Ghost soldiers are bleeding the Iraqi army of guns and money

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Jan 19, 2007.

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  1. Widespread corruption has robbed the Iraqi Armed Forces of arms, money and troops, Army numbers are swelled with “ghost soldiers” who appear on rosters but do not exist. A brigade commander was removed this month for selling weapons and fuel on the black market and officials in the Ministry of Defence support terrorism, according to one lieutenant-colonel.

    “Corruption is like termites. They eat from within and affect the morale of the soldiers,” Lieutenant-General Nasier al-Abadi, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, who pledged to eradicate corruption, told The Times.

    The picture throws into stark relief the appeal for more weapons from the Iraqi Prime Minister. Nouri al-Maliki used an interview with The Times on Wednesday to chide the US for failing to give his forces enough weapons. The view from the ground suggests that there are no guarantees that such equipment would reach frontline troops, and underlines US concerns that they could end up in the hands of insurgents and militias.

    In the insurgent haven of Fallujah, Lieutenant-Colonel Tahsen Jabour Ahmed Sabih worries as much about corrupt military officials as he does about al-Qaeda. He wonders why he could not get enough weapons, vehicles or pay for his men.

    Then there are the “ghost soldiers”. Colonel Sabih knows that someone is receiving the fictitious troops’ salaries, but can do nothing about it. “Basically, the Ministry of Defence is weak. These people who work in MoD, some of them support terrorism. This doesn’t mean only to kill innocent people . . . they work for their personal benefit,” he said. “One hundred per cent, the problem in the MoD is corruption.” US Marine officers in Fallujah were even more blunt in describing how dirty practices were hindering the Iraqi Army. They succeeded in ousting Fallujah’s brigade commander, General Khalid Juad Khadim, who had enjoyed political protection inside the ministry.

    General Khadim, who is suspected of links to Shia militias, was accused of selling off fuel and weapons on the black market in Baghdad, said Lieutenant-Colonel James Teeples, who advised the Iraqi Army in Fallujah. “He likes to take pay from his soldiers,” Colonel Teeples said. “He sells weapons on the black market in Baghdad. He steals gasoline the coalition provides for the brigade.”

    He expressed most concern over the “ghost soldiers”. “The brigade, for instance, will submit a pay roster to the MoD every month,” he said. “Let’s say it has 2,000 names; 1,700 names may actually exist. What happens to the money for the other 300 people? It gets divided among various people, various key personnel in the brigade, especially the brigade general.”

    Colonel Sabih wonders how he can ever win the confidence of Fallujah residents when his Army is too weak to challenge groups such as al-Qaeda.

    “On their own, they [Fallujah residents] would trust the Army, but by force, they are obliged to trust the insurgents.”

    Colonel Teeples said that corruption extended well beyond Fallujah’s 2nd Brigade of the First Army Division. “I know there are problems with other division commanders and I know there are problems with folks up at the Ministry of Defence,” he said. “So it’s not simply just this one brigade commander. If it were an isolated instance like that, they [the army] would probably be doing much better in Iraq than they currently are.”

    General al-Abadi acknowledged that corruption had infected the Defence Ministry, but said that moves were afoot to fix the problem. Early last year the ministry had formed a committee to root out the problem of non-existent soldiers. A paymaster officer was assigned to every army unit to create greater accountability, but it is still impossible to track the total number of active soldiers.

    A second inspector-general’s office was established three months ago to look out for improprieties within the armed forces, General al-Abadi said. And this year, the Defence Ministry is establishing a support command division and a computerised accounting system to crack down on the flow of weapons, fuel and other supplies to the black market.

    $4 billion a year is lost to corruption in Iraq, according to auditors — including $100m of oil smuggling that helps to fund the insurgency

    In full,,3-2554802,00.html
  2. Why does that not surprise me at all?!
  3. Life goes on as normal!
  4. What the West calls CORUPTION is the way of life in many cuntries.
    And why King george has his eye off the ball, South America goes socialist and China gears up for the next main event.
  5. Opportunity and war come together with this sort of crime. It is not just the followers of Islam who do this. '42 in the Middle East had a major who had a false regiment of locals constructing a gasoline supply pipe across the desert. He drew rations, money, supplies and petrol. There were others on our team at the same game - just my memory no longer holds the full detail.
  6. mm this only convinces me more, that when we we finally leave, next week, next year, 5 years even, it will all go to ratshit regardelss of our best effort.

    I would like to be proven wrong.
  7. Quel Fucking Suprise!
  8. I wonder how Saddam dealt with it?
  9. How did he handle the oil for food corruption, sold the oil, bribed UN bods to enable more sales pocketed lots and gave his people nothing
  10. Which has what to do with the wholesale corruption of the Armed Forces Sven?

    I'm asking what Saddam would have done to ensure his Commanders weren't busy passing ghuns, equipment and money to his enemies.

    My own personal feeling is full stop, start all over again.
  11. Aah

    I thought that You were commenting on simple corruption in the Saddam ragime.

    Could it happen in HM forces? Could we invent a regular unit in todays army and indent for it, claim the funds for running just such a unit. I would suggest not because of the audit regime we have. My point is this, perhaps there should have been an independent audit office set up in Iraq
  12. Too late for that I feel Sven. Root and branch purge, and get the old team back in again. Then set up the checks and balances.

    Possibly consider less soldiers of higher quality? Maybe the time to put out a call for recruiting soldiers of the old regime is now? A few high profile arrests pour encourager les autres is needed too?

    We can't hope to stabilise or 'win' , if most of the Government is working against us , either to feather their own nests or establish their own personal fiefdoms.

    Pull it down and rebuild it. It's not working. Though I do feel the roots lie in the turning of a blind eye to these practices in the early days, in the vain hope of co-operation no doubt.

    Remember the UN's concern that vast amounts of money had simply vanished?
  13. A purge of the corrupt, certainly, but to start all over again is a non starter - it would mean US and UK troops staying in country for several years on top of what they already have done. Public opinion in Iraq and our home countries will not countenance that.

    Use the scalpel of government audit to cut out the rotten flesh, then build it back up with the checks and balances in place.

    As to the quantity vs quality debate - I suspect it very much depends on the doctrine of those aiding the Iraq Army rebuild. The US is a quantity type entity - but they back it up with huge amounts of up to the minute technology. The UK is obviously the latter, backed by what we can afford. Personally I would prefer our system to be put in place with the money to spend, eventually, of the oil backed Iraqi government.

    However would US doctrine allow this
  14. "Could it happen in HM forces? Could we invent a regular unit in todays army and indent for it, claim the funds for running just such a unit. I would suggest not because of the audit regime we have. My point is this, perhaps there should have been an independent audit office set up in Iraq "

    We certainly didnt use Balkans add-back to fund black economy posts in BATUS did we.
  15. Quis custodiet custodes ipsos, though? How can you be sure that those carrying out the audit aren't going to be just as corrupt? Is it perhaps time to accept that some level of corruption is endemic and work with it?