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Iraqi Army (IA) - June 2014 Collapse

Iraqi ArmyIn June 2014 once-proud Iraqi army simply collapsed and failed to defend the countrys second-largest city. Tens of thousands of Iraqi troops abandoned their posts and fled. By early 2015 the Iraqi army remained in very poor shape, boasting a frontline combat strength of about 48,000 troops versus nearly 210,000 at the height of its effectiveness in 2009.

An estimated 1,200 ISIS fighters were able to topple Mosul, which was supposedly protected by 60,000 troops. Before these troops disintegrated in Mosul in June 2014, the Iraq army was losing as many as 300 soldiers a day to desertion, death, and injury. When they abandoned Mosul in mid-June, military personnel abandoned their vehicles, discarded their weapons, discarded their uniforms onto the street, and changed into civilian clothes.

By 14 June 2014 the situation in the Sunni north-western parts of Iraq amounted to the collapse of the forces of the army and federal police. With the fall of Nineveh Mosul, operational command virtually ceased, with the defeated remnants of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Iraqi army and the third motorized division of the federal police in Iraq running south or towards the Kurdish autonomy.

The road between Baghdad and Mosul was cut, and in the province of Salah al-Din, militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Sham) launched an offensive and captured the Tikrit administrative center as well as Suleiman Bek, Baiji (along with a large oil refinery there), etc. The situation for the Iraqi forces operational command "Tiger" was extremely unfavorable, with the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit defeated and / or running. Also according to reports from the Kurds, the 12th Infantry Division in Kirkuk was close to panic, with mass desertion and abandonment of combat positions.

International media reported that two division of Iraqi soldiers roughly 30,000 men fled an insurgent ISIS force of approximately 1,000. Iraqi troops who fled the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters into Mosul denied that they abandoned their posts, saying that they had received orders to flee from up the chain of command.

Stephen Zunes, a scholar of Middle Eastern politics at the University of San Francisco, observed "You can arm and train the local government armed forces all you want, but the question is: are they willing to fight and die for the government? And unfortunately, the Maliki government has alienated so many people in the country that they don't really seem to have the popular support where enough soldiers are willing to risk their lives".

Michael Knights reported in June 2014 that "Around 60 of 243 Iraqi army combat battalions cannot be accounted for, and all of their equipment is lost. It will be a mammoth task to put these units back together and rearm them." Michael Gordon reported that "American officials said their assessment was that five of the Iraqi Armys 14 divisions were combat ineffective, including the two that were overrun in Mosul. ... since the withdrawal of American troops at the end of 2011, the skills of Iraqi forces have atrophied, American officials said. The Iraqi military is not practiced at maneuvering on the battlefield and has become a checkpoint army, a force that is adept at checking identification but not at taking the fight to its enemy."

On 16 August 2015 an Iraqi parliamentary panel found former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and 35 security and political officials responsible for the fall of the northern city of Mosul to Islamic State. The case would be handed over to prosecutors.

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