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Old 11-03-2005   #1
SWJED
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Default Roadside Bombs & IEDs (catch all)

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Thread closed as there is new, main thread 'IEDs: the home-made bombs that changed modern war': http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16303

3 Nov. LAT - Pentagon Sets Its Sights on Roadside Bombs. Excerpt follows:

"With Iraqi insurgents building ever-more powerful homemade bombs, the Pentagon is finalizing plans to put a high-level general in charge of a new task force that will try to harness the expertise of the CIA, FBI, businesses and academics to combat the guerrillas' most lethal weapon."

"The Pentagon has devoted two years to finding ways to combat the makeshift bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Yet in the view of some senior generals, the IED problem remains a low priority in Washington. The field commanders are saying: This country can put a man on the moon. Why can't it solve this problem?' said one senior Defense official, who requested anonymity."

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Old 11-06-2005   #2
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I wonder how much is US military looking in past experiences with such devices. Israel in Lebanon most notably. Why invent hot water when you can use past lesson learned.
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Old 11-07-2005   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aktarian
I wonder how much is US military looking in past experiences with such devices. Israel in Lebanon most notably. Why invent hot water when you can use past lesson learned.
There are a lot of potential COIN observations of value to gleaned from the IDF experience in South Lebanon. There is always much to be learned from another's failure.

One excellent paper on the intel side of the topic is A Reach Greater than the Grasp: Israeli Intelligence and the Conflict in South Lebanon 1990-2000, published in the Autumn 2001 issue of Intelligence and National Security.
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Old 11-10-2005   #4
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Default Bombs in Iraq Getting More Sophisticated

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Thread closed as there is new, main thread 'IEDs: the home-made bombs that changed modern war': http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16303

Associated Press: Bombs in Iraq Getting More Sophisticated. Excerpt follows:

"U.S. and British troops are being killed in Iraq by increasingly sophisticated insurgent bombs, including a new type triggered when a vehicle crosses an infrared beam and is blasted by armor-piercing projectiles."

"The technology, which emerged during guerrilla wars in Lebanon and Northern Ireland, has been used in recent roadside bombings that have killed dozens of Americans and at least eight British soldiers."

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Old 11-10-2005   #5
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We've seen a spate of articles this year about the "newness" and "sophistication" of certain classes of IEDs in Iraq, along with the continual frustrated opining about external sources of expertise in their construction.

Too many people who should really know better seem to have forgotten that Saddam's Mukhabarat and others in the former regime had plenty of training and experience with explosives and IEDs. This ain't something new, and they don't need external assistance or imported trainers to execute.

Back in the early '90s working up in Northern Iraq, I regularly saw examples of simple to sophisticated IEDs built into radios, hairdryers, cigarette cartons, etc. ad nauseum, and infiltrated into the Kurdish region by the Mukhabarat in a targeted destabilization effort. My first personal experience with a VBIED was a non-suicide device that initiated in the money-changers market in Zakho, Iraq in Feb 95. Over 100 killed and a similar number wounded. Of course, those incidents weren't happening on the scale of what is occurring now, but it gives a clear historical perspective on their use by the bad guys. The IED didn't suddenly appear as a weapon in Iraq after our invasion - Saddam's intel and security services had used and studied the potential of improvised explosive devices for a long time.

As regards the articles that have been appearing in the press for the past several months regarding the "newness" of IEDs capable of taking out armor - it just ain't true. Neither are IR triggers a "new" innovation. There was an increased use of improvised launchers for HEAT rounds, as well as crude platter and shaped charges specifically targeting armored vehicles well over a year ago. The threat continues to evolve naturally, as evidenced by new methods - and swapping back to older methods - of targeting and initiation in response to our countermeasures. It's a deadly learning curve for both sides. They may be getting better at their targeting, but they've had the basic elements of building IEDs capable of penetrating armor for quite a while.
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Old 11-10-2005   #6
Tom Odom
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Smile IEDs and Jedburg's comments

Agree that IEDs are not new. I lost one friend and had another severley wounded in southern Lebanon in early 1988. Car bombs, roadside bombs, remote fired RPGs etc were all in the tool kit for the factional fighting there.

What I particularly like about your comments above was the point that old TTPs remain in the tool kit. New TTPs do not mean emptying the toolkit. But that is a hard lesson that many have to learn the hard way.

