We need new uniforms…”


" …  it proved to be a slog because of heavy rains, tougher-than-expected resistance from the militants and reports of the low morale that has dogged the Iraqi military ever since the Islamic State swept into Iraq in 2014.  The stalled operation underscored just how difficult it will be to dislodge the militants from Mosul.

While the U.S.-led coalition supporting the Iraqi forces says the operation is unfolding according to plan, Kurdish fighters question the ability of their Iraqi army partners to free Mosul.

“After the first day, the Iraqi army was unable to take a single meter of (Islamic State) territory successfully,” Kurdish Col. Mahdi Younis said at an outpost here, 70 miles south of Mosul. “No one should expect the least success from the Iraqi army. They have no will to fight.”   Military Times.com 



 "The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by Russian warplanes and fighter helicopters is advancing on the town of al Salamiyah located on the important crossroads in the province of Hama. The army units are now in full control of several key areas and heights near the town. If Salamiyah is captured, the Syrian forces will be able to increase the safety of the vital M5 highway and, with recent gains in Palmyra, expand dramatically its logistic and freedom of manoeuvre. The advance on Al Quaryatayn pursues the same goal."  South Front



Yes, "heavy rain" is a bitch and then the damned jihadis shoot at you "and I got my clothes dirty.   Damn!! "  That was sarcasm but paraphrasing the article in the Military Times.   Mosul?  You must be kidding!!  Well, maybe the SAA and the Kurds will give it back to Iraq when they get around to it, after Raqqa.

Once again, watch the South Front briefing video embedded in the link.  pl

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44 Responses to We need new uniforms…”

  1. b says:

    I do not give much credit to whatever the U.S. or the Kurds say about the Iraqi army.
    The Barzani mafia/Peshmerga Kurds, they ran away when ISIS captured the Yezidi areas, have nothing to boost about. The Iraqi army was partly ordered to retreat and partly betrayed when ISIS captured Mosul and other cities. The U.S. did not help it all. Remember that Obama himself said he did not do anything against ISIS in Iraq because he wanted to regime change Maliki first (Friedman interview Sep 2014).
    I believe that the Iraqi army could be brought up to some standard within a few month. I am not sure that any U.S. training will help. Obama is still playing games in Iraq and judging from the numbers of airstrikes etc. has no interest to let the Iraqi government get Mosul back.
    The Iranian army taking over the Iraqi army training while IRGC Suleiman brings up the Shia militia and Russia lends some air support would clean Mosul up in a few month.

  2. Barish says:

    “The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by Russian warplanes and fighter helicopters is advancing on the town of al Salamiyah located on the important crossroads in the province of Hama. The army units are now in full control of several key areas and heights near the town. If Salamiyah is captured, the Syrian forces will be able to increase the safety of the vital M5 highway […]”
    The text here is indeed somewhat confusing without watching the video itself: what is shown there are advances being made by SAA and allies on the unicorn Ar-Rastan – Talbiseh-pocket between Homs city and Hama city, also seen here:
    As for the quoted Kurdish Colonel: bragging about how much better his fellow Kurds are than his southern Iraqi peers shouldn’t be discounted when it comes to how he arrives at his assessment. There’s reports here and there that morale among KRG-troops’s ranks isn’t too high either, in all likelihood also due to strained financial situation of KRG itself. That’s not to say that the man’s assessment itself is wrong per se.

  3. turcopolier says:

    you make a good point about a change of management. Do you have a link for the Friedman interview? pl

  4. cynic says:

    Veterans Today has suggested that ISIS in Mosul may just be a cover for a joint operation between the Barzani Kurds and Erdogan’s forces to steal the local oil. Maybe nobody is trying very hard to dislodge them.
    The story governments tell may be far from the truth.

  5. Barish says:

    I recall that episode, and believe I linked to it on this here blog before:
    “The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: ” ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past. All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ””
    What comes to mind here the most: horrible, inept, naive, a little bit of all three…

  6. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST
    Several observations:
    1-The goals of the Borg w/ respect to Iraq and Syria have not really changed but had to get modified because Putin took a seat at the table uninvited and turned over three aces.
    2-I do not believe that a strong, well-trained Iraqi army was ever in the cards; It was the Borg who dissolved Saddam’s Army, and putting together it back together again will take far more than weapons.
    3-The Kurds talk tough, but have never performed when facing a real force. They are patsies and may suffer if their puppeteers abandon them yet once again.
    4-If and when the “grand bargain” gets disclosed we will see what the new Sykes-Picot will look like. So far the goals of Russia and the Borg are orthogonal.
    BTW, can someone explain to me the treatment sultan tayyip gets from the West? His son flees from arrest in Italy in Saudi garb, using a fake Saudi passport-the local police chief cries corruption, and almost no one carries the story. tayyip orders police to fire on unarmed people, jails journalists, closes newspapers, builds palaces w/out permits, mocks the courts, funds and arms ISIS, etc, and the only thing we hear is “Assad uses barrel bombs”.
    Curiouser and curiouser.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  7. turcopolier says:

    Barish and b
    “horrible, inept, naive, a little bit of all three…” I could not agree more. pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    No. We Americans have just screwed the pooch in Iraq and no longer have the skill to repair the situation. As the Borg turns… pl

  9. turcopolier says:

    I will post on this tomorrow after I digest it. pl

  10. Bill Herschel says:

    Out to lunch.

