Skip to comments.Islamic State routs Iraqi armored column in Anbar
Posted on 07/13/2014 2:10:02 PM PDT by robowombat
Islamic State routs Iraqi armored column in Anbar By BILL ROGGIO
Iraqi and Syrian towns and cities seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham and its allies. Map created by The Long War Journal. Click to view larger map.
Fighters from the newly established Islamic State ambushed and destroyed an Iraqi armored column in the western province of Anbar. Islamic State fighters also captured several American-made armored personnel carriers. The ambush highlights the deteriorating state of the Iraqi security forces.
The Islamic State's Anbar Wilayat (division or province) released a series of photographs on its Twitter account on July 10 that document the ambush of an Iraqi armored column and the aftermath of the attack [photographs below].
According to the statements from the Anbar Wilayat, the Iraqi Army convoy was attacked in the Khalidiyah area in Anbar province. Although the exact date of the ambush was not provided, the Anbar Wilayat typically publishes photographs of attacks within days of carrying them out.
Several photos show Islamic State fighters opening fire on the convoy as it drives on a dirt road in a rural area of Khalidiyah. The Islamic State fighters appear to detonate one or more IEDs, or roadside bombs, on the armored column that includes US made and donated M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks and M113 armored personnel carriers. At least three M1A1s and nine M113s can be identified in the photographs.
At least one tank and two M113s are shown while on fire. One of the Abrams tanks appears to be half buried in a ditch.
The Iraqi soldiers appear to have abandoned the convoy after it was ambushed. The Islamic State only displayed one body of an Iraqi soldier, who appears to have been burned.
Islamic State fighters are photographed on top of the vehicles after the battle. At least two of the M113 armored personnel carriers appear to be operational. An Islamic State fighter is shown driving one of them across a field and toward some homes in the area.
Islamic State consolidating its grip on Anbar
Khalidiyah is located outside of the city of Habbaniyah and near the Al Taqaddum military base. Khalidiyah, which was a bastion for al Qaeda in Iraq up until early 2007, is also halfway between the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, is currently contested as the Islamic State is reported to control some neighborhoods in the city. Fallujah, the nearby dam, and Karma and Abu Ghraib are currently under the control of the Islamic State and its tribal allies.
The Islamic State controls most of Anbar province. West of Haditha, the Islamic State runs the towns of Anah, Rawa, and the border town of Al Qaim. The jihadist group also controls the far-flung towns of Rutbah and Nukhaib. The status of the Tarbil border crossing to Jordan and the Al Walid crossing to Syria is undetermined. Although there are reports that local tribes assumed control of the crossings, the Islamic State has displayed photographs of its fighters at the crossings.
The Iraqi military previously had two divisions, the 1st and the 7th, deployed in Anbar, but most of these forces have withered since the Islamic State took control of Fallujah in January and extended its control throughout the province. Many Iraqi soldiers are thought to have deserted; the exact number is not known, however. One estimate puts the number of overall desertions for the Iraqi Army at over 90,000. The Iraqi military has not released information on the number of soldiers killed and wounded since the Islamic State launched its offensive in mid-June.
The leadership of the 7th Division crumbled in later December 2013 after an Islamic State suicide team killed the division commander and 17 members of his staff in an ambush in Rutbah.
The situation in Ramadi has become so dire that the Iraqi government is deploying 4,000 members of the newly raised militias, who are primarily Shias, to an area that is overwhelmingly Sunni. The militia members are being "ferried out to Ramadi from Baghdad by helicopter," ABC News reported, demonstrating how thoroughly the Islamic State controls the road from Baghdad to Ramadi.
Since launching the second phase of its operation to control territory in Iraq on June 10, the Islamic State took control of Ninewa province, to include Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, most of Salahaddin province, and areas in Diyala province. Additionally, the Islamic State has been waging an offensive in northern Babil province in the area known as the Triangle of Death, and is said to be in control of several areas, including Jufr al Sakhar. The Islamic State is seeking to take over the belt area around Baghdad, and squeeze the capital and make it ungovernable. [See LWJ report, Analysis: ISIS, allies reviving 'Baghdad belts' battle plan.]
The Iraqi government has largely halted the Islamic State's southward advance outside of Samarra, which is just north of Baghdad. Thousands of Iranian-supported Shia militiamen from Asaib al Haq, Hezbollah Brigades, and Muqtada al Sadr's Peace Brigade are currently deployed between the road from Baghdad to Samarra. Iraqi military and national police units are nowhere to be found on the road, according to The New York Times.
While the Shia militias have helped the Iraqi government slow the Islamic State's advance toward Baghdad, they has been ineffective so far in helping to retake ground lost to the group. The Iraqi military's attempt to retake the city of Tikrit, the provincial capital of Salahaddin which is just north of Samarra, has so far stalled since it was launched at the end of June.
