Iraqis today commemorate the centenary of the founding of their army, which coincided with the founding of their modern state, and with it they recall milestones in the march of one of the oldest armies in the Middle East in the modern era.
In a speech on this occasion, Iraqi President Barham Salih said that the strength of the army represents the prestige of the guardian and servant state to its people, pointing to the need for the army to remain a national constitutional institution that protects sovereignty and the homeland, not a tool in the hand of tyranny and dictatorship.
For his part, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi said that the army’s great sacrifices are laying the groundwork for a future befitting Iraq and Iraqis, and that its amazing resilience in the face of adversity is a new lesson that adds to the lessons that you have provided humanity with throughout history.
Al-Kazemi pointed out in his speech that “it is truly regrettable that Iraq has turned into an arena for liquidations and challenges of a global and regional war on its soil,” adding, “We will not allow the lands of Iraq to be used for settling scores between countries.”
Al-Kazemi indicated that batches of US forces have been withdrawn from Iraq within technical timings during the past months, and more than half of those forces will be withdrawn in the coming days, and only hundreds of them will remain, for cooperation in the fields of training, rehabilitation, armament and technical support. “This development was established in light of the readiness of Iraqi forces and security forces of all kinds to protect the land of Iraq and preserve the dignity of its people.”
Prime Minister @MAKadhimi We stand on the feast of our heroic army and in front of our great people to say:
Your great sacrifices lay the foundation for a future befitting Iraq and Iraqis, and your amazing steadfastness in the face of adversity is a new lesson that will be added to the lessons that you have provided humanity with throughout history. pic.twitter.com/cORmjSC0Kh
Media Office of the Prime Minister 🇮🇶 (@IraqiPMO) January 5, 2021
For his part, Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi affirmed that what the Iraqi army has provided throughout the course of a century is a great pride that deserves to be commemorated, praised and honored, and requires more support and support for this national institution that has made a lot during its bright march.
– Mohammed al-Halbousi (@AlHaLboosii) January 6, 2021
And Britain decided in January 1921 to establish the first nucleus of the modern Iraqi army. To be responsible for protecting the nascent Iraqi state, after choosing a transitional government that followed the events of the 1920 revolution in Iraq against the British occupation at the time, and later chose King Faisal bin Sharif Al Hussein to lead the nascent state.
The first regiment was established on January 6, 1921 during the monarchy, and bore the name “Musa Al-Kadhim”, which included among its flanks a large number of former elite officers who joined the Ottoman army at the time.
An army quickly began to grow – despite the colonialists ’fear and precaution – by forming two infantry divisions; One of them is in Diwaniyah (southern Iraq), the other in Karak (north of the country), in addition to the formation of the Air Force in 1931 and the Navy in 1937.
The Iraqi army played a pivotal role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, with its participation in the first war after the end of the British Mandate for Palestine in 1948, and dozens of martyrs fell among its ranks, and it was called the “Nakba War.”
The Iraqi army also stood by the Syrian and Egyptian armies in the Sixth of October 1973 War, and it had epics and tournaments in it.
The Iraqi army remained a stubborn equal to Israel until the early 1990s, when locally manufactured Hussein and Abbas rockets rained Israeli towns and instilled terror in them in support of the Palestinians, when they reached 39 rockets.
Perhaps the rise of the Islamic revolution in Iran and the rise of Saddam Hussein to the hierarchy of power in Iraq in 1979 was the first spark for the escalation of the conflict between the two eternal neighbors, and the outbreak of war between them in September 1980.
It was the longest war in the region, in which hundreds of thousands of victims were killed during 8 years of fierce fighting in the air, sea and land, and it ended with the Iranian side agreeing to a ceasefire on August 8, 1988.
Although the war drained the two countries militarily, economically and morally, the Iraqi army left it while it was at its peak.
The invasion of Kuwait
Tensions over oil prices and common fields were the straw that broke the relationship between the two brotherly countries, and led to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which was a prelude to the second Gulf War led by the United States, which led an international coalition to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and target sensitive military sites in The Iraqi Depth.
The American invasion
Flimsy justifications prompted the United States to invade Iraq in 2003, led by a coalition consisting of Britain and Australia, and it was called the “coalition of the willing,” and this coalition overthrew the regime with thousands of victims and devastation hit everyone else. Under the pretext of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
The burden of that war was a heavy burden on the Iraqi army due to the unequal forces and the negligence of some leaders in it, which saw that they had no acceptance of confronting the lethal American war machine.
On May 23, 2003, the American civil administrator Paul Bremer issued a decision to dissolve the Iraqi army, demobilize all its members, and pursue others of them, and after a month had passed, Bremer ordered the establishment of a new army, according to the population ratios of the regions, in an attempt to sow discord and sectarianism in Iraqi society. The abolition of conscription weakened the military establishment, especially since most of the current volunteers come through parties.
After ISIS controlled a third of Iraq in 2014, with the fall of the governorates of Mosul and Anbar and parts of Salah al-Din and Diyala; This did not detract from the determination of the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization Forces to fight the organization and regain the territories it had controlled, as the then prime minister announced on January 9, 2017, from Mosul, the restoration of all areas under the organization’s control.
According to the US Global Fire website ranking for 2020, the Iraqi army ranked 50th in terms of the most powerful armies in the world, out of a total of 138 countries. This site is one of the sites famous for adopting special criteria in evaluating armies around the world.