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Right about Barzani; he thought he could pump oil and become another Kuwait or Abu Dhabi.
    I think Iraqi generals were brined in Mosul to not fight or do anything else to hinder ISIS.
    If not for Iran and that famous Iranian – Ayatollah Sistani, ISIS would have been in control of much, if not all of Baghdad – in my opinion.

  12. Ghost ship says:

    How much do the Iraqis consider the Iraqi army to represent American interests? Since it was created and trained by the United States, I would guess quite a lot. Why should Iraqis wish to die to advance American interests? Meanwhile, with the involvement of Iraqi militias in Syria, they are quite happy to risk their lives advancing Iraqi/Arab interests while they probably develop into battle-hardened units capable of complex operations. Something I suspect the United States was reluctant to do when training the “Iraqi” Army because of the threat that might represent to certain clients in the region.

  13. b says:

    The Maliki moment is at 18:55 min into the video.

  14. Castellio says:

    What’s so curious?
    Can Turkey legally cede the Golan. Is Turkey aligned with Hizbollah?
    Or is Turkey making life very hard for the ruler who can give up the Golan and can stop supporting Hizbollah?
    So it will continue, pretty well no matter what our would be Sultan does…

  15. Chris Chuba says:

    I wonder what’s going to happen to Mosul once the Iraq army finally inches it’s way into the city limits considering that we destroyed about 80 percent of Ramadi. This crew called in air strikes on just about every city block. There is very little incentive for us to change this pattern because the U.S. media gave this very little scrutiny. I haven’t even found a claim regarding civilian deaths. They cheered the liberation of Ramadi for over a week while ignoring its demolition. The favorite narrative was, ‘it’s an important step for the Iraqi army’, boy I wish I could get a dime every time every time cable news repeats a catch phrase.
    Regarding civilian deaths due to U.S. coalition airstrikes, I thought that this was a good column that explained how the official number of 26 is ridiculous and that the actual total is likely closer to 1,000 and how they derived it. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/02/02/us-killing-more-civilians-iraq-and-syria-than-acknowledges-globalpost/79686772/
    It is NOT claiming that our pilots are butchers. It is simply reality. The pilots are given targets from ground spotters and if we are working with Kurdish forces to increase effectiveness then it’s inevitable, isn’t it? This makes sense to me. Wars cause death, it’s serious business, we should never lose track of that or accept a cartoon portrayal of it.
    There’s something off in that south front story or http:://militarymaps.info, according to the latter source, al Salamiyah as been in the SAA’s hands for quite a while.

  16. annamaria says:

    But there is also something that looks as almost willful incompetence on the top. Could it be true that the US military personnel find themselves fighting the US military personnel in the course of implementation of the ziocons’ plans in Syria?
    “Pentagon-backed rebels fighting CIA-backed rebels:” https://www.rt.com/op-edge/337646-syrian-showdown-pentagon-rebels/

  17. turcopolier says:

    Simple incompetence is a good enough answer combined with Obama’s lack of positive control over his administration and consequent infighting among the factions, departments and agencies of the federal government. pl

  18. The Beaver says:

    “The White House last week provided a synopsis of the next steps in the campaign against the Islamic State in a seven-page report to Congress. It says that the group has not had a major military victory since May and that American warplanes have significantly cut its revenue by bombing oil trucks and other targets.”
    The synopsis:
    In both Iraq and Syria, the Coalition continues its campaign to degrade ISIL
    ’s ability to fund its activities,including through attacks on military objectives that have an impact on ISIL controlled petroleum and financial infrastructure. Recent Coalition operation in support of these efforts include Operation TIDAL WAVE II, which began in early November 2015, and which has
    destroyed roughly 400 oil trucks, disrupting ISIL fuel supply lines that the terrorists use across Syria and Iraq. We assess that TIDAL WAVE II has reduced ISIL’s revenue by approximately 30%. These strikes included hitting an “I
    SIL bank” in Mosul, a key site for collection, storage, and distribution of ISIL revenues.
    Coalition in Syria , meh !!! Only the US AF and what we know about Russia+6

  19. Funny how every time R+6 comes up with an important victory, the “other Coalition” tries to mount some counter-PR Ops to try and grab some of the headlines at least.
    Was true when R+6 took back Kweires airport and closed its grip on Aleppo. At T+14 days approx., the ISF announced their offensive on Ramadi, which was officially retaken on Dec. 31st 2015, despite skirmishes going on for much longer.
    Same goes for Palmyra. Huge boost for Assad, Putin and R+6. Couple of days later, CJTF-OIF announced the “beginning” of the operation to take back Mosul (which according to knowledgeable ppl is not gonna happen before the end of 2016).
    But I guess this is all just coincidence … Btw, waiting for the next coincidence when R+6 is gonna push into Deir ez Zor. Be ready !

