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Doubts over ability of Iraqi forces to tackle militants

Iraqi policemen stand guard on a street in the central Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf on June 14, 2014As Iraq’s security forces press a counter-offensive against militants who have captured a swathe of territory, doubt remains over whether or not they can retake major cities. Soldiers and police retreated en masse as militants — including the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — swept into Iraq’s second city of Mosul a week ago, leaving vehicles and even uniforms in their wake. Their departure allowed militants to secure surrounding Nineveh province, before sweeping into neighbouring Kirkuk and Salaheddin provinces, seizing territory there and in Diyala. Iraq’s army has been shaped by the United States’ decision to disband the forces of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein following the 2003 invasion.

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