Iraq mulling reinstating conscription as fighting against Islamic State rages

By Ali Kazeer

Azzaman, January 12, 2015

The Defense Ministry must have everything ready to reinstate conscription in Iraq, Adnan al-Asadi, security affairs advisor to the Prime Minister Haider Abadi said.

Asadi’s call for reinstating conscription comes as the country is engaged in ferocious fighting against Islamic State militants who control large areas of northern and western parts of Iraq.

“The Defense Ministry should make all the arrangements necessary to reintroduce conscription,” Asadi said. “This project will make available battle-hardened and national fighters and put an end to sectarian tendencies.”

Asadi’s remarks were made in a statement faxed to the newspaper.

Conscription was abandoned in the aftermath of the 2003-U.S. invasion of Iraq. The army, a volunteer force, has dismally failed in confronting Islamic State militants who barged into Iraq in June last year from Syria.

Asadi did not make clear whether he had discussed his proposals with premier Abadi or was speaking on his behalf.

However, he said his plan “would take time as (the Defense Ministry) is required to prepare military camps, logistics and infrastructure” before the project becomes a reality.

There are concerns in Iraq of the growing influence and role of militias in the fight against Islamic State since these irregular fighting groups owe their allegiance to their sects and factional leaders rather than the national flag.

Asadi said once conscription is reinstated there should be no need for militias.