Reference your screen name, a close friend of mine Dr. SJ Lewis, and I were roomies for a couple of years in the mid-80s. Sam was working on a special study on the Jedburgs and a number of them (I should say a handful given their life expectancy as Jedburgs and their ages by the mid-80s) came by for interviews and chat. Let's just say they had large cojones.

Sam's study is at http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resour...ewis/Lewis.asp if you have not seen it.

Best,
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Old 11-11-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Odom
What I particularly like about your comments above was the point that old TTPs remain in the tool kit. New TTPs do not mean emptying the toolkit. But that is a hard lesson that many have to learn the hard way.
Yup. Yet again, it is something that too many who should know better fail to comprehend until it hits them in the face. Effective trend analysis requires that you maintain the full picture of the historical pattern - it is dangerous to discard anything in the mistaken belief that a "trend" is a linear development. As I stated earlier, threat TTPs evolve in the pressures of the the combat environment to meet our countermeasures. But it ain't a linear process - there are a variety of feedback loops involved.

Keeping to open sources, there was an article last month (in USA Today, of all places) that spoke to this topic. Titled Pressure-triggered bombs worry U.S. forces, it discussed the bad guys' return to pressure initiated systems when our countermeasures began to significantly impact their use of wireless initiation systems.

The quote by the MI officer at the end of the article says it all: There's a tendency to think of the insurgency as a bunch of guys running around the desert with Kalashnikovs. These are a group of dedicated professionals trying to improve their craft.
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Old 11-29-2005   #8
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Published on-line by the Congressional Research Service:

IEDs in Iraq: Effects & Countermeasures
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Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for many of the more than 2,000 deaths and numerous casualties suffered by U.S. and coalition forces since the invasion of Iraq.1 The bombs have been hidden behind signs and guardrails, under roadside debris, or inside animal carcasses, and encounters with IEDs are becoming more numerous and deadly. The threat has expanded to include vehicle-borne IEDs, where insurgents drive cars laden with explosives directly into a targeted group of service members. DOD efforts to counter IEDs have proven only marginally effective, and U.S. forces continue to be exposed to the threat at military checkpoints, or whenever riding in vehicles in Iraq. DOD reportedly expects that mines and IEDs will continue to be weapons of choice for insurgents for the near term in Iraq, and is also concerned that they might eventually become more widely used by other insurgents and terrorists worldwide. This report will be updated as events warrant.
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Old 11-29-2005   #9
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Default Different Groups, different levels of sophistication

We all agree that IEDs are an old method of waging guerrilla warfare.

If we reflect back to recent history, we'll also all agree that the Iraqi intelligence/military service had excellent IED making skills and other paramilitary skills, as demonstrated in numerous successful attacks overseas against selected expats and other targets. We also know the Lebanonese Hizbullah have long been masters in developing sophisticated IEDs, probably in large part due to training and assistance received by the Iranians and Syrians, who probably received their initial training from the USSR back in the day. It is probably a fair assessment to assume at least some of the foreign fighters coming into Iraq from Syria hail from Lebanon. None the less I wouldn't write off the possiblity, or even probability, that some states are also providing IED and other support to select insurgent groups. If we end up proving this, then we have a situation that we need to fix with appropriate response.

In the mid to long run the greatest danger is that their IED techniques, tactics, and procedures will migrate between the various terrorist/insurgent groups, and will eventually be exported elsewhere to support Jihad in say Indonesia or Nigeria. Anyone notice the rapid rise of IED attacks in Afghanistan lately?

I think the bottom line is we need to need to find, fix, and finish the IED facilitators wherever they are, and sooner rather than later. Everyday they survive, they improve their craft.
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Old 11-29-2005   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
We also know the Lebanonese Hizbullah have long been masters in developing sophisticated IEDs, probably in large part due to training and assistance received by the Iranians and Syrians, who probably received their initial training from the USSR back in the day.
Hezbollah actually received quite a bit of their initial assistance regarding construction and use of roadside bombs from the ANC. A bit of a come-about, as Israel had very close mil-to-mil relations with Apartheid South Africa. Iran definitely provided most of the materials required, shipped through Syria. But Hezbollah provided plenty of local innovation in construction and targeting and was also the first to systematically video IED attacks for use in media propaganda.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
In the mid to long run the greatest danger is that their IED techniques, tactics, and procedures will migrate between the various terrorist/insurgent groups, and will eventually be exported elsewhere to support Jihad in say Indonesia or Nigeria. Anyone notice the rapid rise of IED attacks in Afghanistan lately?
"Threat migration" of TTPs between Iraq and Afghanistan has been going on for a while - but its definitely increased in scale recently. The threat potential of such migration beyond the AOR to targets in the West - let alone places like Indonesia or Nigeria - is serious.

