>> As Iraqi forces battle to retake the ISIS stronghold of Fallujah, US military experts telling Reuters exclusively that a 17 month American effort to retrain the Iraqi army has failed to create a unifying fighting force in a country marked by sectarian divisions. Reuters investigative correspondent Ned Parker is a former Baghdad bureau chief, and says American advisors worry that if they cannot rebuild a functioning Iraqi army, there may be little hope for a unified country.
>> This is what the United States is trying to navigate as it looks to defeat the Islamic State. When they look at the Iraqi army, they face, in effect, a microcosm of the broader Iraqi political institutions.>> The Iraqi army collapsed in the summer of 2014 when the Islamic State appealed to Sunnis, feeling disenfranchised by the Shiite led government in Baghdad.
At the same time, young Shiites fearful of the ISIS advance, signed up to fight in Iranian backed militias independent of the government in Baghdad. One small success story in the American effort to help Iraq, is the creation of Iraq's Special Forces, a small group of highly trained soldiers that have demonstrated battlefield discipline and prowess.
>> The challenge though is if the counter-terrorism forces, the Iraqi special forces, which are effective in fighting and are in danger of burning out, which US officers have warned is a possibility. What is left to fight besides the militia forces?>> And when Shiite militias have taken control of Sunni areas from ISIS, there are reports from Sunni civilians of lootings, kidnappings, and even executions.
Act that only further alienate Iraqi Sunnis from the rest of the country.>> There will likely be more victories on the battlefield against the Islamic State in Iraq. But the question is what do those places look like the day after the Islamic State is defeated. And what US officers and some Iraqi officials and prominent figures are warning is that if there isn't a political solution in a place like Iraq then the danger is that a new ISIS will emerge.