Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2015 08:19 pm
I believe that when ISIS attacked the Iraqi Army it laid down its arms and melted away.

I believe that this was because the Sunni members of the Iraqi Army were unwilling to fight for Iraq because it was run by Maliki to favor the Shiites.

Why didn't the Sunni members of the Iraqi army fight?
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Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2015 08:41 pm
It's been the same story in a lot of the battles. The Iraqi government forces don't seem to have the heart for fighting. They don't have a great cause to die for. Fighting ISIS is like fighting their brothers in arms. I think the West should leave the Middle East alone, I don't want to see another US soldier die in that forsaken country. ISIS is trying to incite a new Crusade by the West so they can unite all the muslims, friends and foe to their cause.
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2015 08:59 pm

Thank you.

Will ISIS then attack the U.S. on our own land as it did to France?
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2015 09:11 pm
Anything is possible. Current technology provides many ways of attacks on US soil. We just have to stay alert, and put up whatever barriers we can.
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Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 06:59 am
From a paper by Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman, Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center For Strategic & International Studies:

"The Iraqi security forces should never have been vulnerable to Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) forces in the first place. As incompetent, political, and corrupt as many officers may have been, reports estimate that the Iraqi Army still had an authorized strength of some 193,400 men towards the end of 2013. While Iraq did not have a real air force, it did have a sizable security force under its Ministry of Interior. While Iraq’s undersized air force was made up some light combat trainers and some 30 armed helicopters, its security forces—which Maliki had increasingly used effectively against the Sunnis—totaled 531,000 personnel, made up of 302,000 regular police, 44,000 paramilitary Federal Police, and 95,000 lower quality security guards in the Facilities Protection Service. While US intelligence estimates put the Islamic State forces at some 31,500 by the late summer of 2014, they probably did not total more than 10,000 full- time fighters when they took much of Anbar province. They were still well under 30,000 when they took Mosul. They also were initially light armed, largely with “technicals”—armored trucks mounting automatic weapons and mortars. In contrast, the Iraqi Army initially had 2 special forces brigades, 1 armored division, 5 mechanized divisions, 3 motorized divisions, 4 infantry divisions, one commando division, and two presidential security brigades—for a nominal total of well over 50 combat brigades. It also had 336 medium tanks (including 140 M1A1 Abrams), 1,194 armored personnel carriers, 188 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 1,334 light wheeled combat vehicles, 48 self-propelled heavy artillery weapons, 138 towed heavy artillery weapons, multiple rocket launchers, and 1,200 mortars."

My own inexpert understanding is that the rank and file recruits to the Iraqi Army came from the local population in the areas where they served as garrisons, though the commanders had been replaced with Shiites loyal to then Prime Minister Maliki. If so, this would tend to make most Iraqi soldiers in Sunni dominated areas, Sunnis.

Kurds are often overlooked, though the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army which had much of the responsibility for defending the large city of Mosul was largely Kurdish as recently as 2008 and, apparently, at the time of Mosul's fall later, though information about the make-up of the 2nd Division rank and file at that time is difficult to find.

But in January 2014 the Iraqi government under Maliki stopped sending the Kurds the 12% share of oil revenues they had been receiving (itself less than the 17% promised). So the Kurds also had little motive to die for the national government and every reason to hurry back to defend their own territory.

To me, the question is similar to the situation at the time of the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks in Russia. They were few in numbers and only well supplied with (mostly light) arms in St. Petersburg. By contrast, the Russian army, even after massive casualties and desertions, was still huge and immensely well armed. The mechanics of the initial Bolshevik success seem to rest on their support for the aspirations of the mostly peasant rank and file of the Russian army: an end to Russian involvement in the First World War, and official recognition by the new (Bolshevik) government of the land seizures by the peasant families of those soldiers in the villages from which they were drafted. In other words, the ordinary soldiers, who may have been no more than neutral towards the Bolshevik political leadership on average, were not willing to die on behalf of the old government, even though they were not ready to fight on behalf of the Bolsheviks either.

The Bolsheviks also, as documented by John Reed and others, had paved the way prior to the outbreak of violence, with propaganda, infiltration, and liaisons with the rank and file in the Russian army, including the machine gun and armored car equipped units which remained in St. Petersburg serving in security garrisons, whose passive support was crucial for success.

Given what has been published about the ISIS intelligence efforts organized by former Baathists with excellent local ties to the local elites in Sunni dominated areas of Iraq, and the rapidity with which the "conquest" of Sunni dominated areas took place, it seems fairly obvious that the seizures were in large part well arranged in advance, and that the disintegration of government resistance in such areas was voluntary rather than the result of institutional cowardice on the part of the rank and file of the Iraqi army.

The local elites in Sunni dominated areas were exactly the same tribal leaders and wealthy businessmen who had prospered under Saddam Hussein but increasingly been cut out of the power structure (and attendant perks) of the Shiite dominated Maliki government. The Sunni population at large in such areas also had both practical and religious motives for acquiescence in a power grab by a movement purporting to offer protection to abused Sunnis, a religious justification for their own material aspirations, and the elimination of the corruption that had increasingly plagued government and law enforcement under the Maliki government.

Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 07:27 am
From an old but still useful Wiki page:

"The 2nd Division is a formation of the Iraqi Army. It is headquartered at Mosul. The 2nd Division is one of the most experienced formations in the Iraqi Army. The division is today engaged in totality in the city of Mosul to assure its security.

"It was certified and assumed operational responsibility for counter-insurgency operations in the city of Mosul on December 21, 2006. The 2nd Division’s battalions are former Iraqi National Guard units, and most are manned predominately by Kurdish troops, some being former Peshmerga militia units."

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Reply Tue 8 Dec, 2015 08:06 am
Dr. Cordesman's paper can be found here (click on the imbedded link once there to download the full report):


The "report" is actually a collection of several papers. Of particular interest to those wishing to determine whether radical Islam is "authentic" or deviant, is Conquering the Mental Universe of AQ and IS" by Stephen Ulph, Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Institute.

Ulph's arguments may be sound but his conclusions as to what must be done are too long-term to be practical. I also doubt whether textual deconstruction of the Koran by progressive Muslim scholars will have any more effect on Muslim fundamentalists than similar scholarship by Christian progressives has had on Christian fundamentalists.

My own view of the information warfare side of things is that only hellfire and brimstone Muslims of a similar stripe have any chance of undermining the views propounded by Islamic State. It might be necessary to adopt a divide and conquer strategy which first peels potential IS supporters off and redirects them to unaffiliated jihadist groups. Even perhaps from IS to AQ, and then again divide and conquer by peeling off potential AQ supporters to other militant jihadist groups who, unlike AQ, don't support terrorism against civilians.

Another problem is that many of the foreign recruits to IS have an unsophisticated take on the tenets of Islamic fundamentalism to begin with, and are unlikely to be influenced by arguments based on the fine points of Islamic scholarship, whether fundamentalist or progressive.

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