But keep in mind that threat migration doesn't necessarily mean physical transfer of bad guys to train and advise indig in other countries. The migration of the concept of IEDs as an effective, simple, and cheap method of attack is enough. The Maoists in Nepal, for example, have developed unique IED TTPs all their own, that owe nothing to what we've been seeing in Iraq.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
I think the bottom line is we need to need to find, fix, and finish the IED facilitators wherever they are, and sooner rather than later. Everyday they survive, they improve their craft.
True enough. The intel problem in relation to that is another discussion altogether. But we've also got to accept that IEDs in some form are a threat that we may continue to face in the forseeable future. That is where the defense appropriations come in, as referenced in the CRS report. The counter-IED capability that we are developing in the force is something that will stand us in good stead over the long run.

Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-29-2005 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 11-29-2005   #11
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And we shouldn't ignore simple fact of evolution both in material and use/placement. If something works use it. If something doesn't work (or doesn't work anymore) change it or stop using it.

I see tendency to draw conclusion: "IED are getting more sophisticated therefore they are receiving foreign help. IED are getting more effective therefore they are receiving foreign instructors." But it could be simple evolution. Wire detonated bombs are easy to spot so they change to command-detonated. Certain frequencies are getting jammed so they change it or use different source of command signal. Armored vehicles are hard to destroy so use more explosive. etc

It's not only the US that learns.
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Old 11-29-2005   #12
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The new sophistication is in the system and rapidly evolving tactics used to employ them. One guy gets paid to manufacture, another gets paid to dig the hole, another to lay the wire, and another to detonate the charge, ect... They videotaped almost every attack, post them on jihadist bulletin boards, and critique each video like a high school football coaching staff, discovering patterns in our battle drills. They are very patient and keen observers, learning everything about us.

Last edited by GorTex6; 11-29-2005 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 11-29-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorTex6
The new sophistication is in the system and rapidly evolving tactics used to employ them. One guy gets paid to manufacture, another gets paid to dig the hole, another to lay the wire, and another to detonate the charge, etc...
That's a basic description of a step-by-step cell. That method of organization for support and ops is very common in a wide range of insurgent organizations. Not new at all. That type of cell was used very effectively by HAMAS during the Intifada for the distribution of propaganda and calls for strikes - the Israelis were never able to completely stop the distro, although they rolled up quite a few cells.

We've talked about natural evolution in the use of IEDs - the same thing occurs in operational cell structure. Organizational methods, means of clandestine communications, security cut-outs, etc. are learned the hard way by the bad guys. But in Iraq they had a head start, given the nature of the multi-layered police state that was Saddam's regime. I'm not just talking about the Mukhabarat; many elements within Iraqi society developed such networks for a variety of survival reasons during Saddam's rule. The same thing is true of political opposition and smuggling networks that exist in every repressive regime in the region.
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Old 12-04-2005   #14
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Default A Makeshift Hunt for IEDs in Iraq

5 Dec. Christian Science Monitor - A Makeshift Hunt for IEDs in Iraq.

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... A 110-pound black German Shepard named Bingo works with Piacentini, sniffing suspicious holes in the ground, mounds of garbage, or debris placed a little too strategically.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams - equipped with signal-jamming radar, robots, and spacesuit-like protective gear - specialize in detecting and detonating IEDs. But most days there aren't enough Bingo's or EOD teams to go around. So, Marines on patrol tend to gently poke anything suspicious, and snip the wires of the bombs they discover themselves...
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Old 12-06-2005   #15
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Default New IED TF Head

6 Dec. Reuters - U.S. Expands Effort to Counter Rebel Bombs.

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The Pentagon, striving to blunt the deadliest threat posed by Iraqi insurgents, on Monday named a retired four-star general to head an expanded effort to defend against roadside bombs used to kill and maim U.S. troops.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld picked retired U.S. Army Gen. Montgomery Meigs, former commander of NATO's peacekeeping force in Bosnia, to replace the one-star general now heading a task force on so-called improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, often planted by insurgents on roads to attack U.S. vehicles...
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Old 12-13-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedburgh
Not new at all.
Was the cell driven by money, exploiting unemployment? Was membership/employment solicited on internet message boards(like this one)? Did each group set their differences aside to collude with each other autonomously? This is not new?

