Saigon in Baghdad — Iraq’s Corruption-Based Collapse

While the media has made much of both the Iraqi government’s request for air strikes on the Al Qaeda aligned fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Obama Administration’s refusal to do so, few people have bothered to look at what airpower was available to the Shia dominated government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In fact, the Iraqi Air Force has had light gunships based on the Cessna C208 Caravan capable of firing Hellfire missiles since 2011 that should have been fully capable of dealing with the ISIS “technicals” — armed light trucks — seen in many photos recently.

Iraqi AC-208B Fires Hellfire
This is an Iraqi ATK AC208B Cessna “Combat Caravan” Light Gunship with laser guided Hellfire missiles.

See this link and text:

Alliant Techsystems has announced delivery of a third AC-208B “Combat Caravan” aircraft to the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission in Kirkuk, Iraq. To date, ATK has delivered 11 modified C-208 aircraft in support of U.S. Government contracts for rebuilding the Iraqi Air Force: three reconnaissance aircraft, five trainer aircraft and three AC-208B aircraft. The AC-208B Combat Caravan aircraft is a specially modified Cessna Grand Caravan that incorporates an electro-optical targeting system with integrated laser designator, Hellfire laser guided missiles, an air-to-ground and air-to-air data link and aircraft self-protection equipment.

See also this link and ATK press release photos:

The AC208B “Combat Caravan” light gunship in ATK Press Release Photos.

Whether the current Iraqi government there has any left in operable condition is a very different question. I very strongly suspect that most of the 30,000 Iraqi Army troops that deserted in the face of the ISIS attack had not been paid in months, with most of their weapons, radios and vehicles either being sold or deadlined from issues of corruption.

What we are seeing with the Iraqi government is a collapse from corruption. If the CIA had any capable human agents on the ground outside the Green Zone — ones that were paid attention too — none of that would have been a surprise to the Obama Administration.

Now we have “Saigon in Baghdad,” with a President that has all the bad features of the Nixon Administration and is isolationist to boot.

7 thoughts on “Saigon in Baghdad — Iraq’s Corruption-Based Collapse”

  1. Consider for a moment what Iran or Al-qaeda will be able to do with captured Hellfire missiles.

  2. Some basic facts about what happened here .

    Even before the U.S. forces left, American-trained leaders were being replaced with more and more “favored” officers from sects, tribes or families linked to the government. They weren’t chosen for their competency, a big mistake.

    The increasing sectarianism of the central government turned people against the security forces, too, and against public officials. A punishing operational tempo for both elite and normal units meant that “select and trusted” Iraqi units were being shuttled to the various trouble spots across the country. Those on the frontiers were worn out fighting local insurgencies, terrorists and criminals. The Iraqi Army was, in effect, in combat continuously for several years after U.S. forces departed. There was little re-training and little rest. This kind of operational tempo will exhaust even the best soldiers. For Iraq’s soldiers, their level of training and toxic leadership became a recipe for disaster.

    Obama owns this. We could have left an advisor force of a few thousand and avoided this. Afghanistan will be a lot harder to evacuate. Bernard Lewis said in 2008 (I was there and heard him) that the US was becoming an ineffective enemy and an untrustworthy ally. A bad combination. Bergdahl was sort of a metaphor for the Obama administration. Nobody that you would want defending your back

  3. The failure of the Iraqi army is pretty typical of Arab armies. The Iraqi army abandoned the field when we invaded in 2003, too. These people feel little loyalty to their “Big Men,” such as Saddam, Gaddafi, or Maliki. Their primary loyalty is to tribe or clan.

    The jihadis are a different breed. They have a motive. They are going to martyr themselves for Allah. They will kill as many as they can in the name of Allah. They are drunk on a religion that creates psychopathic killing machines. They’re very scary dudes and the reason ISIS is so dangerous. They are a threat to anyone who isn’t a radical Islamist.

    Air strikes with real war planes (not the Cessnas) is what is needed to send these killers to the glorious death they thirst for.

  4. Now we have “Saigon in Baghdad,” with a President that has all the bad features of the Nixon Administration and is isolationist to boot

    The best line I heard about Obama is his “having the economy of Jimmy Carter and the excuses of Richard Nixon

    And JimmyJ is spot-on – tribal loyalty is the bane of the Arabs

  5. I flew in a C-208 on my 2013 trip to South Sudan.

    No Hellfires carried, though; not even hardpoints for them. Just as well…

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