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''Senior'' Iraqi Army Officers Criticize US Plans to Rebuild Iraq''s Armed Forces - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Basra, Asharq Al-Awsat- Senior Iraqi army officers have leveled strong criticisms against the applied US plans for rebuilding the Iraqi armed forces, saying the US administration is facing a dilemma in this.

The officers from the 10th division stationed in the Basra region south of Iraq see two feasible options for the US administration. The first option would be to rebuild the capabilities of Iraq”s armed forces in order for it to completely secure Iraq, paving way for multinational forces to withdraw completely from Iraq, despite fears that such a military could be involved in a coup d”état in future. The second option would be to keep the status quo, with Iraqi forces weak and liable to collapse, which will make its remaining forces that are intended to be kept outside the cities an easy prey for the insurgents and terrorist organizations.

The officers, who spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon made very serious mistakes when they restored the Defense Ministry in its present form because the inherent factors of its failure are more than those of its durability and survival.

They cited several reasons for the failure of the new ministry, among them the non-clarity of the army”s military doctrine since the majority of the present officers are from the former army, the absence of leadership and control, the appointment of persons lacking expertise and competence to military command positions under the influence of the parties, the restriction of armaments to light weapons, the emergence of the administrative corruption phenomenon, the wearing down of the forces in city battles with the terrorist groups, and the duplicity of its work with the police forces.

They added that the factors, which are contributing to the general military weaknesses also include outsourcing administrative matters like meals and transport to civilian contractors, the shortage of weapons and equipment spare parts, the suspension of the military service law, the problem of promoting officers and other ranks, the weak morale, the absence of the will to fight under the occupation, and the emergence of sectarian loyalties among the soldiers.

The experts queried the fate of the disbanded Iraqi army”s weapons that Iraq had imported from the Soviet Union. They believe that if these weapons were destroyed, then Iraq would need a high percentage of the oil revenues for military spending, which will impede the reconstruction and development process.