The Iraqi army on its founding anniversary.. It stopped the Israeli attack on Damascus in 1973 and fought the longest war with Iran
The Iraqi army has gone through a series of pivotal events in its history, during which it fought 16 wars, in which it achieved luminous signs, especially in the Arab wars against Israel, but the most distinguishing sign in it was that it remained close together and influenced by politics, and it was thrown into the arenas of bloody coups since the middle of the last century.
The first regiment in the Iraqi army was established on January 6, 1921, and it bore the name “The Musa Al-Kadhim Regiment.” The second in Kirkuk and the fourth in Diwaniyah.
In 1936, the Iraqi army participated in the first military coup headed by the commander of the Second Division, Lieutenant-General Bakr Sidqi, as a result of which a new government was formed headed by Hikmat Suleiman.
In 1958, the army participated again in a military coup led by Abdul Karim Qassem to overthrow the monarchy, and units of the army returned to overthrow Qassem in 1963, and the officer Abdul Salam Aref was installed in his place, then his brother, the officer Abdul Rahman in 1966, after the death of Abdul Salam, then the officer was appointed Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr assumed the presidency in 1968, after which Saddam Hussein took power from 1979 to 2003.
The active participation of the Iraqi army with other Arab armies in the October 1973 war against Israel is a luminous sign in its path, while the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran (1980-1988) is considered the most depleting of its capabilities and capabilities, which suffered a severe blow after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the large-scale attacks that targeted him in the 1991 Gulf War, led by the United States and with the participation of 33 countries, to expel him from Kuwait.
meddling in politics
The decision to establish the army was taken by the British Mandate Authority at the Cairo meeting in 1921 – according to the security and strategic expert, retired Major General Dr. Muayyad Al-Wandawi – and the first Minister of Defense, the late Jaafar Pasha Al-Askari, was present. The second is for plains and deserts.
The Iraqi army entered many experiences and events, and began actively controlling issues of borders and internal security, but Al-Wandawi believes that the army involved itself in interfering with politics by bringing about the first military coup in the army in the Middle East region, led by Lieutenant-General Bakr Sidqi. This made Iraq again subject to British influence, specifically in 1941.
Al-Wandawy’s most regrettable thing is the destruction of the Iraqi military industries, which used to provide an important part of the army’s needs, especially missiles, bombs, and ammunition of various kinds, but which were completely destroyed after 2003.
Al-Wandawi points out that the United States, by invading Iraq, destroyed the country, specifically the army. He adds that there are now more than 1.5 million security and military elements of various types, with doubts about the capabilities of these institutions in achieving issues of national defense and internal security.
Al-Wandawy increases the praise for the Iraqi army before 2003 that it was not an expendable element, but that politics used it on a large scale, whether internally or externally, and the military institution used to grant expertise to the armed forces, and give high training capabilities.
Despite all this, battles were imposed on the army that were not of its choices, but rather imposed on it by its political leadership, and others imposed as a result of international and regional policies, and thus plunged into fighting for many years, exhausting the military as well as the financial institution and the resulting losses for the entire region.
Highlighting more about the 1973 war against Israel, and commenting on the Iraqi role in it, retired Colonel Salim Shakir al-Amami – who was in command of the 12th Armored Brigade – says that the timely intervention of the Iraqi army and fierce fighting saved Damascus from falling.
He also says that the 1973 war proved that the Arab soldier was capable and brave if other circumstances helped him, referring to what the famous American journalist Seymour Hersh said in his book “The Samson Choice” that all Israeli units fled before the Egyptian army, as well as the case of Israeli soldiers on the Syrian front. As for the Iraqi army, it confronted an Israeli armored division of 4 brigades and prevented the fall of Damascus. Israeli General Yaakov Amidor admitted that they “were very astonished when they learned that the Iraqi army entered the war and that it prevented Israel’s expansion in the 1948 war, and in the “Tulkarem – Qalqilya – Nathanya” triangle, as well as preventing us from expanding in the 1973 war.”
And what al-Amami recalls in his talk to Al-Jazeera Net about that war is that Israel entered a state of astonishment and shock by the active participation of the Iraqi army in the 1973 war, despite what it was spending to monitor and prevent its movements, and he adds: The ban was lifted from a secret Israeli telegram after 47 years that “” Damascus had an apple ready in our hands, but the Iraqi army deprived us of it.”
Involve him in politics
In response to a question by Al-Jazeera Net about the reason for his involvement in political life and military coups since its establishment, he attributes this to the professor of modern and contemporary history at Al-Mustansiriya University, Dr. Saad Nassif Al-Jumaili, to the Iraqi army’s possession of the trained military force, in addition to the lack of a democratic heritage that establishes the people’s councils and the authority that comes through The elections, and this prompted many attempts to seize power by military leaders before the 1958 coup.
The university professor believes that this is the main reason for the thinking of all governments that took power in Iraq after 2003 to control the military institution and subject it to its political desires by appointing loyalists to the authority who serve in the army at the highest military ranks, and referring those who doubt their loyalty to retirement, imprisonment or killing, And also the start of appointing simple members of the authority in the middle ranks of the army and granting them military ranks, whether by entering quick courses or what is called “integration”.
In a comparison with the Iraqi army, which was one of the most powerful armies in the Arab region and the world during the last century, and that which was formed after the American invasion of the country in 2003, the former Iraqi army officer, Rabee Al-Jawari, describes the army that was formed after 2003 as bad and unprofessional, attributing the reason for This is because it was built on a non-professional basis and relied on sectarian and ethnic quotas.
Although he acknowledged that the army had benefited the authority in all its stages, Al-Jawary saw in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that confusion will remain active in the security establishment as long as there is interference by political parties in it, and they are the ones who determine the fate of the army.
Al-Jawari criticized the exclusion of a large segment of the best former Iraqi army officers under false pretexts and accusations, and the nomination of unqualified officers by the parties without having an academic degree and sufficient experience, and this is what caused ISIS to take control of a third of the area of Iraq in 2014.
For his part, political analyst Ahmed Al-Sarraji seems more critical of the roles and influence of the army during the different eras since its founding in 1921, by turning it into a tool for “killing and repression”, and increases his criticism by describing what exists today as a “distorted and hybrid” version of the former army that has no loyalty. For Iraq, as soon as a small tremor occurs, everything collapses, as happened in 2014 at the hands of ISIS.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Sarraj sees the purpose of establishing the army since its inception by a purely British decision; And it is to control the country by integrating the youth who are the pillar of society in the military system, wondering when we will have an Iraqi army that will transcend tendencies and trends, and protect the borders of its country and its bounties?
On the other hand, security expert Aqil Al-Taie says that the new Iraqi army faced many challenges after 2003, most notably the war against al-Qaeda and then the war against the Islamic State, but its military doctrine contributed significantly to eliminating and defeating them, underlining the most wonderful heroic epics in combating terrorism.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Taie stresses the need for future governments to provide new faces in the Iraqi army because there are some slacks in it, in addition to the arrival of some officers and ranks to the retirement age, since the main point in any fighter is physical fitness, speed of response and endurance.