Iraqi army starts to ‘act like one’: U.S.

The army had undergone sectarian division and broken leadership among other issues

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Iraq’s fractured army began to reform and stage local attacks on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants, but was still shy of hurling a major offensive, senior U.S. military officials said on Thursday.

The officials, who were not authorized to be quoted by name, added that it would take the army many months to stage and launch a major attack against the militant group.

“We've seen them start to act like an army,” one official said.

The officials were speaking at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, during a briefing on the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria.

The Iraqi army, trained by the U.S. prior to its pullout from Iraq in 2011, underwent sectarian division and broken leadership among other issues.

Furthermore, many of the army’s units surrendered their tanks, arms and other equipment when they fled ISIS militants in Mosul a few months ago.

The U.S. Pentagon had stated that Baghdad’s government was dedicated to regaining the power of the military.

“The [Iraq] minister was quite clear on more than one occasion ... that he has every intention of going on the offensive,” Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said in reference to a phone conversation which took place between Iraq's new defense chief, Khaled al-Obeidi and Defense Minister Chuck Hagel.

The U.S. led anti-ISIS coalition and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have been leading the fight against the militant group in Iraq and Syria.

The top Western power and its allies flew nearly 6,600 sorties and dropped more than 1,700 bombs during their air war against ISIS, which was launched on August 8, the U.S. army announced.

“Operation Inherent Resolve” flights allegedly include thousands of mid-air fueling runs, surveillance flights and 632 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.

Most of the coalition’s strikes fly from bases located in the region including countries such as Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar.

(With agencies)