Iraqi army stands ‘no chance’ if ISIS continues intl recruitment & brainwashing

Reuters / Stringer
​Regional armies have “no chance” of defeating the Islamic State horde if the terror group continues its brainwashing and recruiting campaign that replenishes its numbers with foreign fighters, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Der Speigel.

“If Daesh [ISIS] continues to recruit so many from other countries, then no army in our region can stand up to it,” al-Abadi said in an interview with the German magazine. “They keep on recruiting people, they have huge financial resources and, honestly, a uniformed army alone cannot face it on its own.”

Local extremists that join the ISIS cause are not a major problem as they tend to flee and disappear among the locals instead of engaging in direct fight with Iraqi forces, the Prime Minister stated. But foreign fighters he says are a real threat, against which the Iraqi army stands no chance in regaining control of the country.

“Fifty-seven percent of Daesh fighters are Iraqi. But, honestly, when we enter a city with our forces, we ignore them – they don’t stand up and they will run away. It is the 43 percent who are foreign fighters who have been indoctrinated ideologically who have their backs up against the wall,” al-Abadi explained.

While ISIS remains a major threat everywhere in Iraq, it is also a problem for the whole world, the PM stressed.

Al-Abadi admitted that last summer ISIS captured vast parts of the country “without a fight,” and through the use of“psychological warfare.” The PM also blamed President Barack Obama for not responding earlier to the threat posed.“Baghdad was being threatened by them and, in actual fact, there was no action from the US or anybody else,” he said.

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From the very beginning ISIS relied on “vicious and criminal” atrocities and fear in order to gain support on the ground, al-Abadi said. But he added that eventually the psychological warfare has seen a reversal, with the atrocities the group commits now working against ISIS.

But while Iraqi and local militia forces with the help of the US-led bombing campaign are slowly regaining territory, the minister warns that extremists still have “hotspots” in areas under renewed government control.

“They will try to agitate the population again,” Al-Abadi said. “They have arms at their disposal, and they are very powerful because they are ideologically motivated. Honestly, it would be a challenge to deal with this.”

In order to stop ISIS brainwashing young recruits, Al-Abadi suggests that government security agencies need to enact protection measures the same way “they trace child pornography networks around the world.”