Report: Iraq’s Maliki purged military of top U.S.-trained officers
Special to WorldTribune.com
WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has neutralized Iraq’s U.S.-trained and -equipped military, a report said.
The Brookings Institution said Al Maliki purged the Iraqi military of commanders suspected of disloyalty. In a report, the institution said those forced out by the Shi’ite Al Maliki included some of the most professional Sunni officers trained by the United States.
“Unfortunately, despite the boost it gave him, Prime Minister Al Maliki
saw this largely apolitical and professional military as a threat to
himself,” the report, titled “Iraq Military Situation Report,” said.
Author Kenneth Pollack said Al Maliki’s purge began in 2009 when he
replaced Sunni commanders with Shi’ite loyalists, many of them rejected by
the U.S. military. He said the prime minister suspected Sunni commanders as
secret supporters of the former Saddam Hussein regime.
Pollack played down the U.S. training of the Iraqi military. He said
U.S. officers rewarded performance but only marginally improved the
effectiveness of Baghdad’s military.
“So, beginning in 2009-2010, he began to remove the capable, apolitical
officers that the United States had painstakingly put in place throughout
the Iraqi command structure,” the report said. “Instead, he put in men loyal
to himself, often because they had been the ones passed over or removed by
the Americans. The result was a heavily politicized and far less competent
The report said Al Maliki also reversed nearly a decade of U.S. training
and mentoring of the Iraqi military. The prime minister closed
U.S.-established training facilities and used the military and security
agencies against his rivals.
“Finally, beginning in 2011 immediately after the departure of the last
American soldiers, Maliki began to use his new, politicized ISF [Iraqi
security forces] to go after his political rivals, many of them leading
moderate Sunni leaders,” the report said. “This was a critical element in his alienation of Iraq’s Sunni
community, and further demoralized the Sunni Arab, Kurdish, and other
minority personnel in the ISF.”
The report, dated June 14, said Al Maliki’s purge also disappointed many
Shi’ite officers who sought a professional and apolitical military. Instead,
the military was said to have been transformed into the prime minister
“Not surprisingly, when this force came under tremendous stress, it
fractured,” the report said. “As noted above, it is now being rebuilt, but
not as a national army: as a Shia militia. And the U.S. should only be
providing it with aid if we are given the right and the ability to turn it
back into an apolitical, national army.”http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/06/19/report-iraqs-maliki-purged-military-top-u-s-trained-officers/