• Shakeup or Shakedown in Iraqi Army?

    November 13, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iraq, Military

    obama and abadi

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, as Commander-in-Chief of the belittled Iraqi Army, fired 26 military commanders on November 12 for corruption and incompetence.

    “The military leadership should have competence, and this is an important thing, as it is not possible for someone who is not efficient to do his work properly,” Abadi said in comments to army officers broadcast on state television. “The second thing is integrity, as efficiency without integrity produces a vacuum. The third is courage, so that the soldier will fight in a proper way when he sees his commander has such qualifications.”

    Abadi did not elaborate on his timing or the decision itself, and officials in his office did specify which commanders were removed.

    Timing is Everything

    The timing is however interesting. Iraq’s most influential Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said during Friday prayers that it was corruption in the armed forces which enabled ISIS to seize large amounts of Iraqi territory. Sistani has become increasingly critical of Iraqi leaders since ISIS’ advances spiraled the country into a crisis in general, and in particular how that crisis reinserted American troops into Iraq. Shia militias, with whom Sistani maintains links, have increasingly replaced the remnants of the Iraqi Army in the fight against ISIS. The militias have also, however, also continued the persecution and outright murder of Iraq’s indigenous Sunnis under the guise of fighting ISIS.

    Who Got the Axe?

    The other issues regarding the firing of those 26 military commanders are also of great importance.

    Until the affiliations of all 26 are known, Sunni or Shia, Abadi’s real intent is unknown. If a significant number of Sunni commanders were sacked, the action will be seen inside Iraq as more of a purge than any sort of reform. Same for the location of the commanders; if many are in Sunni-held areas to the west of Baghdad, suspicions that Abadi is looking to install more of his own adherents into power will arise. Another issue to watch is rank. If many of the commanders are senior leaders, that bodes well for reform. However, if the firings come from the lower ranks, most inside Iraq will see them simply as a show-event to please the Americans calling for reform. Finally, the disposition of the fired commanders will need to be watched closely. If some resurface in the near future in other jobs or locations, or remain attached to the government, Abadi’s reforms will need to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Keep in mind firing commanders is nothing new in Iraq. As recently as June, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fired four senior officers after the collapse of Army north of Baghdad. He also fired the commander of the Third Infantry Division after he “fled the battle scene.”

    But It’s Progress, Right?

    The U.S. spent $25 billion and several years training the Iraqi Army prior to its near-total collapse at first-blood when ISIS moved into northern Iraq. The weapons abandoned by the Iraqi Army have also supplied ISIS with some of its heaviest artillery and armor. There most certainly is room for improvement.

    But whatever the ground truth of the firings in Iraq really turns out to be, expect Abadi’s actions to be much-praised by an Obama Administration obsessed with “doing something” as another sign of “progress.”

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “The U.S. spent $25 billion and several years training the Iraqi Army prior to its near-total collapse at first-blood when ISIS moved into northern Iraq.”

      The only thing they were fighting for was a paycheck.

      11/13/14 12:30 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”There most certainly is room for improvement.”unquote


      Peter..your satire is beyond funny.



      11/13/14 2:51 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile, regardless of the current bullshit, one must still throw the past on the wall of history and see if it sticks…

      The primary concern of human beings of the late 21st century are:

      1. No different than they were in 130bc.

      2. If you had the choice to vote for a different reality you would.

      3. At 70yrs old you discover it doesn’t make a damn worth of difference what you think.

      11/13/14 11:23 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Unless of course..you have to change an axle bearing in the snow over two weeks, to insure your wife makes it to an appointment so she finds out from an expert she is mortal.

      11/13/14 11:29 PM | Comment Link

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