Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi lays a wreath at the Unknown Soldiers Monument to mark Iraq's Army Day. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi marked Army Day on Tuesday (January 6) by laying a wreath at the Unknown Soldiers Monument in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. Army Day was inaugurated by former president Saddam Hussein and used to be marked with a show of strength by his armed forces at a parade ground built to commemorate the 1980's war with Iran. But this year's celebrations were reduced to a wreath laying ceremony with the army fighting Islamic State (IS) militants to the west and north of the capital. The Iraqi army, driven by sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, put up little resistance earlier this year when Islamic State fighters mounted a major offensive. The United States spent billions of dollars training and funding Iraqi security forces during the occupation of the country following Saddam Hussein's fall in 2003 but Islamic State's lightning advance created Iraq's worst crisis since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and led to questions about the quality of the training. The Iraqi army rapidly collapsed in the face of the onslaught, leaving behind weapons and tanks that the al Qaeda offshoot has been using in its attempts to expand a self-proclaimed Islamic emirate in Iraq and Syria.