Our friends at Foreign Intrigue have published an amazing interview today with an Iraqi Army Officer who dishes out the unvarnished truth about Iraq, about ISIS, and the Iraqi Army. This is one of the best accounts of ISIS tactics and why the Iraqi Army fails again and again. -Jack
In early June, 2014, the terror group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) launched a major offensive into the northeastern portion of Iraq. In a matter of days, ISIS fighters seized control of Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit, and much of the surrounding Nineveh province, placing significant pressure on Baghdad to the south. In the face of this onslaught, and despite nearly a decade of US-led training and an investment in the tens of millions of dollars, the Iraqi Army all but collapsed. Many of the soldiers and officers brought into the reconstituted Iraqi Army held fast, however, and remain prepared in spirit if not capability to fight for their new Iraq. One of those officers is a man we will call “Major R.”
Major R. is an active duty Iraqi Army Infantry officer with over 10 years of service in the Iraqi Army, joining the Iraqi Army with a belief in a free Iraq. He has led Iraqi Army Infantry Platoons and commanded an Infantry company in Baghdad, Iraq during the surge and awakening. He fought against both al-Qaeda and Mahdi Army (Jaysh al-Mahdi) groups and currently is contributing to the fight against ISIS/IS (Islamic State). What makes this interview even more compelling is that Major R is an ethnic Kurd from Ninevah province, where his family is currently in territory occupied by IS. Rather than join the Peshmerga, Major R. joined the Iraqi Army on the advice of family members. To protect Major R. and his family from reprisals, all identifying background information that might compromise him or his family has been stripped.
Pseudonym and familial anonymity in place, Major R. agreed to sit down with me and discuss the current state of the Iraqi Army, the differences between the Iraqi Army and the Peshmerga, and what it will take for them to beat IS.
Q: Are there political leaders or military leaders in Iraq who can fix the problems? If so, what are the obstacles they are facing?
A: The people who want to fix the problems within Iraq can’t, they cannot separate the Army and political parties. I’m not supposed to follow a specific party, but there are over 360 political parties in Iraq. We should be loyal to Iraq, not a certain political party.
Read the rest of the interview at Foreign Intrigue.