June 11, 2014

Point of Order To ABC on The Fall of Mosul

Um, I have a bone to pick with ABC on this report about the fall of Mosul to ISIS.

In the report ABC claims that the forces who fled in the face of ISIS are the same troops that the US trained. The Sunni Awakening Councils that expelled al-Qaeda in Iraq from Mosul Diyala and Fallujah back in 2008 and 2009

In Mosul, many troops in the Iraqi army and police forces — which the U.S. spent billions to train and equip — simply dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms and fled, according to numerous reports. And they left behind many of their heavy weapons, which have now fallen into the hands of the rebels.
They even include a video clip of General Petraeus (1:24) saying, "I don't think you'll have that problem here." when asked if al-Qaeda would intimidate the new Iraqi troops once the US left.

But the plan was, and the Shia led Iraqi government agreed, to integrate these local Sunni militias into the regular Iraqi security forces. Up till that point the US had armed trained and funded those militias.

ABC could not resist taking a swipe at Petraeus to to protect President Obama.

Its a low blow, because after Obama failed to secure a status of forces agreement and withdrew our forces from Iraq, we could no longer put pressure on the Shia led Iraqi government to keep its promise to fold these local militias into the security forces.

New York Times, March 23 2009.

The same day, one group of the fighters north of Baghdad announced they were resigning from their Awakening Council, the Iraqi name for what the Americans call the Sons of Iraq. And in the town of Salman Pak, councils in southern Baghdad and its suburbs, an area once called “the ring of death,” met to denounce Iraqi efforts to integrate them.

These are among the signs that the fighters’ patience is fraying badly at a difficult moment. After months of promises, only 5,000 Awakening members — just over 5 percent — have been given permanent jobs in the Iraqi security forces. Those promises were made last year when Iraq was flush with oil money.

Now with Iraq’s budget battered by falling oil prices, the government is having trouble paying existing employees, much less bringing in Sunni gunmen already regarded with suspicion by the Shiite-led government.

In interviews with leaders from a dozen local Awakening Councils, nearly all complained that full-time jobs were lacking, that pay was in arrears and that members were being arrested despite promises of amnesty.

Perhaps most ominously, many expressed concern this might drive some followers back to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a largely Iraqi group with some foreign leadership, at a time when both Iraqi and American military commanders say that the group seems to be making gains, small but worrisome, around Baghdad.

The complaints are not completely new, as Awakening members bargained for power and cash, but the threat to rejoin the insurgency has grown more fervent as more time has passed without government jobs.

“Until now, promises are all we’ve gotten,” said Adil al-Mashhadani, a leader of the Awakening Council in the Fadhil neighborhood in Baghdad, where 12 of the 180 members have been able to join the police. “When the government does not even pay them enough to stay alive, Qaeda and armed groups are ready to pay them generously.”

So even as the writing was on the wall that the US was leaving, the Iraqi government began going back on its promise to integrate the fighters we had worked so hard to split from al-Qaeda. After we left the problem only worsened, with Shia forces from the south moved to Sunni areas to keep a lid on Sunni Baathists like Ansar al-Sunnah, al-Qaeda allied groups and Sunnis in general.

The forces that fled Mosul, ditching their equipment and uniforms were most likely NOT the same local forces that General Petraeus trained to keep al-Qaeda from retaking northwest Iraq.

Then Obama's policy debacle in Syria only worsened the problem. But when you think about it that was Bushes policy too, the domino effect, where if Saddam fell then there would be an Arab Spring and many Muslim Nations in the middle east would witness a big giant democracy cakewalk. And it would all be hunky dory.

As we find out on the train, destabilizing the despots in the Middle East is a bad idea. They are there for a reason.

By Howie at 07:51 AM | Comments |