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Monday, May 25, 2015

‘No will’ to fight ISIS? US Defense Sec blasts Iraqi troops

Published time: May 25, 2015 00:48 Edited time: May 25, 2015 12:20 Get short URL Displaced Sunni people fleeing the violence in Ramadi, cross a bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad, May 24, 2015.( Reuters / Stringer) Download video (40.62 MB) 2.9K182 Trends Iraq carnage, Islamic State Tags Arms, Conflict, Corruption, Iraq, Military, Politics, Religion, USA, Vehicles, War US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has lashed out at the Iraqi army, which last week abandoned the major central city of Ramadi, as well as millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, to the Islamic State, despite reportedly outnumbering the jihadists 10-to-1. “What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site,” Carter, who was appointed earlier this year, told CNN in scathing commentary. READ MORE: ISIS kills 400, mostly women & children, in Palmyra – Syrian state TV “We can give them training, we can give them equipment – we obviously can’t give them the will to fight,” Carter said, adding that he still hopes that US training and support will bear some fruit over time, as “only if they fight” can Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) be defeated. However, Hakim Al-Zamili, the head of Iraq’s parliamentary defense and security committee, dismissed Carter’s claims as “unrealistic and baseless.” “The US failed to provide good equipment, weapons and aerial support,” Al-Zamili told AP. “The US is trying to deflect the blame.” Read more ISIS claims full control of Ramadi after Iraqi troops abandon positions (VIDEO) Details from last Sunday’s withdrawal have trickled out during the past week, with Pentagon officials admitting that when the Iraqi army fled, they left behind half a dozen US-made tanks, the same number of artillery pieces, even more armored carriers, and over 100 wheeled vehicles, mostly Humvees. With unnamed US sources telling the media that the government troops enjoyed a superiority of 10-to-1 over the Islamists, various narratives have been brewing about the causes of the defeat. An initial slate of media reports blamed a sandstorm, which purportedly prevented the US from providing air support, and forced the Iraqis to re-locate to a safer position. However, logs showed that American planes, which have carried out close to 200 air strikes against IS in Iraq in the past month, continued to bomb enemy positions throughout last weekend’s battle, and the Pentagon denies that it was impeded by the weather. More alarming analyses emerged later, suggesting that deep-lying sectarian divides could be behind the lack of desire to fight. Read more Moscow ready to supply weapons to Iraq to help fight ISIS “The Iraqi army is dominated by Shia, and they were fighting in a Sunni area – and they don’t want to get killed fighting to defend Sunnis,” Ivan Eland, a military analyst, told RT. Notably, Sunni tribesmen, on whom the US is increasingly relying to fend off IS, are also said to have refused to take up positions next to Shia fighters. Despite US officials insisting that IS militants in Iraq are strategically in retreat, and emphasizing that the forces near Ramadi had never been directly trained by US instructors, Eland believes that little faith should be placed in pro-government forces. “The root of the problem goes back to the US invasion, which dismembered the Iraqi army, which has never been the same since. Despite 8 years of US training, there is a lot of sectarianism and corruption.” Meanwhile, other options remain off the table for US President Barack Obama, much to the chagrin of hawks, including current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain, who have criticized the White House for its “constrained” intervention policy. Read more ‘Surge’ architects want US ground troops in Iraq to wash out ISIS McCain has recently mocked Obama for “saying that the biggest problem we have is climate change,” while there is “no strategy” in Washington to fight IS. The Republican Senator has even called for American boots to hit Iraqi ground while speaking on Memorial Day. According to Eland, choices in Iraq are now “poor.” “You need ground forces, and you need military advisers on the ground to launch the airstrikes. But the US doesn’t want to get involved. Meanwhile, bombing without forces on the ground is not that effective, and can even be counter-productive,” Eland stressed. He also argued that given the current state of affairs in the region, even professional Iraqi troops could end up engaging in sectarian warfare when they were not fighting IS. Yet even in the face of what US officials have conceded is an “undeniable setback,” Carter tried to strike a positive note. “We can’t make this [victory over IS] happen by ourselves, but we can assist it to happen, and we are counting on the Iraqi people to come behind a multi-sectarian government in Baghdad.” =============== Disturbing picture emerges of siege gunman Updated: 3:58 am, Tuesday, 26 May 2015 Please upgrade your Flash Plugin Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis had failed to make his mark in the world and was 'a man spiralling downwards' when he took 18 people hostage at gunpoint, an inquest has heard.The self-styled Islamic sheik was broke, had few friends, was facing a possible jail term, and had failed in his ongoing quest to achieve 'significance', the opening day of the inquest into the Lindt cafe siege has revealed. And the head of the siege investigation, experienced homicide Detective Inspector Angelo Memmolo, has revealed the sheer complexity of the job, describing the Lindt cafe as 'probably the most complicated crime scene that I have seen'.The picture emerging of Monis is one of an erratic, volatile but intelligent outsider with a frightening capacity for organisation.When Monis - then called Mohammed Manteghi - arrived in Australia in 1996 he expected somehow to make a mark, counsel assisting Jeremy Gormly SC told the court.But by December 2014, Monis apparently had no money, had failed to gain a following as an Islamic sheik and was on sexual assault charges that could put him in jail.'It's not difficult to develop a summary of Mr Monis's life in Australia that makes him look like a man spiralling downwards,' Mr Gormly told the inquest.Extensive evidence about Monis's life, tracing back to his schooling and studies in Islam in Iran, is being presented as authorities try to understand the circumstances around the siege.'Was Monis a so-called lone wolf prosecuting an ISIS-inspired terrorist act or was he a deranged individual pursuing some personal, private grievance?' Coroner Michael Barnes asked.Cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, and lawyer Katrina Dawson, 38, were killed in the siege that shut down central Sydney on December 15, 2014.Monis was killed when police stormed the cafe in the early hours of December 16.The inquest heard that:- Monis tried to join the Rebels bikie gang in 2012, but bikies rejected him as 'weird' and took his motorbike.- Monis was attracted to the Rebels as a source of power and influence: 'His constant goal in life appears to have been achieving significance,' junior counsel assisting Sophie Callan said.- No legal importation record can be found for the French-made Manufrance La Salle 12-gauge, pump-action sawn-off shotgun used by Monis.- Monis enrolled in, but did not complete many courses including fitness instructing, lifesaving and criminology.- He was convicted for writing offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers.- He had treatment for mental health problems, including depression in 2005, a form of schizophrenia in 2010, and was treated for mental health issues in 2011.- Monis ran a 'spiritual healing' and clairvoyance business between 2002 and 2007 with 500 clients, making up to $125,000 a year.- In 2014, he was charged with 43 counts of aggravated or indecent sexual assault relating to clients of his healing business.- In 2006, he set up a website featuring abusive messages about Australian soldiers killed in action and letters complaining to Queen Elizabeth about racism.Security is extremely tight at the inquest, the largest to be held in NSW.Family members of the victims and hostages of the siege are attending the hearing.Mr Barnes said while revisiting details of the siege could be painful, a speedy investigation was critical.'It would be unforgivable if we delayed and another similar incident were to occur before we had learned the lessons of the last,' he said.The inquest will probe Monis's employment history, and his dealings with immigration and customs officials when it continues on Tuesday. - See more at: http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/05/26/disturbing-picture-emerges-of-siege-gunman.html#sthash.6nvRWhoT.awffqSoP.dpuf =========

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