How ready are Iraq’s soldiers?

In spite of the Iraqi government’s insistence that it can take over responsibility for Iraq’s security, Juan Cole analyzes the numbers that General Pace has laid out for the press:

“In fact, the important figure is how many can operate independently. That means that they will go to the front when ordered, will actually fight, won’t run away, and might actually accomplish something, even if there are no US troops anywhere nearby. Iraq apparently has about 3,000 troops of that description. My guess is that they are mostly Kurdish Peshmerga on loan from Kurdistan. I.e., Iraq probably has almost no Arab troops who would and could fight independently for the al-Maliki government, as opposed to cannon fodder pushed before US battalions and afraid of being shot as deserters if they turn tail.”

So they have 3000 guys who can enforce the rule of the central government in all of Iraq. Great. Al-Maliki, I call bullshit.

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