Tags: Emerging Threats | Exclusive Interviews | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | MidPoint | Syria | War on Terrorism

Gen. Vallely: Ghost Soldiers a Sign of Iraq's Corruption

By    |   Monday, 01 Dec 2014 04:26 PM

The discovery that 50,000 soldiers on the Iraqi government's payroll either don't exist or don't report for duty is more evidence of a "very weak, corrupt, and inept force" that is also heavily financed by U.S. taxpayers, retired Army Major Gen. Paul Vallely told Newsmax TV on Monday.

Vallely told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that "this hollowed-out Iraqi force," dominated by Shiites, has repeatedly demonstrated its inability "to take the battle to the enemy" — in this case the violent Sunni extremists of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

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Vallely said he doesn't see much cause to hope for improvement, even with additional U.S. troops being sent to advise the Shiite-led government and military and to help stop Sunni radicals from building a new religious state, or caliphate, in captured Iraqi territory.

He recommended instead that the U.S. commit special-operations troops and air power to the peshmerga — the militias of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north "who really can do an effective job in fighting," he said.

"So, until we can do that, I don't see any improvement over there at all," said Vallely. "And ISIS, as you can see, continues to be strong. They continue to attack. They just killed a number of Iraqis on the [Syrian] border, and so they're continuing the expansion of the caliphate in that area."

Vallely said the Iraqi army was "pretty effective" at one time: when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, launched the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

With Hussein long gone and Sunnis purged from many government and military posts, today's Shiite-run force — although trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of billions — is rife with "generals and senior colonels that really don't know how to take the battle to the enemy," said Vallely.

Vallely predicted that ultimately any capable troops the government does control will fall back to protect Baghdad, the Shiite-dominated Iraqi capital.

Vallely also discussed the news that Turkey and the United States are close to signing a joint military agreement to combat the Islamic State, despite questions about Turkey's allegiances.

"But the pressure's on Turkey to get in there and support the forces to eliminate and terminate . . . ISIS forces, particularly in Syria, northern Syria, and northern Iraq," said Vallely. "It's Turkey's best interest to do this because they're going to continue to romp all over that area until they expand that caliphate and control more area."

Vallely said the developments abroad coincide with a leadership crisis in Washington, where discord between the Obama White House and the Pentagon is so severe that it has led to the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"It's a tragedy what's happened in the Defense Department, of course, with policy and the strategy of dealing with the Middle East and ISIS and so on," said Vallely, criticizing "the lack of the ability of the national security team in the White House."

He said there are some "very competent" retired military officers who would be qualified to succeed Hagel.

"But even these people aren't going to volunteer to step forward and be considered because of this estrangement between the White House and the Defense Department," said Vallely. "They have to be a team to provide national security to Americans, and there's no teamwork there right now."

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The discovery that 50,000 soldiers on the Iraqi government's payroll either don't exist or don't report for duty is more evidence of a "very weak, corrupt, and inept force" that is also heavily financed by U.S. taxpayers, retired Army Major Gen. Paul Vallely told Newsmax TV on Monday.
Paul Vallely, 50, 000, soldiers, corrupt
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2014-26-01
Monday, 01 Dec 2014 04:26 PM
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