The Most Obvious Way for Iraq to Fend Off ISIS

The Iraqi army likely can’t reverse the gains ISIS has made. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Iraqi army likely can’t reverse the gains ISIS has made. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

In the New York Times, Eric Schmitt and Eric Gordon report:

At a Pentagon news conference on July 3, General Dempsey noted the while Iraqi security forces had stiffened and were capable of defending Baghdad, they were not capable on their own of launching a counteroffensive and reversing the ISIS gains.

As for the U.S. military aiding Iraqi forces by working with them, they write:

… many units are so deeply infiltrated by either Sunni extremist informants or Shiite personnel backed by Iran that any Americans assigned to advise Baghdad’s forces could face risks to their safety, according to United States officials.

There’s a simple way that Iraq President Nouri al-Maliki could help himself, though.

Rick Welch, a retired Army Special Forces colonel who worked with tribes in Iraq, said that advisers could encourage the Iraqi government to focus its attacks on ISIS and not its Sunni political opponents.

“Advisers could focus the military effort with more precision and discourage attacks on the Sunni population, which would remove one of the grievances of the Sunnis and help the political discussions go forward,” said Mr. Welch, who added that advisers should be embedded with Sunni tribal leaders as well as Iraqi military units.

War words to live by: Target the real enemy and avoid creating more enemies. A win-win situation to correct the lose-lose strategy to which Maliki has been wedded.