Iraq forces trained in US-led alliance centres

Iraq forces trained in US-led alliance centres
Iraqi troops are being trained by members of the US-led International Alliance across 12 centres in the war-torn country, yet US efforts against IS in Iraq still attract criticism.
2 min read
17 February, 2016
Iraqi Forces have recaptured IS-controlled land in recent months [Getty]
Alliance forces are training Iraqi soldiers in twelve centres across the war-torn country, in a bid to step up the fight against the Islamic State group.

However, US efforts against the militant group in the country are still inviting criticism from those who say that the US is marginalising the Iraqi army in the fight against IS.

An estimated 2,001 troops are currently being trained after 18,559 others have already successfully completed the military training programmes located in Erbil, Baghdad and Anbar.

"There are six training centres focused on the Operation Determination, four focused on security-check capabilities while two are dedicated to Special Forces," an International Alliance statement read.

"The centres are dedicated to develop our Iraqi partner's capabilities by training its security forces to progress its military abilities in the fight against IS."

The trainers leading the programmes hold varying nationalities from the international US-led coalition.

Despite this, Iraqi officials say the US is "not being serious enough in the fight against IS" and accuse them of funding the militant group.

"The international alliance does not need to train our troops because Iraqi forces are trained and qualified to fight. They have freed most provinces within the country without any help and these great victories are testament to their continued success," National Iraqi Alliance MP, Hassan al-Kaabi told The New Arab.

"All Iraq needs is weapons and if Washington is keen on helping, it should fulfil its armament contract with the country," he added.

He believes that fighting IS would be more challenging without the Popular Mobilisation Forces' involvement and alleges the US is attempting to side-line the group.

"These centres are Washington's attempt to halt Popular Mobilisation forces from the battlefield," said al-Kaabi, suggesting the government-funded militia group has "progressed well in its battle with IS."

Al-Kaabi demanded the Iraqi government take responsibility in liberating Iraqi lands with the help of its own troops in the Popular Mobilisation Forces saying "the government should not allow the US to cause agitation between the people and members of the force."

Popular Mobalisation Forces ahve been accused of numerous human rights violations in Iraq, by both international rights groups and the Iraqi government. 

Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces recaptured IS-controlled Ramadi in December following intensive US training. The force is expected to apply the same lessons in its attempt to take control of Mosul.