Iraq considers reinstating mandatory military service

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The first reading of a measure to reinstate military conscription in Iraq that was scheduled to take place on Sunday, has been postponed. From 1935 until 2003, when a US-led operation deposed previous tyrant Saddam Hussein, military service in Iraq was required. The parliament’s press office said that the first reading of the measure, which was originally set for Sunday, has been moved to Tuesday. The press agency did not provide a justification for the postponement.

As per MP Yasser Iskander Watout, the measure would allow for the conscription of young males between the ages of 18 and 35 for durations ranging from three to eighteen months, depending on their degree of schooling.

Their compensation would be in the range of 600,000 to 700,000 Iraqi dinars (more than $400), noted Watout, a member of the defence committee of the assembly.

Watout stated that it would take two years after the law’s passage for conscription to be completely reinstated and that only-sons and breadwinners would be exempt.

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Since Saddam Hussein was removed from power, Iraq has seen sectarian strife that culminated in the Islamic State organisation taking vast tracts of land, before the jihadists were routed by Iraqi troops supported by a US-led military coalition in late 2017.

Up until last December, that anti-IS coalition fought in Iraq, but there are still about 2,500 American soldiers there to teach, advise, and support the local forces.

Under the administration of the then-prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, the defence ministry first proposed the bill in August 2021.

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After a year of political gridlock, Iraq later that year elected a new parliament, which only last month swore in a cabinet led by Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Despite the declared victory over IS, members of the group continue to stage intermittent attacks on government forces and the former paramilitary organisation Hashed al-Shaabi, now integrated into the regular forces.

(With inputs from agencies)

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