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U.$. to begin training Iraqi dissidents | (UPI) The United States and possibly other countries will begin in January to train fighters from the Iraqi opposition who could join U.S. forces in a war against Saddam Hussein, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers said Monday.

The potential soldiers are being carefully screened to keep out "the bad guys," according to Myers, a category to which Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld added, "spies."

"So (to) just try to determine the true intentions of those that might volunteer," Myers said.

The soldiers will be trained in lethal weapons skills, and also in language skills, to manage the potentially massive numbers of Iraqi soldiers who surrender, and to provide humanitarian assistance as needed.

Hungary has already volunteered to host a training facility, Rumsfeld confirmed, but said there may be others.

News that the training would begin there in January was first reported by United Press International Thursday last week.

The administration recently released $9 million of $90 million earmarked for this purpose to prepare the training facility.

The armed forces of the so-called Northern Alliance -- the anti-Taliban coalition in Afghanistan -- were critical to the United States swift victory there, but those soldiers were already organized, trained and battle-hardened.

The United States faces a very different situation in Iraq, where almost all resistance of any kind has been brutally crushed by Saddam's dictatorship. Although the Kurdish area in the north of the country has been ruled by two Kurdish parties largely unmolested since 1992, it is unclear whether they would fight with U.S. soldiers and indeed whether the United States would want them to.

Turkey, a staunch American ally and a member of NATO, has a long and tense history with its own Kurdish population, which borders Iraq and which has been agitating for an independent state of its own, tying together Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

If the United States arms and trains those fighters, it could face troubles with Ankara, a critical strategic partner in any war against Iraq because of its proximity to the country. Nonetheless, Kurdish Iraqis affiliated with other opposition groups are expected to be among those trained by the United States.

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