  20. The Beaver says:

    @ BM
    “If not for Iran and that famous Iranian – Ayatollah Sistani, ISIS would have been in control of much, if not all of Baghdad – in my opinion.”
    Don’t know whether you’ve seen this?

  21. F5 F5 F5 says:

    Why would anybody in Iraq fight for the government today, apart from getting regular wages higher than ISIS’?
    We would think that the destruction of ISIS is the beginning of the end game, but it’s not.
    Even if ISIS suddenly vanished tomorrow, the issues would remain. We’re only hiding behind our little finger.
    The Iraqi central government itself is corrupt, deliquescent, and under foreign influence(s).
    Tensions between Arabs and Kurds are still very real.
    Tensions between Sunnis and Shia are still very real.
    Sunnis still do not have any legitimate representation.
    And even if Sunnis somehow got a place at the table, it wouldn’t make any difference. It would be like joining the Vichy government at Sigmaringen.
    The US is also an increasingly reluctant ally because it put itself in a box.
    So my question is what is the strategy?
    Syria can probably tolerate a Kurdistan, but would Iraq and Turkey?
    And if there is ever a Kurdistan, can there be even be an Iraq?

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In regards to Erdogan or his erstwhile friends, the Gulfies:
    Turkey and Gulfies have been allies of good standing for NATO states for decades, they are not going to be discarded so easily. And then there are those who have gained from business deals with them.
    Furthermore, NATO states need Turkey against Iran and Russia.
    And look at the alternative for the NATO states: there is not any. They burnt their bridges with Iran a long time ago and are in the process of doing so with the Russian Federation.
    one works with the allies that one has and not with the allies that one wishes to have.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Johnny-come-lately – but at least he has arrived.

  24. Fred says:

    “All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ””
    Sounds just like the mayors of too many American cities or the Governor of an American state.

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I like your intellectual exercise; “… if ISIS suddenly vanished tomorrow…”
    So let us consider the hypothesis of suddenly I3 disappear: India, Iran, and Israel.
    Would then Pakistan become a beacon of enlightenment and progress and the war in Afghanistan end?
    Would Jordan and Egypt and Syria welcome a new dawn of civilization?
    Would Turkey be anything other than a creole civilization like Tunisia?
    And would the Gulfies feel any more secure when indulging in their debauchery?
    Likewise for the NATO states:
    If the Russian Federation and Iran disappear tomorrow, would there be a complete restoration of the Rule of Law and Representative Government in Ukraine, or in Romania?
    Would Kosovo suddenly become another San Marino?
    Would the flow of immigrant from Africa and the Near East suddenly stop?
    Would Nigeria and Zaire become paragons of cultural progress and would life expectancy in Zaire suddenly jump by 20 years?

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iraqi government is unlike Vichy – you can look at the history of its creation and establishment.

  27. The Beaver says:

    @ Patrick,
    That’s what I was thinking also when I read that this morning .
    BTW: PM Abadi has proposed 16 names for his cabinet, reshuffling all actual Ministers with the exception of the Defense and Interior ministers.

  28. Dubhaltach says:

    I’m trying to imagine how the indenture would be worded.
    X amount of kwikrelease™ uniforms new & waterprufed™ for Iraqi Army use of.
    X amount of noleak™ diapers desert camouflage printed for Iraqi Army use of.
    X amount of soothemsoothers™ desert camouflage printed for Iraqi Army use of.
    The fact that all these are trademarked will of course mean a hefty markup thereby impoverishing the US taxpayer further but enriching the US parasite class further which is a not unimportant policy goal.
    Getting rid of Saddam’s army was one of the worst things that Bremer did.

  29. annamaria says:

    But the aggressive psychological warfare on the borders of Russian federation seems to reflect on a unified command:
    The small Baltic states have been used of course as patsies, yet are the DC deciders aware that the character of modern weaponry makes them and their country endangered because of the provocations against Russian federation? The problem is not a responsible decision to use nuclear weaponry again aggression but the unavoidable glitches that could lead accidentally to a full-blown nuclear conflict. The stupidity of willful creating the climate of mistrust among nuclear powers should be equated with a crime.

