Iraqi troops already in retreat?

Daily Beast:
At first, Iraqi soldiers involved in an operation to capture villages close to Mosul on Friday were in good spirits. “Allah Akbar,” Arabic for “God is Great,” they shouted after they hit an alleged Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bomber with US-provided mortars. But just one hour later many of them fled, fearing ISIS would strike back.

Early in the day, there were already signs of trouble. A sergeant named Hussein from the artillery battalion told The Daily Beast, “There has been some delays in what we expected, but it’s mostly because of their heavy use of sniper fire and of IEDS. We have not been really advancing today, but that is not part of our plan as of yet, but in coming hours, we are planning to move forward.”

The first challenge was to capture the strategic little village of Nasr that would open the road for the Iraqi military to take the rest of the area. The ultimate short-term aim is to cross the Tigris River and take Qayarrah. This would open the road to the city of Mosul for future operations.

But the combat around Nasr did not go well. ISIS “left the village, and came back after a few hours,” said one tired Shia Arab fighter named Mohammed who is part of the Shia-led Hashid Shaabi militia forces. He was angry at the Iraqi army, and the lack of U.S. air support after returning from the fight. “There were no airstrikes, where are the airstrikes?” he complained.

The cloudy weather and the lack of U.S. forward air controllers apparently prevented U.S. aircraft from carrying out strikes on Friday, while on Thursday, when the operation began, airstrikes could be seen hitting ISIS positions.

“The operation continues according to the plan. Only the weather conditions are not good,” said an Iraqi colonel, who refused to talk on the record. “If God wills it, everything will go to plan. The ISIS fighters are just depending on IEDs, and booby-trapped houses, there is no real confrontation. We are just dealing with bombs and snipers.
... the biggest problem for the Iraqi army: the lack of morale. One week ago Iraqi soldiers abandoned their base, which forced the United States to send in more Marines in support, and one of them was killed. Again this time, Iraqi army soldiers almost completely deserted their positions, fearing an ISIS response to their artillery when, in reality, not one mortar shell or bullet hit close to their positions.

The lack of courage of Iraqi soldiers led to laughter among the Kurdish Peshmerga forces stationed nearby in a supporting role. Unlike the Iraqi soldiers, the Peshmergas did not move one inch, kept on smoking, and were surprised when they saw suddenly all the soldiers fled.
There is much more.

It is almost as if they chant "God is Great" as a substitute for courage, and when the enemy resists they decide that God is not so great.   The fighting should have been turned over to the Kurds who seem to be the only effective force in the area willing to take on ISIL.


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