Last edited by GorTex6; 12-13-2005 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 12-13-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorTex6
Was the cell driven by money, exploiting unemployment? Was membership/employment solicited on internet message boards(like this one)? Did each group set their differences aside to collude with each other autonomously? This is not new?
My statement was regarding the operational concept of a step-by-step cell, in either an operations or support context. The basic organizational method of breaking down tasks for execution by different elements separated from each other for security purposes is as old as the hills. Simple and straightforward.

The economic aspect is also as old as the hills. It doesn't take much of study to learn how unemployment - fused with socio-political pressures and other economic factors - tends to have a significant effect upon recruiting for radical organizations.

Aspects of recruiting, elements of clandestine communications, degree of collaboration between disparate organizations, etc. are initially worked out according to the degree of experience and training possessed by the leadership - not to mention significantly influenced by the perceived threat to the organization(s) in question. Tactics, techniques and procedures are never static, always evolving, and are shaped by both culture and techology - but "old" methods that have worked well for a wide variety of other organizations throughout the history of clandestine terror and insurgency are to be ignored at one's peril. We have seen clearly the readiness of the bad guys to return to older TTPs if they believe they will be effective in a new context.

What is relatively "new" is the manner in which modern communications technology provides innovative methods for establishing and running such cells. Standing them up in a more dispersed manner than possible using more traditional methods of clandestine communications, and - if done in a truly professional manner - with a greater degree of security. But a cut-out is still a cut-out, a dead-drop is still a dead-drop - whether it is physical or digital, or a combination of the two. It shouldn't confuse a good analyst.

However, that has nothing to do with the basic organizational structure of a step-by-step cell. If any intel analyst has trouble recognizing that structure, or believes it is "new", then shame on him. Recognize the structure, learn how it functions in its current context - which is what you are really referring to - then roll up the cell. Hopefully, their security and discipline is poor enough that we can exploit that cell to attack higher up in the organization. Unfortunately, a step-by-step cell is designed (or is supposed to be...) expressly to defeat that sort of exploitation.
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Old 12-18-2005   #18
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Default Florida Base Set to Open School on IEDs

17 Dec. Associated Press - Florida Base Set to Open School on IEDs.

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With more American soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan from hidden bombs, the military hopes a new advanced explosives school will help troops to detect and disarm the deadly devices.

The military showed off X-ray cameras, chemical sensors and advanced robotics Friday, while the military's top bomb-disposal instructors demonstrated some of the latest techniques in combating deadly improvised explosive devices.

The new Advanced Explosives Device Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Base officially opens next month. Explosives experts from all military branches will attend the specialized training...
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Old 01-17-2006   #19
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Default 'Aerial IEDs' Target U.S. Copters

16 Jan. Defense News reports - 'Aerial IEDs' Target U.S. Copters (not online).

Quote:
Insurgents are attacking U.S. helicopters in Iraq with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that leap into the air and detonate when an aircraft passes nearby, said a U.S. Army aviation general.

Insurgents, who place these aerial IEDs along known flight paths, trigger them when American helicopters come along at the typical altitude of just above the rooftops. The devices shoot 50 feet into the air, and a proximity fuze touches off a warhead that sprays metal fragments, said Brig. Gen. Edward Sinclair, commander of the Army’s Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala.

The bomb-builders may be obtaining radio-guided proximity fuzes from old Iraqi anti-aircraft and artillery shells and mortar rounds.

Sinclair said these aerial IEDs have been used against multiple U.S. helicopters. He declined to say whether such IEDs had damaged any aircraft.

The new weapon is one way insurgents are taking on Army aircraft, which come under fire between 15 and 20 times a month, Sinclair said. Other methods include small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and advanced shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles...
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Old 01-18-2006   #20
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Default London Daily Telegraph

18 Jan. - U.S. Helicopters Face Menace of 'Aerial Bombs'.

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American helicopters in Iraq are facing a new threat from so-called aerial bombs, which are fired into the air from the ground and explode close to passing aircraft.

The new home-made weapons, known to the Americans as "aerial improvised explosive devices" have been used on numerous occasions.

"The enemy is adaptive. They makes changes in the way they fight, they respond to new flying tactics," Brig Edward Sinclair, a US army aviation commander, told Defense News, which first revealed the new threat.

He refused to say whether they had brought aircraft down. The aerial devices are placed along known flight paths and are triggered when insurgents see a low-flying helicopter approaching...
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