regime.