The Islamic State's territory spans both Iraq and Syria. In Syria, the Islamic State controls Raqqah, much of Deir al Zour, and areas in Aleppo and Hasakah provinces.
One commentator had this to say:
Yet another act of mind-boggling incompetence from Baghdad and its military. M1A1 should be more than capable of dealing with ISIS, but of course we all know this was another in a long, long list of ill thought out strategies and plans by the leaders of the Iraqi regime.
You really can't blame anyone in our government for not wanting to support these clowns running Iraq. They are ridiculously bad at what they do. The Kurds are now claiming they warned Maliki about an ISIS advance on Mosul 5 days beforehand. Maliki ignored the warning and demanded the Kurds stay out of Mosul. When ISIS did come, Maliki changed his mind and ordered the Kurds in.
There isn't any hope of reason or logic entering into this with Maliki in charge. Supporting Maliki is supporting the guaranteed fragmentation and all out civil war in Iraq, which is exactly what every Western government does not want to happen.
And finally, I feel sorry for those 4,000 militia being flown into Ramadi because the road there is too dangerous. Judging by the previous performance of Baghdad's forces, that just doesn't sound good.
It’s now IS? So what is going to happen to all those T-shirts that people bought with ISIS on it? Or the coffee mugs or ....
If you can’t win with a bunch of M1A1’s, you can’t win. There is either a huge people problem or some 3rd party with some serious weapons tech is involved.
The situation in Ramadi has become so dire that the Iraqi government is deploying 4,000 members of the newly raised militias, who are primarily Shias, to an area that is overwhelmingly Sunni. The militia members are being “ferried out to Ramadi from Baghdad by helicopter,” ABC News reported, demonstrating how thoroughly the Islamic State controls the road from Baghdad to Ramadi.
Head will roll!
3rd world leaders, tend to think that 1st world countries are powerful simply because of their stuff. So they think their power is in having some of that stuff. That you have to know how to use it and have the will to use it escapes them.
Uncle Sam alone has the ability to support (resupply and provide arty fire and CAS) units in the middle of Indian country. At Dien Bien Phu, it became clear that the French did not, and even elite troops could not hold out without adequate resupply. As recently as WWII, no one had this ability. The elite German airborne invasion of Crete was redeemed only as the result of mistakes by British commanders defending the island. Maliki's militia rabble will be massacred to the last man.
Well, that is just wonderful.... jeesh
Who trained them to drive and use those M1A1’s? America?
Not a good grade for teacher.
That depends entirely on what the meaning of IS is...
Actually, they don't have enough stuff, because it's very expensive and they can't afford it. Having round the clock intel from drones and satellites, on-call artillery fire and on-call CAS were essential for getting ground troops out of trouble while coalition forces were in Iraq. Without these elements, coalition casualties would have been far higher. Most of the equipment the Iraqis have, they acquired at cut-rate prices from the US. The problem is the gaps in their inventory - stuff we weren't prepared to sell for pennies on the dollar to them.
Iraq's mil budget is $6b - which, for a country fighting a major insurgency, is peanuts and pretty much just covers the cost of maintenance, salaries, ammo and fuel, and maintenance is probably being shortchanged. To make headway, they need drones, combat aircraft and significant amounts of training, which will cost tens of billions, especially if they plan to acquire modern jet fighters which cost $100m apiece (with spares and maintenance packages).
Bottom line is they dragged their feet on mil expenditures and are now paying the price. Iraq produces 1/3 as much oil as Saudi Arabia but has less than 1/10 the defense budget. And it's fighting a major insurgency. My guess, based on the region's traditions, is that Iraq's leaders are too busy depositing the profits from oil exports in numbered private Singaporean bank accounts to worry about defense. If things go south, they're going to Singapore.
‘There is either a huge people problem ‘
There is a huge problem. The ISIS people really believe in the their vile convictions. This is a young man’s revolt and the ISIS fighters are happy to die for their cause but, and this is the big but, would rather their hated opponents are made to die instead. In Iraq ISIS forces numbering in the hundreds defeat or route government or government supporter forces numbering in the thousands. ISIS seems to me to have an even money chance of taking Baghdad.
Hagel is quickly making sure that our military soon has neither equipment, nor training, nor the will to use it.
We will have some trannies, though.
we really SHOULD have put self destructive devices on all that equipment we left behind to the Iraqis. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that they weren’t going to hold onto it! How much resistance did the US military encounter when we invaded Iraq? About as much as the thugs in ISIS had.
The problem with that statement is the facts on the ground, of who is kicking their butt and with what.
I guarantee that M1 Abrams was superior to anything that ISIS had, yet, the M1 is burning.
1. Allow the Kurds to control the northern choke points on both the northeast and northwest part of Iraq.
2. When ISIS begins moving troops to combat this, nail them with air support.
3. Send your Shia boys up the road and retake Mosul.
4. Squash all remaining opposition.
It shouldn’t be hard - ISIS destroyed a SUNNI town for not cooperating fully. Kill them all now before they DO become a Saudi/Turk caliphate.
