Iraqi snipers get a skills set hone- up

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI RI­LEY in Taji, Iraq rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

IT IS be­lieved more than 1200 Iraqi forces were killed in the bat­tle for Mo­sul and more than 6000 wounded.

Among them were Iraqi Ranger Bat­tal­ion sniper Staff Sergeant Ame­hed Mo Head Taer’s friends.

“Three of my friends died but they weren’t from my unit,” he said.

“I feel re­ally sad and sorry about los­ing my friends but it has not bro­ken my abil­ity to still in­vite the en­emy to die.

“Ev­ery­one will leave their fam­i­lies; I will leave my wife and chil­dren, to make my coun­try free from all en­e­mies.”

The type of fight­ing faced by the Iraqis in the re­cap­tur­ing of Mo­sul is of­ten re­ferred to as the dead­li­est ur­ban com­bat since World War II.

It was an in­cred­i­ble feat given most of the foot sol­diers had lim­ited, if any, for­mal train­ing.

“I saw most of the fight­ing in Mo­sul,” Staff Sgt Taer said. “Many snipers of the en­emy were killed in short range by my unit.”

Staff Sgt Taer, 30, said he and his unit’s sol­diers had pre­vi­ously been trained by the Spanish mil­i­tary and they were now rel­ish­ing the chance to work with the Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders.

“I will con­tinue to prac­tise when I leave this course and teach my friends,” he said.

“God will­ing, we will see a good fu­ture for my coun­try.”

A New Zealand in­struc­tor with a pro­tected iden­tity said about 30 stu­dents in­clud­ing Staff Sgt Taer be­gan the sniper course on Sun­day, which will in­clude an in­tro­duc­tion to spot­ting, marks­man­ship and live fir­ing.

He said the course was de­vel­oped beyond a be­gin­ner level to cater to the vary­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of those in the class­room.

“We do a di­ag­nos­tic at the start of the course and find out what com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence they have and then translate that into what they know about the weapons sys­tem,” he said. “They might have a lot of com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence com­pared to Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders but in terms of know­ing how to em­ploy the weapons cor­rectly they are a bit weak, so we try and suit the train­ing to our au­di­ence.”

The in­struc­tor said one of the chal­lenges was the Iraqis’ use of east­ern Euro­pean weapons com­pared to Amer­i­can- based mod­els used by the coali­tion forces.

“They feed us back their com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence in what they saw in Mo­sul and how they re­acted to that and then we can use that in our own tac­tics, tech­niques and pro­ce­dures.

“I think it’s re­ally cool that we train the Iraqis in this line of work where it’s such a pre­ci­sion ef­fect where they can en­able their com­man­der, and it can work across all en­vi­ron­ments sav­ing civil­ian lives.”

The in­struc­tor said mak­ing the train­ing as en­joy­able and re­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble kept the Iraqi sol­diers mo­ti­vated to be­come bet­ter shoot­ers.

“The sniper is a force mul­ti­plier and it’s not just a pre­ci­sion or lethal ef­fect, you can sup­port the com­man­ders with ob­ser­va­tions and keep peo­ple safe,” he said.

“It can pro­tect the troops and the civil­ians so I think it’s a big pay- off course for the Aus­tralians and New Zealand train­ers to con­duct.”

STAFF SGT AME­HED MO HEAD TAER

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