If you peep through your window this morning, and spot someone running down your road in Army kit, it may well be a fleeing Iraqi solider.
Iraq’s fighting forces seem to be in full fleeing mode at the minute and Alf would by no means be surprised if they haven’t run as far as this country in their desperate efforts to put a great distance between themselves and the insurgent forces that are giving them a hard time.
Check out these reports.
The first is from CNN:
As security forces ran out, militants overran Iraq’s second-largest city on Tuesday — a stunning collapse that heightened questions about Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s ability to hold onto not only Mosul, but his entire country.
The numerous reports of police and soldiers running from their posts in Mosul raised the prospect that the Iraqi government did not either have the will or resources to win this and other fights.
The Guardian similarly reported:
Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq’s second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting.
The Independent gave this account:
Though critics of the army have long accused it of being a corrupt patronage machine providing jobs for government supporters, its failure to fight this week has been astonishing, even though it far outnumbers its opponents.
And from Reuters:
“We have lost Mosul this morning,” said a colonel at a local military command center. “Army and police forces left their positions and ISIL terrorists are in full control.
“It’s a total collapse of the security forces.”
The New York Daily News said this:
Particularly galling to Iraqi officials was the response by their soldiers who were seen throwing down their weapons and stripping off their uniforms as the insurgents bore down on the city.
And from the New York Times:
The Iraqi Army apparently crumbled in the face of the militant assault, as soldiers dropped their weapons, shed their uniforms for civilian clothes and blended in with the fleeing masses
Obviously we can’t mock these fleeing soldiers as surrender monkeys, because they aren’t hanging around long enough to do any surrendering.
So – who trained the buggers?
The Washington Post gives us a reminder:
Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the western bank of the city overnight after U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers and police officers abandoned their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants.
Alf remembers reading in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago that US and Iraqi governments would be working on ways to continue joint military training and cooperation after the last American troops have left the country.
Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Baghdad to mark the withdrawal and discuss the future U.S. role here, said at a meeting of American and Iraqi officials that the U.S. will provide security assistance at Baghdad’s request.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said there is “no doubt the U.S. forces have a role in providing training of Iraqi forces.”
It looks like the training in how to engage in a disorderly retreat was more effective than the training in how to advance and put the enemy to flight.
The Yanks spent lots of money on their intervention in Iraq which was intended to…
Let’s jog the memory.
Finding weapons of mass destruction was one of the objectives, Alf remembers, except there weren’t any there.
And maybe they were trying to flush out Al Qaeda terrorists. But they weren’t there either – not then.
They are there nowadays, of course, which just goes to show what perverse consequences can flow from American foreign policy and that country’s admirable efforts to establish healthy democracies.
The intervention didn’t come cheap, of course.
The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, calculates the prestigious Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
These would be US dollars, Alf supposes, so the authorities would be apt simply to print some more if they ran a bit short and give this process a fancy name, like quantitative easing.
Actually, printing that much money would call for the presses to run even faster than the Iraqi soldiers are running from the insurgents.