Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

Other Pages

Policy Analysis

Articles & Op-Eds

The Future of Iraq's Armed Forces

Michael Knights

Also available in

Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies

March 2016

Efforts to rebuild Iraqi forces should focus on establishing support units in the right proportion to combat brigades.

Since the fall of Mosul, it has sometimes been said by Iraq's detractors that there is no longer any such thing as the Iraqi security forces (ISF). This is clearly nonsense, and those peddling this line are fully aware that it is nonsense. They are motivated by schadenfreude -- a foolish desire to mock Iraq in its moment of suffering.

In fact, the ISF is fighting and winning at many points of the map. The ISF holds the longest frontline against Daesh of any armed force. The ISF has suffered the greatest casualties of any of the forces facing Daesh. The ISF has been more actively fighting the Salafi jihadists of Daesh than any other force for well over a decade of continuous combat. And the ISF is steadily recovering its strength. Those who mock the ISF should consider that Iraq will recover its vigor and that Iraqis have long memories...

To read the full article, download the PDF. This report originally appeared on the Al-Bayan Center website.