- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama on Monday said his administration does not yet “have a complete strategy” on what to do in Iraq, where the Islamic militia ISIS has swept through cities, taking control and slaughtering civilians.

Holding a press conference in Krun, Germany, where he is attending the G-7 meeting, Obama said that even though the U.S. has been training Iraqi forces to run security efforts in the country for 12 years, there still isn’t a plan on just how to achieve results.

“One of the areas where we’re going to have to improve is the speed at which we’re training Iraqi forces. Where we’ve trained Iraqi forces directly and equipped them and we have a train-and-assist posture, they operate effectively. Where we haven’t, morale, lack of equipment, etcetra, may undermine the effectiveness of Iraqi security forces,” he said.

“We’re reviewing a  range of plans for how we might do that. … When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people. We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well,” he said.

“The details on that are not yet worked out,” he added.

ISIS last month took control of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Iraqi forces were also swept out in Ramadi, a seige that caught U.S. military officials off guard.

DefenseOne.com, which covers U.S. defense and national security issues, wrote Sunday that “the most important fact revealed by ISIS’s victory is that the ‘Iraqi Army’ no longer exists. This is a different observation from that of Secretary of Defense [Ash] Carter, who avers that they lost the will to fight.Some people did lose the will to fight in Ramadi.

“But, we should ask a more fundamental question. Ramadi was under siege for months. How is it that few if any reinforcements were sent to defend a city deemed critical to the defense of Baghdad itself? Public sources reported some fourteen divisions in the Iraqi Army in 2014. Between three and five were destroyed in Mosul, leaving nine. At most one was defending Ramadi. Where were the rest?” 

Meanwhile, Obama snubbed Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi at the G-7, completely ignoring him when he tried to have a word with the U.S. leader. The embarrassing incident was caught on camera, showing Obama engaged in conversation with others as the PM waited, but then walking away. The PM looks at his wrist watch as his aide holds his palms to the sky as if to say, “Oh well.”


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