Tags: ramadi | isis | iraq | sunnis | military | police

WaPo: Ill-Equipped Fighters, Corruption Behind Loss of Ramadi to ISIS

WaPo: Ill-Equipped Fighters, Corruption Behind Loss of Ramadi to ISIS
Iraqi residents from the city of Ramadi, who fled their homes as Islamic State (IS) group militants tightened their siege on the last government positions in the capital of Anbar province. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2015 10:46 AM EDT

Taking back Ramadi from the Islamic State may present a difficult challenge since many Sunni pro-government leaders and fighters have either been killed or have fled the city, and others who remain are increasingly distrustful of the government, a Baghdad political analyst told The Washington Post.

"The plan is looking like a failure," said Ihsan al-Shamari, adding that "now it will be even harder to get (Sunnis) to cooperate with a political system that they already deeply distrusted."

The Iraqi government had plans to train and arm Sunni fighters in an effort to launch a military campaign to recapture Anbar province, which is predominantly Sunni, from the Islamic State (ISIS) before waging a battle with the extremists in Mosul, which has been under ISIS control since June, according to the Post.

Over the weekend, the radical terror group seized Ramadi, located in western Iraq, some 70 miles west of Baghdad.

Concerns that some Sunnis might be aligned with the Islamic State, combined with a failure by Iraq’s government to deliver weapons and military reinforcements as well as neglecting to pay police for months, has slowed efforts to form a battle-worthy Sunni fighting force, according to the Post.

Wealthy families and business owners contributed cash while police and tribal leaders "pooled resources" to buy weapons and ammunition.

Corruption may also be at play in the Iraqi army’s defeat in Ramadi, Iraqi political scientist Ahmed al-Sharifi told the Post.

About 2,000 soldiers fought to defend Ramadi, yet more than 20,000 "ghost soldiers" were drawing government salaries but not actually performing military service, he said.

"When you have corruption at this scale, then fighting the Islamic State is going to be even more of a challenge," Sharifi said. "This is a major reason for the security and military collapse in Anbar."

On Tuesday, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in both the Obama and Bush administrations, offered harsh criticism for the United States' role in the conflict, telling MSNBC that the U.S. has no strategy and that "we're basically playing this day by day."

"Right now, it looks like they're (Iraq) going the way of Yugoslavia. ... Right now, it looks like we're going to see a lot of trouble in the Middle East for a long time," Gates said.

The Post reports that a bloc of Sunni parties, known as the National Forces Union, blames the Iraq government for Ramadi’s capture and is demanding an investigation as well as weapons and salaries for pro-government fighters in Anbar province.

The Associated Press this week reported that the Obama administration's strategy has involved "a blend of retraining and rebuilding the Iraqi army, prodding Baghdad to reconcile with the nation's Sunnis, and bombing Islamic State targets from the air without committing American ground combat troops."

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Taking back Ramadi from the Islamic State may present a difficult challenge since many Sunni pro-government leaders and fighters have either been killed or have fled, and others who remain are increasingly distrustful of the government, a Baghdad political analyst told The Washington Post.
ramadi, isis, iraq, sunnis, military, police
461
2015-46-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 10:46 AM
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