The Iraqi army is struggling to deal with attacks from Islamic State fighters, despite heavily outnumbering them, because it lacks “moral cohesion” and effective leadership, according to the most senior British officer to be involved in postwar planning in Iraq.
Maj Gen Tim Cross echoed comments by the US defence secretary that successive gains by Isis militants in the region werebecause the Iraqi army did not have the “will to fight”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Cross said: “It’s interesting that the secretary used that [will to fight] expression because we use that expression in the British army and our argument is that it’s about a moral cohesion in your army.
“It’s about the motivation to achieve what it is you’re setting out to achieve and it’s about effective leadership … and it’s this will to fight that I think is fundamentally at the heart of the issue with the Iraqi military.
“There’s no cohesion, there’s no strong leadership,” he said. “They’re really struggling and I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”