According to the Iraqi army, two generals died in an Islamic State suicide bombing Thursday, raising questions about Iraq’s military chain of command.
The attacker drove his rigged car into a division of foot troops that included the generals before detonating the vehicle. The Associated Press reported that the troops were north of the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, which has seen ongoing fighting against the jihadi group. (RELATED: Report: High-Ranking Generals May Have Sugar-Coated Secret White House Reports On ISIS)
The AP named the dead generals as “Maj. Gen. Abdul-Rahman Abu-Regheef, deputy chief of operations in Anbar, and Brig. Gen. Sefeen Abdul-Maguid, commander of the 10th Army Division.” Other troops died as well.
Iraq’s army famously retreated when Islamic State advanced into Iraq last year, with soldiers leaving their uniforms behind as they fled. In the ensuing months, a new prime minister has worked to restore public trust in the military and cut endemic corruption among officers. (RELATED: Iraqi Politicians Pass Around Blame For Rise Of ISIS)
But Thursday’s incident still raises the obvious question of what two high-profile generals were doing so close to the line of fire. For a U.S.-trained military to have such prominent leaders near the front line suggests a deficiency in Iraq’s mid-level officer corps.
After all of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s efforts, then, it seems the Iraqi army has a lot further to go. Besides winning the confidence of embattled Sunnis, who see the military as a tool of the Shiite-led government, Abadi may first have to make sure Iraq’s army has enough officers who trust their higher-ups — and generals who trust their subordinates.
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