For people who have trouble understanding how a few thousand Jihadist fighters managed to take large cities from the Iraqi army, whose numbers are so much larger, remember one thing: this is the army that is still using fake bomb detectors on checkpoints and streets that were sold to them by a British con artist during the U.S. occupation years ago. That is all that the world needs to know to better understand the nature of the Iraqi army.

Even after the bomb detectors were proven to be fake Iraq’s military leadership still have not gotten rid of them. This might be a small and insignificant detail in light of the invasion of Mosul by ISIL, but it’s worth highlighting because it is a reflection of the corruption, stupidity, and incompetence of the Iraqi army. Clearly, intelligence is not this army’s strong suit. It is a corrupt, incompetent, and pathetic army, and its defeat was fully deserved, no matter at whose hands. 

An excerpt from, “In Iraq, ‘ghost soldiers’ are no match for ISIS fighters”by Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz, June 20, 2014: 

Other reports tell of commanders listing soldiers and officers who do not even exist, or never show up for duty, but their salaries are paid to the unit. These “ghost soldiers” are not invented – they have an identity card and an address, but they are usually freed from any duty and in return they are required to pay part of their salaries, sometimes more than half, to their commanders.

That is why the world was surprised this week at how an army of 350,000 to 400,000 soldiers fled from only a few thousands fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, but part of the answer lies in the numbers above. This is an army that only part of which is trained, the rest does not even show up for duty; and most of the soldiers and officers are not subordinate to their commanders – but also to their political and ethnic leaders.For example, it is still not clear who gave the order to the police commanders in Mosul to abandon their posts, leave their equipment and not fight against ISIS. Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki may have fired four senior officers in the division deployed in the Nineveh province earlier this week, and later he dismissed another five officers; but there is no certainty at all that these dismissals were not part of the cleansing of the army from Maliki’s rivals, and not as punishment for shirking their duty.

This makes U.S. President Barack Obama’s harsh comments this week more understandable, responding to Maliki’s request to send U.S. troops, or at least attack ISIS from the air. Though the conditions are comfortable enough, and even Iran is willing to cooperate with the United States – and of course with Iraq – to wipe out the threat from ISIS, and Arab nations look on from afar without being able to help – it seems there is no Iraqi partner to go to war with.”

This post first appeared on The Excavator.


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