While Iraqi officials continue to downplay the difficulty of turning the tables on ISIS, which has captured much of the country’s western border with Syria, the government’s primary efforts seem to be in passing around blame for the major defeats of the war so far.
Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi has been loudly critical of the military for the loss of the Anbar capital of Ramadi, saying the troops fled despite orders to stay and defeat ISIS. Today he has ordered the commanders court martialed for abandoning their defensive positions and losing the city.
They’re not along in facing blame, however, as the Iraqi parliament has issued a report blaming a number of former government officials, including former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, for the loss of Mosul, the largest city to fall to ISIS.
In both cases, the underlying assumption is that the battles could have been won if the troops had simply followed the orders to win those battles, and Maliki is facing blame for installing commanders who weren’t willing to win the battle of Mosul.
Though it was a surprise how quickly the military’s lines broke in Mosul, the loss of Ramadi shouldn’t have been nearly so surprising, as the poor morale among Iraqi forces was already well documented, and it was clear they simply weren’t going to stand up to a sustained ISIS offensive.