We’ve heard tell that the Iraqi Army aren’t the cowards the mainstream media would have us believe. Their recent rout at the hands of ISIS forces may be more a case of non-existent logistics than a lack of nerve. Check this representative story from presstv.ir: “Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi, the governor of Iraq’s Anbar province, also said that the Iraqi forces have been trapped on a road near Albu Etha in the western part of Ramadi. He further noted that the soldiers were trapped after they ran out of ammunition and food.” We’ve also noticed that nearly a dozen European countries (e.g., Germany and Hungary) have been rushing ammunition to Iraqi and Kurish forces, indicating that ISIS forces captured enormous stocks of U.S. ammo in their ongoing, nearly successful march on Baghdad. And now this . . .
The Iraqi air force mistakenly dropped food, water and arms to ISIS militants last month, a security official said on Wednesday.
“Some pilots transporting aid – arms and food – did not drop the relief to some soldiers in besieged areas especially Brigades 1 and 30,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a member of the Parliament’s security and defense committee, told Al Arabiya News.
“The pilots either do not have enough experience, intelligence or it was a technical mistake,” Ghassan Attiyah, president of the Iraqi Foundation for Development and Democracy, told Al Arabiya News.
“In order for strikes to be precise, there needs to be advanced equipment coupled with on-the-ground intelligence to help them locate [ISIS] targets,” the London-based Attiyah, who authored “The Making of Iraq: 1908-20,” said.
Attiyah said mistakes are not uncommon in wars where the frontlines are often blurry and noted the limited “coordination” between Iraq’s air forces and ground troops.
Erbil-based analyst Ali Abdulamir blamed the pilot’s “weak experience” for the incident.
“Most of these pilots were recalled after leaving their job a long time ago,” he told Al Hadath.
The convenient excuse: lousy pilots. Fog of war. Shit happens. Yes it does, but it happens more frequently when there’s insufficient command and control. In other words, the fish stinks from the head down.
Iraq’s new Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi recently sent two top generals to retirement in a bid to reform the armed forces.
Abdulamir said the government also needs to dismiss and investigate other generals deemed responsible for the army’s poor performance, especially after losing large swaths of land to ISIS militants.
“U.S. reports say that a quarter of the Iraqi forces are capable, and this is to beautify the shameful face of the so-called Iraqi army,” Abdulamir said.
“This is incorrect, there are no Iraqi forces; the Iraqi army collapsed and what we have are militias who volunteered,” he added.
Which is not to say that these forces aren’t capable. But it’s increasingly clear that the U.S.’s multi-billion dollar training program for Iraqi forces – long criticized by TTAG and others – ignored the corruption at the top. And the bottom. And the middle. Those chickens have come home to roost. And good people are being left to die on the battlefield as a result.