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The fall of Mosul: 'A failure of a shiny rabble'

Jubilant Iraq army troops cheer in an attempt to raise morale. Credit: ITV News

A week after its capture by the Sunni fanatics of Isis, the fall of Mosul remains the signature event of this crisis so far.

In the aftermath of the Iraqi Army’s collapse in the city that same army is still to secure a clear cut victory over Isis anywhere.

So what has happened to a force which a couple of weeks ago was touted as the best equipped and trained in the Middle East?

ITV News has obtained video footage from a cameraman embedded with Iraqi forces in Mosul for the three days running up to their defeat and flight.

The pictures show soldiers well equipped with American hardware. But they are a shiny rabble who seem unable to marshall their firepower to any great effect.

We also see the senior officers in charge of the defence of Mosul. They are filmed on the apron of Mosul airport greeting more top brass who’ve just flown in to oversee operations.

Senior officer in the dark helmet, Mahdi al Ghoara and his deputy (R) Abdul Rahamn Humzl greet Iraq's head of Joint Operations in Mosul. Credit: ITV News

Seventy-two hours after the pictures were recorded the generals’ uniforms were off and so were they. The Iraqi Prime Minister has just announced that four are being sacked for dereliction of duty.

At least one is to be court-martialled in his absence, his whereabouts unknown.

The images will be particularly crushing for the Americans who have spent $25billion dollars on training, equipping and providing bases for the Iraqi military.

Remember all that talk of US forces being able to “stand down when the Iraqis stand up”?

Well three years after the US pull-out the Iraqi army is in crisis.

Eventually they will have to try to re-take Mosul for if they do not then Iraq – the nation state as we knew it – is finished.

We don’t know when the assault will come. We do know the Iraqi troops entrusted with the task will have to show daring and courage, qualities so clearly absent among the soldiers who lost it.

Watch: Senior International Correspondent John Irvine's full piece at 7.15 on ITV

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