Since June ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has captured over a billion dollars’ worth of vehicles, weapons and other equipment the U.S. sold or donated to the new Iraqi armed forces. Most was captured when Iraqi troops in and around Mosul found that they had been abandoned by many of their officers (who were the first to know of the ISIL advance) and a general panic among Iraqi security personnel ensued.
During August the U.S. carried out over 120 airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and destroyed over $4 million worth of the captured Iraqi American made gear. Before ISIL is beaten U.S. aircraft are expected to destroy a lot more U.S. vehicles and weapons. Over a thousand American troops are in Iraq now, most of them to help reorganize the Iraqi army. This includes identifying and dismissing the most incompetent officers. That’s easy enough for those who obviously abandoned their troops in June in the north. But for many other bad officers there are senior Iraqi officials who will strongly protest efforts to dismiss officers. Since the U.S. left in 2011 the Iraqi Army has become very politicized with promotions going to officers who were most loyal to the corrupt Iraqi government.
Iraq has been corruption central for thousands of years. Even the ancient Romans warned their officials to beware the culture of corruption in Iraq. After the Romans came Iranian, Mongol, Turkish and British conquerors. Only the Mongols avoided getting contaminated by the corruption and that’s mainly because the Mongols killed most of the people they came across in the region and then left.