What the Great Scud Hunt Says About War With North Korea
While assembling the coalition that would eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1990–1991, one thing American military planners weren’t worried about was Iraq’s Scud-B tactical ballistic missiles. True, Iraq had flung hundreds of the Soviet-designed missiles at Iranian cities during the Iran-Iraq War, but the weapons were derived from Nazi V-2... Read more
Iraqi Militia Barrel Toward Hawija
Militia trucks clad in half-inch sheet metal drove in frenzied braids to get to the head of the pack. It looked like a scene out of Mad Max. Clearly, any effort from the Iraqi army to maintain a unified line would be futile. On Sept. 29, 2017, Iraqi forces... Read more
Iraq Got F-16s in September 2015 And Immediately Started Bombing ISIS
On Sept. 5, 2017,  Iraqi air force major Noor Faleh Al Khuzai died in the crash of his F-16 fighter during a training flight in Arizona. This is the second F-16IQ the Iraqi air force has lost in Arizona. On June 25, 2015, F-16C serial number 1609 crashed, killing... Read more
In January 1991, Both Iraq and America Claimed Fictional Air-to-Air Victories
During the U.S.-led air war on Iraq in 1991, a U.S. Air Force EF-111A electronic-warfare plane forced an Iraqi air force Mirage F.1EQ to fly into the ground. The EF-111 thus scored an air-to-air kill without ever firing a shot. At least, that’s what the U.S. Air Force claimed.... Read more
The Hazards of Military Worship
This story originally appeared on May 15, 2017. More, more, more. I was guilty of it myself. Commanding a small cavalry troop of around 85 soldiers in southwest Kandahar Province back in 2011, I certainly wanted and requested more. More troopers, more Special Forces advisers, more Afghan police, more... Read more
I Met an ISIS Fighter in an Iraqi Prison
In a war-scarred jail in Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, I meet a 27-year-old former Islamic State fighter. I’ll call him Abdullah. He claims he intentionally left the terror group in order to seek medical treatment. While trying to pass into Kurdish territory in October 2016 via a checkpoint in... Read more
In 1986, the Iraqis Wrecked Their Own Attempt to Get an Iranian F-14
Part two of a two-part story. Read part one here. In September 1986, the Iran-Iraq War – a bloody war of attrition that involved millions of combatants and left deep scars on both sides of the front line – was about to reach its sixth anniversary. The war began... Read more
Iraqi Kurds Stockpiled Captured Islamic State Explosives
In August 2017, two explosions rocked Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Bomb attacks in the Kurdish capital are a rarity. In both these instances officials in the region assured the city’s residents that the explosions resulted from unstable weaponry the Kurdish Peshmerga had captured from Islamic... Read more
Iraq, Not Afghanistan, Is America’s Longest War
There’s no question the United States’ war in Afghanistan — now entering its 16th year — ranks high on the list of America’s longest wars. But does it deserve the unenviable moniker of “America’s longest war?” Hardly. In fact, that title belongs to a conflict most Americans view not... Read more
Underequipped and Unpaid, Mosul’s Civil Defenders Reunite the Dead With the Living
A month passed since Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi declared victory in the battle to clear Islamic State from Mosul. A hesitant calm has descended over the city as neighborhoods that residents abandoned during the fighting are gradually repopulating. The task of Mosul’s liberators has shifted to reconstruction.... Read more
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