Former U.S. defense secretary Caspar Weinberger called Tuesday for an army of occupation in Iraq once the gulf war has finished.

Weinberger, who served for eight years as defense secretary under Ronald Reagan, told the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club that such a force should be largely composed of Arab units."The only way to assure what the United Nations intended is to have an army of occupation in Iraq," he said.

"I think we have a pretty good precedent for that. After World War I, there were just promises. After World War II, there were armies of occupation and after 45 years we have not had threats of war from the countries concerned.

"We have just had a very brutal demonstration of aggression and what it can do.

"I think we have to have absolute assurances that Saddam Hussein won't have the military capability left to do this all over again," he said.