Friday, August 08, 2014


I recall reading for maybe the last decade evaluations of the Peshmerga like this one from last June:


Although some 35,000 Kurdish peshmerga are incorporated into the Iraqi security forces, other peshmerga remain outside with published estimates varying from 80,000 to three times that number. Two years ago a Kurdish official suggested the peshmerga numbered 190,000. Increasingly well equipped – including with 2,000 armoured vehicles and rocket artillery systems – they are regarded as motivated, well trained and experienced.

This week, it seems that it has become a pushover for the ISIS fighters:
Then, starting on Saturday evening, came the waves of ISIS attacks on positions in northern Iraq. A senior administration official described it as “a multi-pronged attack across hundreds of kilometers in northern Iraq.” This official said ISIS “acted with tremendous military proficiency.”

The Kurds were overrun.

Though the Kurds have begun a counteroffensive with assistance from the Iraqi Air Force, ISIS has continued its march, seizing new towns and critical infrastructure—including a major dam near Mosul. For the first time, some observers believe that the Kurdish homeland itself, where the U.S. embassy and military forces are stationed, is under threat.
UPDATE: Josh Marshall asks the same question:
But for years we've been told that the Peshmerga, the de facto army of the Kurdish Regional Government, was a highly disciplined and fairly fearsome fighting force. Perhaps not sporting the most advanced weaponry but not the kind of force that would melt away like the Iraqi Army, especially because they're fighting on and for what they regard as their national homeland.

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