This photo shows how troops, supplied with Army boots, elected to stockpile the equipment for later use rather than put them on because, “they knew America would leave soon and they would be on their own.” A sad testament to the lack of faith these foreign troops have in their American “allies”.
Speaking with 31 year US Army veteran, LTC James A. Mosser about his time in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Turkey, the logistics officer and former tank commander shared some startling insight into the ISIS threat to Baghdad.
Though President Obama once referred to the soldiers of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq) as the “JV” squad, they have proven themselves to be more disciplined than the Veteran squad of the Iraqi Army. LTC Mosser had personal experience with the former Iraqi Republican Guard as he fought in the battle of Medina Ridge and recalled how it was fierce until the Apaches came in and the fighting was quelled.
LTC Mosser also went on to explain that he had disagreed with the position taken early on by many of the former generals advising the President on ISIS. In particular, he took issue with their assessment that ISIS poised no serious threat to Iraq while in Syria. Mosser explained that this conclusion was one of the most significant under-estimations of an enemy force he had ever encountered. Explaining that ISIS had proven themselves credible by taking several of the border crossing checkpoints and gaining control of major cities with lighting speed.
Reports indicate that ISIS has announced a swath of territory that includes parts of Syria and Iraq as a new Sunni Caliphate. According to LTC Mosser the focus of many military advisors has been on protecting power and water sources in Iraq. Mosser concluded these were not the assets ISIS would need to control in order to take over Baghdad.
The Baghdad International Airport (BIA) is an important center of gravity in the region for Iraq and in particular Baghdad. LTC Mosser explained that the ISIS troops would need to only capture the roads in the South of Baghdad to cut off any escape routes and then quickly proceed towards the airport. Once BIA is under ISIS control the 4000 or so Americans in Baghdad would be isolated and unable to escape without looking to Iran for help. Mosser suggested we could see a repeat of the rescue in Saigon, as South Vietnam fell to the communist.
LTC Mosser explained that ISIS already controlled Mosul in the North, Fallujah in the West, and the historic city of Tikrit. It was in Tikrit that ISIS troops were recently credited with fending off a counter attack by Iraqi forces. If the Sunni rebels can gain control of Basra in the South, Baghdad’s days will likely be numbered. Moser estimates the fall could be in as little as three months. This would only change if significant military defensive assets were moved into Southern Iraq to thwart an ISIS advance.
According to Mosser, two points have helped the ISIS troops in their rapid success. The first point he stated was the lack of leadership and training among Iraqi soldiers. Citing the fact American forces had completely disbanded the former Iraqi army and even after over 10 years of training the soldiers were still ill prepared. In this point he noted much of this was due to a lack of experience in leading troops against attacks from well-organized forces such as ISIS and a high illiteracy rate among soldiers.
The second point Mosser noted was that ISIS was running a well-organized force and had conducted an effective media campaign. He said although he found their actions deplorable, the videotaped executions of captured Iraqi troops had placed fear in the hearts of Iraqi troops who were untested. The counter media effort by Iraqi Shiite’s was little more than a parade of untrained, ill equipped cheer leaders who offered little threat to ISIS veteran forces and even less confidence to Iraqi citizens in the sights of ISIS.
Whether LTC Mosser’s predictions will come true remain to be seen and the events of today suggest ISIS is certainly planning to continue their march. President Obama continues to under-estimate the threat to Americans and our allies. This naïve approach to foreign policy was and is shared by his former Secretary of State. It was Hillary Clinton who oversaw the final withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Clinton who declared that ISIS had made no substantial gains in Iraq. One can only wonder if the fall of Baghdad would also bring about the fall of any chance for a Hillary presidency.