  30. Barish says:

    “There’s something off in that south front story or http:://militarymaps.info, according to the latter source, al Salamiyah as been in the SAA’s hands for quite a while.”
    Probably simply a case of faulty write-up. As I mentioned, the video is indeed a lot clearer than the spoken/written text.
    It also needs to be kept in mind that al-Salamiyah also lends its name to the district to which the town, itself the discrict’s capital, lends its name. Wiki got a map of said district’s outlines:
    Comparing that to the lines of engagement between ISIL and SAA as drawn by edmaps, among others, shows that a good chunk of the eastern territory of that district in particular is occupied by ISIL. The advances SAA made against the Ar-Rastan pocket that the Southfront-vid highlights probably are meant to discourage the unicorns in said pocket from trying to do anything funny while SAA are engaged with ISIL to the east. Similar pattern to the reported SAA and Hizbollah advance earlier this year on the Syrian-Lebanese border to the west of Qaryatayn where ISIL is roaming about, to preempt any potential advances made by that crew while their brothers in Qaryatayn are pincered.

  31. “The Kurds talk tough, but have never performed when facing a real force. They are patsies and may suffer if their puppeteers abandon them yet once again.”
    The YPG Kurds did quite well at Kobane (Ain-al-Arab).

  32. Linda Lau says:

    From my admittedly anecdotal experience, the Iraqi military was just too broken in so many ways that it cannot be expected to go into combat with skill and intensity. I believe it is not a matter of being cowardly but they have to feel that their efforts mean something for themselves and their families.

  33. turcopolier says:

    Linda Lau
    Cannot agree. A coward is a coward. They were not drafted. we have spent a great deal of time and money re-training them and for little result. pl

  34. Chris Chuba says:

    You are spot on Patrick. When Palmyra was obviously on the verge of being liberated by R+6 all I heard about on cable TV was our magnificent killing of the #2 man. That was covered for like 5 days.
    I keep thinking that Syria will be the thing that shames our foreign policy establishment. If it happens, it will be quick and ‘unexpected’ just like the Russian campaign in Syria that was hidden in plain site. The SAA will take control of the Iraq border, Deir Ezzor, and Raqqa. The Pentagon will float one of their silly headlines. The MSM will dutifully repeat it over and over again but people will finally notice how absurd it is and laugh at it. They might even remember some of the other silly things that were said or the dozen or so predictions that all turned out wrong. Well at least I can dream for this to happen or Hillary will get elected and ruin another country …. uhh my dream just turned into a nightmare.

  35. Brunswick says:

    Completely different “Kurds”.

  36. bth says:

    Another possibility that fits the facts is that Lavrov and Kerry agreed to a sequence of events and a time schedule of actiins against IS.

  37. I’m sure they agreed on something, but they not in ctrl of the PR spin-machine on either side.

  38. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Linda Lau 31 March 2016 at 06:56 PM
    If the Sadrists can do it how come the army drawn from exactly the same pool can’t? Except that’s not really the correct question is it? The correct question is:
    If the Sadrists can do it how come the army drawn from exactly the same pool won’t?

  39. bth says:

    I suspect the Russians required a public disclosure by the US and its Iraqi allies regarding the Mosul campaign as a precondition to occur before the 3/31/16 deadline for the Russians in Syria. And I think earlier this week a timeline for a negotiated solution in Syria was targeted for August FWIW.

  40. LeaNder says:

    “Remember that Obama himself said he did not do anything against ISIS in Iraq because he wanted to regime change Maliki first (Friedman interview Sep 2014).”
    bernard, on a rather superficial glance, admittedly, your recent articles have improved. I like this one: “Clinton’s Plan To “Defeat ISIS” Is A Threat”. I vaguely come from the same place.
    But are you sure Obama’s activities or missing activities in Iraq and/or Syria can be reduced to intended “regime change”?
    Wasn’t Operation the “regime change” to start with?
    Friedman interview Sep 2014
    19:30 “And what I’ve been saying to every faction within Iraq, we will be your partners, but we will not be doing it for you. We are not sending a bunch of US troops back on the ground and keep the lid on things.You are gonna have to show us that you are willing and ready, to maintain a unified Iraqi government that is based on compromise. That you are willing to build a government and a non sectarian security force that is answerable to a civilian government. You do that and then, you’ve got a strong partner in us.

  41. turcopolier says:

    “he wanted to regime change Maliki first” I do not know who you are quoting but that is not what Obama said. He said that he wanted to modify Maliki’s behavior, not replace him. pl

  42. Tyler says:

    To what extent have the Western volunteers stiffened the Kurds? I know a few guys who went over there from various military disciplines (Infantry, Medical, Comms, Logistics), and I hear there are many, many more Westerners than you could believe working with/for the Kurds.

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