According to some security experts, it seems logical to begin the reform process by replacing security and military commanders, but it should also include the institutions’ bases. The crisis in Iraq’s military and security institutions is not attributable only to the leadership, but also to the structure of the two institutions.
These structures — in which corruption, decline and poor planning and implementation prevail — is linked to the poor performance of these institutions after 2003, and to the defects in the standards prior to this date.
It is worth mentioning that there was also talk about corruption in these two institutions under Saddam Hussein’s regime, which was complicit in the corruption, especially in the 1990s.
Retired Gen. Hazem al-Douri admitted as much to Al-Monitor. He recognized that the phenomenon of “ghost soldiers” (those who bribe officers to avoid showing up at their units) is widespread after Saddam’s regime turned a blind eye to bribery and blackmail in security institutions.
Douri said, “As professional officers, we were not happy. … That was a severe blow, the results of which were seen in 2003; the Iraqi army’s collapse and the fall of Saddam’s regime following the liberation of Kuwait and the economic siege, the army’s morale weakened and corruption spread within this institution.
“Yet, the army had enjoyed some degree of control over itself before 2003, based on a long tradition, and this is what the [current] army — which was established after 2003 — lacks. I am afraid that the armies that will be established in Iraq after 2014 will suffer from a lack of control as well.”
Douri was referring to the formation of the National Guard, the “popular mobilization” and the “Sahwa forces,” under official auspices. These formations were the product of the weak Iraqi army and security forces.