Monday, July 13, 2015

IEDs remain insurgents' top gun - USA Today

... The IEDs used by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, have been cobbled together with homemade- and military-grade explosives and munitions seized from Iraqi and Syrian security forces. "They're using everything they can get their hands on," Johnson said. ISIL also has used chlorine as a chemical weapon, he said. ... Some of their adaptations, according to Johnson: • Drones. To date, the drones have been used to direct drivers of car bombs to their targets inside Iraqi-held territory, Johnson said. He noted that the unmanned aircraft "can deliver some sort of payload," meaning the drones could be turned into a new form of IED. "That's a question," he said. • Bigger bombs. Seized military vehicles have been jammed with explosives to produce huge explosions that can penetrate even fortified structures. ISIL's initial assault on Ramadi on May 17 included the use of 30 massive car bombs, prompting Iraqi security forces to flee despite outnumbering the militants. .... • Tunnels. In Syria, ISIL fighters have been burrowing beneath their targets to avoid detection before setting off IEDs. At the height of the U.S. war in Iraq in 2007, IEDs caused 70% of American casualties. The rapid, massive introduction of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, bolstered intelligence gathering on bomb networks and improved security brought about by the counterinsurgency strategy helped reduce deaths and injuries caused by IEDs. ... Beginning Monday, it will have a new name, the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency, or JIDA. -bth: a couple of notes. First changing the name to JIETD Agency vs JIEDDO means that the program is being downsized and reduced in importance to an agency from an organization. To bureaucrats that means the money is going elsewhere. The referenced use of drones as trigger men for IEDS is something novel that I haven't seen before. The number of massive car bombs used to take Ramadi and been variously reported initially at about 11 then to 20 now to 30. I think this number is simply being inflated to gather headlines, just like airstrikes along the Pak border most often kill in round numbers of 20 or 30. This is probably due to some bureaucratic minimum number to justify an air strike I'm guessing.

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