Iraqi PM Abadi shakes up battered army

Iraqi Army personnel take part during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Jurf al-Sakhar October 27, 2014. Picture taken Oct. 27, 2014.

Iraqi Army personnel take part during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Jurf al-Sakhar October 27, 2014. Picture taken Oct. 27, 2014.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has removed 26 military officers from their posts, sending 10 others to retirement and appointing 18 new commanders, the prime minister’s office said in a statement obtained by Al Arabiya News.

The move was Abadi’s first such shake up of the military since he took office in August, succeeding Nouri al-Maliki, who help the premiership for eight years.

Maliki is widely blamed for the poor state of army, which lost major swathes of land to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during his administration. Maliki was accused of pursuing a sectarian agenda that favors Shiites over Sunnis in state administration and the military.

Critics say Maliki built the army on sectarian and personal loyalties rather than on national and professional grounds.

The prime minister holds the post of General Commander of the Armed Forces under the Iraqi constitution.

Before Abbadi came to office, several elite brigades were taking orders directly from Maliki, who is now the vice president.

Al-Abadi’s seeks to restore the army’s professional capabilities, with the help of the United States, which has sent a few hundreds of advisors and trainers to Baghdad.

 
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