HUFFINGTON POST
03/28/2008 02:43 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers Graduate... Then Refuse To Serve Outside Home Area...

The graduation of nearly 1,000 new Iraqi army soldiers in restive Anbar province took a disorderly turn Sunday when dozens of the men declared that they would refuse to serve outside their home areas, according to U.S. and Iraqi military authorities.

The graduation ceremony at Camp Habbaniyah, a base about 45 miles west of Baghdad, had been going well. The 978 soldiers, most of them Sunni Muslims, had just finished nearly five weeks of military training and were parading before a review stand to the sounds of martial music. They took an oath of service while U.S. and Iraqi officials delivered speeches hailing the event as an important step toward the formation of a national army.

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