The Loss of Mosul Was Predictable

(CNN) Derek Harvey and Michael Pregent - Observers are stunned by the speed of last week's assaults on every major city in the upper Tigris River Valley - including Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city - by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But they shouldn't be. The collapse of the Iraqi government's troops in Mosul was predictable. For more than five years, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has presided over the packing of the Iraqi military and police with Shiite loyalists, while sidelining many effective commanders who led Iraqi troops in the battlefield gains of 2007-2010. The Sunni tribal "Awakening" had deployed 90,000 Sunni fighters against al-Qaeda in 2007-2008. These 90,000 "Sons of Iraq" made a significant contribution to the reported 90% drop in sectarian violence. But al-Maliki dismantled the program, so that by 2013, the Sons of Iraq were virtually nonexistent. There is probably little danger of Baghdad and other Shiite areas falling into Sunni insurgent hands. The Shiite troops unwilling to fight for Mosul will be far more motivated to fight to protect Shiite territories in central and southern Iraq and to defend their home territory. But at this point, al-Maliki does not have what it takes to address Iraq's problem - because he is the problem. Derek Harvey is a former senior intelligence official who worked on Iraq from 2003-2009. Michael Pregent is a former U.S. Army officer and former senior intelligence analyst who worked on Iraq from 2003-2011.

2014-06-17 00:00:00

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