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Iraqi Interim Defense Minister Appoints Three Top Generals

Baghdad, Iraq -- Interim Minister of Defense Ali Allawi announced the appointment of the three top generals in the Iraqi Armed Forces during a news conference Sunday afternoon in Baghdad.

The top general, who will hold the office of Senior Military Advisor, is General Babekr al-Zibari, and the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Armed Forces is General Amer al-Hashimi. The Deputy Chief of Staff is Lieutenant General Daham al-Assal.

"These generals bring a wealth of experience, wisdom, courage and ability to the Iraqi Armed Forces," Minister Allawi said. "Iraqis want peace. Iraqis want security. With these generals providing leadership, Iraqis will have both."

Gen. al-Zibari, 57, a Sunni Kurd from a village near Mosul, graduated from the Iraqi Military Academy where he received airborne and special forces training. After serving with distinction as an anti-aircraft artillery commander, he resigned from the Iraqi Army in 1973 and joined the Peshmerga. He reorganized the resistance movement into a regular military force and spent the next 30-years opposing Saddam Hussein's regime. As Senior Military Advisor, he will serve as the senior military advisor to the Minister of Defense, the Ministerial Committee for National Security, and the Head of Government.

Gen. al-Hashimi, 58, a Sunni Arab from Baghdad, rose to the rank of Major General in the former Iraqi Army. He graduated from the Pakistani Military Academy in 1970 and served as an infantry officer during the early part of his career. Gen al-Hashimi has held a number of significant training positions, culminating as the Deputy Commandant of the Iraqi Military Academy. Since his retirement in 1997, he has been a member of the Baghdad City Council. As Chief of Staff, he will be the commander of the Iraqi Armed Forces.

Lt. Gen. al-Assal, 63, a Shia Arab from Nineveh, attained the rank of Major General in the previous military. He served as an infantry officer after graduating in 1962 from the Iraqi Military Academy. He is also a graduate of both the U.K. Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and the U.S. Army Ranger School. Lt. Gen. al-Assal has commanded Divisions, taught at the military's leadership college, and worked with the reserve forces. As Deputy Chief of Staff he will be second in command of the Iraqi Armed Forces.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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