Speaking today in a televised address with what remains of the Iraqi Army forces in Samarra, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to punish deserters "to the utmost, with punishments that rise to execution."
A pandemic of desertion seems to be hitting the Iraqi Army as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) advances on their positions, with major cities falling with little opposition as most of the defenders take off their uniforms, drop their weapons and run away.
Maliki tried to paint this as a positive situation, saying "frankly this was our chance to get rid of those cowards and weaklings," and that it will result in an improved army in the long run.
Assuming there is a "long run." The US-trained Iraqi military has folded like a house of cards in every confrontation, and Maliki is forced to rely on an Iranian general to command the defense of the capital city, while Grand Ayatollah Sistani's volunteers are trying to form militias to do the fighting the army isn't.