Before They Attacked the Kurds, Shia Militias Undermined the Campaign for Mosul
In July 2016, the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul was within reach of the forces trying to liberate it. Iraqi and Kurdish forces — along with a spattering of Western troops — had taken up positions on the edge of the city and swapped fire with militants inside. The noose was tightening around... Read more
Iraq’s Shia Militia Problem Always Felt a Lot Like 2007
In August 2014, Islamic State militants seemed poised to seize Amerli, a Shia Turkmen town in northern Iraq. Had they done so, there’s little question the result would have been mass slaughter—just like happened when the Islamists captured the Kurdish Yezidi town of Sinjar. A force of Shia Arab... Read more
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

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer

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