Iraqi Govt Shocked, Angry as Military Routed by al-Qaeda

Army Turned Tail and Ran in the Face of Islamist Militants

After months of fighting in Anbar Province, the recent al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) gains in Mosul and Tikrit have been surprisingly quick and decisive, with massive Iraqi Army defense forces in Mosul dropping their weapons and fleeing in the face of the offensive,

Iraqi government officials are complaining loudly about the military’s ineffectiveness, arguing they have “betrayed” Iraq by allowing the important city of Mosul to fall so quickly.

Soldiers defended the retreat, saying AQI fighters were trained in urban combat and they were not, and that it would take a whole army to fight them off.

That seems to be the trend now, as in the wake of the decisive Mosul victory AQI seized the Salaheddin capital of Tikrit in short order, and with virtually no resistance. Other AQI fighters have moved along the highway from Mosul toward Kirkuk.

Kirkuk’s defense also collapsed pretty well immediately, with troops fleeing long before AQI even got there. Instead, the Kurdish Peshmerga marched on the city and seized it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.