To a significant degree, the failure of the Russian-trained and equipped Iraqi army when the US invaded that country is on Russia. To a significant degree, the failure of the US-trained and equipped Iraqi army when ISIS invaded Iraq is on us.
But given the fact that both of those failures occurred under two independent and dissimilar training, doctrine, and equipage régimes, the abject performance of the Iraqi “army” is on Iraq and that army. This is an army that has demonstrated empirically that it has no stomach for defending itself and its members’ families, much less defending its country. This is an army that has demonstrated empirically that it has no stomach for fighting.
The Kurds—including the Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (most especially the latter’s all-women units)—have demonstrated such stomach. Indeed, both groups, under-armed as they are, have been holding off ISIS without Iraqi help, and with only minimal US help; they’ve even regained some ISIS-seized ground.
Now, the Sunnis in western Iraq. The Sunnis of al Anbar Province have been asking for US help in fighting ISIS, also; a small bit of that help came a few days ago in the form of airborne potshots taken against the terrorists trying to seize the Haditha dam. In the meantime, they’ve been resisting ISIS on their own, albeit to a much more limited degree, and with much less success. But they’ve been trying.
Two groups of Iraqis are willing to fight for themselves, if not for Greater Iraq, against these terrorist thugs, even if one group is doing a better job of fighting. Two groups of Iraqis should be armed and supported against the terrorists trying to destroy them. The Iraqi government will not, the Iraqi folks playing at dress-up and army will not.
The US should be supplying assistance—and air support—directly to the erstwhile Awakened Sunnis and to the Kurds, bypassing an ineffectual, and by its own performance apparently disinterested, Iraqi government.