Maliki’s effort to suppress the Sunnis

A New York Times report reiterates earlier reports, saying: “To help the Iraqis repel ISIS, Mr. Obama has flooded Iraq with intelligence and surveillance equipment and said he would deploy up to 300 military advisers to assess the condition of the Iraqi military.”

Buried in a Washington Post story which details the inadequacies of Iraq’s air force, is a passage which conflicts with the overarching narrative of a fledgling state, unable to meet its own needs.

Under Maliki’s direction, the Iraqi government became less concerned about the risks presented by extremists than it was about holding the Sunnis down.

[E]ven before the U.S. military left the country, the Iraqi government purged many of its best intelligence officers and assets because they were either Sunnis or Kurds, vastly degrading its ability to locate important terrorist targets, according to a senior intelligence official who spoke anonymously so that he could speak freely. Killing terrorists was no longer the Shiite-dominated government’s top priority, the officials said. Instead, the goal became one of undermining Sunni influence and power.

To accomplish this, Maliki created a special military liaison office, the Office of the Commander in Chief (OCINC), as a work-around to the normal chain of command, the officials said. It was also meant to bypass prying American eyes.

Michael Pregent, a former Army intelligence officer working on contract as an embedded adviser to the Iraqi security forces in 2008, obtained evidence that showed how politicized the Iraqi targeting process had become.

Pregent was secretly passed a list of 3,000 targets that OCINC was giving to its ground commanders conducting raids, he said in a recent interview. A confidential analysis of the list by Americans in a targeting cell at the Baghdad Operations Center found that 95 percent of the targets were either Sunni men of military age, tribal leaders or other Sunnis listed simply as “the friend of a terrorist, father of a terrorist, grandfather of a terrorist,” Pregent said. No direct evidence of terrorist involvement was provided, he said.

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