The real question is who trained ISIL?
They don’t need jets, CAS props would do the job nicely. Heck a squadron of Wart Hogs would do the job nicely. Bet they could pick them up fairly cheap.
> The leadership of the 7th Division crumbled in later December 2013 after an Islamic State suicide team killed the division commander and 17 members of his staff in an ambush in Rutbah.
Annually, we spent 10 times the entire Iraqi defense budget on operations in Iraq, an amount that doesn't include wear and tear on equipment. We lost 5000 men despite 24-hour-a-day 365-day-a-year satellite and drone coverage, on-call tube artillery and MLRS support and CAS. We had hundreds of fixed-wing aircraft in Iraq and thousands of choppers in-country. They have a few dozen fixed-wing prop-driven aircraft and a couple of hundred choppers. While I agree that they're not the best trained force around, ultimately the Iraqi Army is under-equipped for the job.
Oh Cool! We can buy them up cheap and market them as anti-Clinton shirts!
The Russians just shipped a dozen SU-25's (Russian A-10 equivalents) to them. But that's just a dozen. Coalition forces had access to hundreds of fixed-wing combat aircraft, and they spent very little time parked.
Interesting observations. Which famous general said, “The material is to the moral as 1 to 100?”
It’s also a major to go into battle with a Westernized technical military, when you don’t know which half of your troops in those tanks and APCs (or driving them) are just looking for the first chance to surrender and pledge loyalty to the Caliphate.
An M1A1 Abrams tank is not effective if the troops inside are only intending to jump out at the first opportunity to run to the black jihad flag of ISIS.
“Material to morale” (typo one)
It’s also a major PROBLEM to go (typo two)
We dumped on the South Vietnamese for collapsing after we left. I wonder how we would have done if we had been subjected to their material limits, especially given that the North Vietnamese received brand new equipment worth billions from the Soviets just before the drive south. At any rate, if morale alone accounted for military victories, we'd all be speaking Arabic today. As Churchill once wrote:
Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
They did pretty well against coalition forces, lay low and gathered their strength after we said were leaving and sprang the trap after we left. No surprise they're doing well against far less well-equipped and -trained Iraqi troops.
How much money, and worse, how many lives did the US waste in trying to train these ass clowns?
Less well equipped? I’ll take armored vehicles over pickup trucks. And whatever little air support the Iraqis have, is vastly more than ISIS has.
Thanks for the up-date. Our operations were against a large and on paper anyway powerful state military. I am still trying to figure out what makes ISIL so powerful. I guess it is just the regional religious tribalism that lends the weight of the indigenous populations to a relatively small group of fighters.
We spent 10x the annual Iraqi military budget to lose 5000 dead. If we had spent the Iraqi military budget, we might have had a lot more situations similar to what happened to that Iraqi armored column. The situations where we did well were when we had the initiative, i.e. conducting raids against insurgents in the small hours of the morning. The ones where we lost most of our men were when they were ambushed with mines and booby traps while on patrol. The Iraqis wandered into one of those situations while advancing pell-mell into Indian country without the benefit of CAS or arty support (tube or MLRS) and paid the price.
Don’t overlook how difficult it is to combat IED attacks. Most are emplaced at night and in many areas we had IR reconnaissance balloons, Specter gunships, Kiowas, Apaches, drones and other IR assets aloft looking for them at night.
Considering the IA’s assets and abilities I think their best tactic is to swarm an area and kill all the fighters and anyone who flees. It’ll be expensive in martyr power but it will work. This is how the Russians defeated the Germans in ‘43 - ‘45.
The Russians were staunch because it was clear that their choice was between (1) beat the Germans back or (2) be exterminated for not being of Aryan blood as Hitler defined it. Shiites can always convert to the majority Sunni sect. Islam triumphed very rapidly during its first centuries in part because the losers knew they could always convert. (Arabia's neighbors had also been decimated by the plague). They were held back only by fear of divine punishment via weather calamities, plagues, et al. Once it became clear their traditional gods were indifferent to their conversion to Islam (or perhaps wholly notional), mass conversions occurred just to avoid having to pay jizya.
Without overwhelming Western material superiority, they will need to fight by the same medieval rules as their ISIS adversaries. There are sound military reasons for fighting that way, which is why medieval armies used to do it. Genghis Khan's small army would have been nickel-and-dimed to death if he hadn't whacked entire cities for daring to revolt against the tiny garrisons he deployed in the conquered lands to his rear.
“Shiites can always convert to the majority Sunni sect.”
Oh, no, you are very mistaken there. They are like oil and water. Even as a visitor I could easily tell them apart in less than a year. There is no way in H they would or could convert to Sunni. They’d sooner convert to Christianity.