"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kurd Commander: "“There really is no Iraqi army"

Kurdish Peshmerga forces

Someone didn't get the memo

  • First, announcing a coming offensive against ISIS to the press in detail is an act of treason.  Period.
  • But it looks like the Kurds didn't get the memo about lying to the public and the media.  So they actually told the truth.  How refreshing.

Major Deliar Shouki, the commander of a string of Kurdish fire bases less than 20 miles from Mosul, admitted he was skeptical when he’d heard the news last week that a U.S. official had told Pentagon reporters that 25,000 Iraqi troops would attack the Islamic State-held city perhaps as soon as April.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article10937564.html#storylink=cpy
“There really is no Iraqi army, so I don’t know where they get the idea that they can train 25,000 soldiers in two months to fight house to house in Mosul,” he said on Friday as he gave a visiting journalist a tour of his men’s positions on the outskirts of the tiny hamlet of Sultan Abdullah, which lies about midway between Mosul and the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
Only a few hundred yards of open ground separates his troops from the Islamic State positions, with Shouki’s men dug in deeply on the tops of hills and the Islamic State fighters occupying the tiny village below. Nearly every night, the area is the scene World War I-style battles as the extremists attempt to storm the Kurdish trenches, only to be thrown back, with heavy casualties.
“It just seems to me like the Iraqi (Arabs) lack a certain morale to be soldiers, and I don’t want to directly accuse them of anything, but every time they fight Daash, they lose ground and equipment that ends up being used against us,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “It’s very suspicious and I don’t think they want to fight them.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article10937564.html#storylink=cpy
Both Shouki and the American-made armored vehicle he uses to shuttle ammunition and evacuate the wounded from his front line area are examples of how the Kurdish peshmerga adapted after the Islamic State stormed into Mosul and took over much of northern and central Iraq last summer.
Shouki isn’t exactly a major, it’s what his men call him. In fact, though, he’d retired from the peshmerga after years of fighting Saddam Hussein; when he volunteered to return as the Islamic State threatened, he was given command of one of the most bitterly contested sections of northern Iraq.
And his command vehicle once carried U.S. troops before being given to the Iraqi army when the Americans left in 2011. It was captured by the Islamic State in June when the Iraqi Army abandoned its equipment and fled before the extremists’ advance. The peshmerga captured it in battle a few months ago and immediately put it to use.
“We need more armored vehicles and heavier weapons,” Shouki explained. “We fight to defend Kurdistan and the coalition air strikes have been very helpful but we need [American] special forces ‘boots on the ground’ to help guide them in and heavier weapons if we are to drive them out of Iraq.”
“Americans need to understand we are fighting them here for you because if they stay in Mosul and take Irbil, they’ll come to New York and Washington eventually,” he added.
Sitting with a group of his commanders over a hot lunch of chicken and eggplant brought to the base by a local family as a thank you to the troops, the commanders of this section of the front line dismiss the notion that any major operation led by the central government in Baghdad to recapture Mosul is imminent.
“The Arabs can’t take Tikrit and Bayji,” laughed one commander, referring to two much smaller cities held by the Islamic State. “There is no Iraqi army, just Shiite militias.”
Another dignitary, dressed in traditional Kurdish garb and heavily armed who declined to give his name but described his occupation as an “arms dealer for Kurdistan,” said the only capable fighting forces that the Iraqi Arabs can field are the Iranian-trained, -led and -equipped militias, which he said, to much agreement in the room, aren’t interested in Sunni Arab Mosul, for both sectarian and strategic reasons.
“Shiite militias and Kurds are going into Sunni Arab Mosul?” he asked. “We Kurds will fight to protect our homeland but Mosul is not, it’s the Arabs’ home. And the Shiite only care about protecting Baghdad and their areas in the south from the Sunnis of Anbar,” the Iraqi province to the west of Baghdad that has largely fallen to the Islamic State.
“We are the only ones fighting and dying,” he said.
Members of the Kurdish Peshmerga 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article10937564.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article10937564.html#storylink=cpy

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