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Army Collapse - Weak Leadership

Iraqi ArmyThe role of the officer corps remained confused. According to some accounts, the Maliki government had promoted officers based on political loyalty, producing a militarily imcompetent officer corps. By other accounts, Iraqi soldiers reported that their officers had ordered them to surrender rather than fight.

We are not deserters. Our commanders abandoned us while we were sleeping at night, and fled by helicopter, Mahmoud Fahd, an Iraqi soldier who survived the ISIS attack told Asharq Al-Awsat. When we woke up in the morning, there were no [military] officials at the post. Our officers told us to put on civilian clothes and return to our families, the Iraqi soldier added.

If the government is either acutely sectarian or acutely corrupt or both, so that large swaths of the population feel disenfranchised and in fact humiliated by their own government, no amount of local security forces are really going to make up for that deficit, said Sarah Chayes, who was special adviser to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

The IISS reported in its Military Balance for 2013 that that the Maliki government had introduced the equivalent of untrained political commissars called dimaj into the force structure, and that, a broad set of problems continue to plague the Iraqi Army...The first involves weaknesses in management, logistics and strategic planning. The unwillingness, of senior military officials to delegate responsibility down, the chain of command also stifles innovation and independent decision-making at a junior level. Between 2003 and 2005, over 15,000 [by some estimates] Shiite Islamist militia personnel were incorporated into the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). These dimaj (direct accession) personnel lacked formal professional education as soldiers or policemen. Dimaj officers were inserted into the senior ranks.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced 12 November 2014 that 36 commanders had been removed from office and 18 others installed to promote professionalism and combat corruption. The names were not disclosed, but those replaced were said to include the chief of ground forces, the military chief of staff and the commander of operations in Anbar Province. Tellingly, this announcement came from the Prime Minister, not the Minister of Defense.

In a parliamentary debate 18 August 2015 former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, blamed the fall of Iraq's second largest city Mosul to IS militants in June 2014 on Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan and Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani. Maliki blasted adversaries Turkey and Kurdistan for plotting the disintegration of his country. He accused the leaders of both of handing the Iraqi city of Mosul to the Islamic State in 2015.

The fall of Mosul was the subject of an Iraqi parliament debate 18 August 2015, in which a 200-page report with interviews of more than 30 former Iraqi military and political leaders was presented to determine who was responsible for the fall of the city. Iraqi parliament speaker Selim al-Jabbouri told journalists that pressure was put on the committee investigating the fall of Mosul to remove the names of certain prominent figures, but that all those involved in the setback will be prosecuted in court.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani sent out word that Abadi should start an anti-corruption campaign and clean out those who made mistakes in past years. Maliki would be a main target because it was under his reign that Iraq remained a disaster. This has created the situation that Maliki was being held responsible, particularly with the Mosul incident. The panel's report alleges Maliki had an inaccurate picture of the threat to the northern city because he chose commanders who engaged in corruption and failed to hold them accountable.

In addition to Maliki, the report's findings placed responsibility for the fall of the city on Mosul Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi, former acting defense minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi, former army chief General Babakir Zebari and Lieutenant General Mahdi al-Gharrawi, former operational commander of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital. Others accused include Nineveh police commander Major General Khalid Hamdani, former Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi, former army intelligence chief Lieutenant General Hatam al-Magsousi and three other Kurdish members of the Iraqi security forces.




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Page last modified: 20-01-2016 18:22:19 ZULU