Iraq War 3: Key’s convenient memory loss
John Key has today said that one of the options on the table for New Zealand is to send NZSAS troops to train the Iraq National Army.
He said further, "That's ultimately what Barack Obama has been saying, is that they want to see the Iraqi national forces developed so that they can defend their own country."
Is he serious? Is Obama? It is as if they believe that everyone has simply erased the past decade from their memories.
From 2003-2011, the United States tried to train up the Iraqi Army. It spent $25 BILLION on training and equipping a new army. That Army has evaporated under the sustained attacked of the Islamic State, who have successfully captured large caches of advanced US weaponry including M1 Abrams tanks and Ak-47s.
There are credible reports that they may be testing flying captured fighter jets
Monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims the militants have obtained three war planes, believed to be MiG-21 and MiG-23 supersonic fighter jets, and have been flying them from the Al Jarrah airbase in Aleppo, Syria.
The idea that a hundred NZSAS troopers are going to show up and whip the Iraqi Army into shape (alongside our Aussie mates, of course) is frankly, laughable. ISIS now controls an area roughly one-quarter the size of the whole of Iraq including several very large cities. They sit on the outskirts of Baghdad.
More saliently, it is a dangerous mission not only for the people involved, but for New Zealand to commit to another US war without end, with no clear or credible plan, no exit strategy and no concern of the ramifications long-term.
The Iraqi Army is suffering as much from the wider problems of Iraqi society since the US invasion. An army is not something that you can simply rebuild in a couple of years, even with (or in spite of) US help.
Reports from inside the Army make it clear that the fractures in the wider Iraqi society permeate the military. Similarly, corruption and so-called ‘ghost solidering’ – where people are signed up and collect a paycheck, but don’t actually serve – are rampant.
ISIS is the old Iraq
Which raises the vitally important other side of the coin that the US and NZ et al fail to recognise: ISIS is comprised of many seasoned Iraqi soldiers from Saddam’s army. These are men who have survived eight brutal years of war against Iran (1980-1988), and Bush War’s 1 (1991) and 2 (2003). They are Sunni Muslims who have become radicalised in part by the brutality not only of the US, but of the US-installed puppet regime of Nouri al-Maliki.
NZSAS: a history worth remembering
New Zealand should not be involved in any war in Iraq in any capacity except for providing humanitarian aid to non-aligned non-governmental organisations. Any suggestion that NZSAS should be involved in training should be dismissed as the ridiculous idea that it is.