Can the US Rebuild the Iraqi Army?
Barry Posen argues that the victory of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant over the Iraqi military in Ramadi shows us “that the ‘Iraqi Army’ no longer exists.”
“Ramadi was under siege for months. How is it that few if any reinforcements were sent to defend a city deemed critical to the defense of Baghdad itself? Public sources reported some fourteen divisions in the Iraqi Army in 2014. Between three and five were destroyed in Mosul, leaving nine. At most one was defending Ramadi. Where were the rest? Indeed, where are they now?”
“If the Iraqi Army has evaporated, or perhaps more accurately deteriorated into a collection of local militias and palace guards, then the U.S. ‘ re-training’ mission in Iraq is vastly more difficult than we have been led to believe. Having claimed to build an Iraqi Army, which seems not to exist, and which one doubts ever really existed, the U.S. military is now trying to build another one, from the ground up. Why will things turn out better this time?”