Abadi forces hundreds of officers into early retirement

Abadi forces hundreds of officers into early retirement

Iraqi government retires officers ahead of PM's US-trip and in an effort to restructure a military still struggling against the Islamic State group.
3 min read
13 April, 2015
Iraqi army officers are being retired as the military is being restructured [AFP]

The Iraqi government is retiring hundreds of army officers, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.

No clear reason for the retirements was given in the statement that was released shortly before Haidar al-Abadi, Iraqi PM, travelled to the United States for meetings with the US administration, other than it represented an attempt by the government to “prepare the Iraqi Army to deal with

     The prime minister's decision aims at fighting corruption in the military establishment.

Mohammad al-Karbouli

challenges and reform its internal structure as part of a programme for the rehabilitations of the Iraqi forces”.

Government spokesman Rafed Juburi told Al-Araby al-Jadeed that "Abadi consulted Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi and Army Chief of Staff General Babaker Zebari about replacing a number of commanders in the aftermath of military failures in Anbar governorate and to avoid their repeat in Nineveh."

Juburi added that the latest decision was preceded by the appointment of Staff Major General Najem Abdullah a new commander of operations for Nineveh. Abduallah served for three years as the administrative officer of Tall Afar District in the west of Mosul. 

On 8 April, Abadi issued a series of military orders dismissing, replacing and appointing 12 commanders in the army and police forces, including the commanders of infantry, intelligence, and artillery units, as well as commanders of military divisions. 

In a related development, Mohamed al-Karbouli, a member of the parliament's Security and Defense Committee, told Al-Araby al-Jadeed that "the prime minister's decision aims at fighting corruption in the military establishment, which was built by previous governments along sectarian lines in total disregard for military professionalism."

He said that this approach had "harmed the security of the country" clearing the way for the Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS) to occupy large parts of Iraq.

He explained that some of the officers Abadi retired will stand trial before a military tribunal because of their "negligence on the battlefield and because they issued wrong orders", that helped IS fighters advance in the governorates of Anbar and Salaheddin over the past few days.

Mohannad al-Azzawi, a researcher in military and strategic affairs, told Al-Araby al-Jadeed that "despite the huge amounts of money the Iraqi government spent on building its military arsenal of personnel and equipment, it failed because of corruption and the mismanagement of the security file by the previous government under Nouri al-Maliki."

He noted that "the restructuring of the Iraqi security forces will take long years and a lot of money". He, at the same time, said that "it might be difficult at the present time to form a more competent military strike force because of the ongoing war with IS, whose threat to the security and unity of Iraq is bigger than that of al-Qaeda ."

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.