Weapons: Tracking IED Inventories in Iraq


November 6, 2005: The use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices - mostly roadside and car bombs) peaked in October, at something around 3,200, the highest number employed by the insurgents ever. This was higher, by something like 15-20 percent, than any previous month. This massive use of IEDs was intended to disrupt the referendum on the new Iraqi constitution. Didn't work, but caused a spike in American and Iraqi casualties.

In the past,. IED use has peaked during the elections for the Iraqi Transitional Government and the delegated to the constitutional convention. It is believed that there will be a significant drop in the use of IEDs during November, as the terrorists rebuild their IED inventory and prepare for an "offensive" to disrupt the parliamentary elections scheduled for mid-December. However, this time, the IED surge may be much less than in the past. American troops, and Iraqi forces, have been making large inroads on controlling "terrorist territory" (Sunni Arab areas), capturing many IED workshops and quantities of bomb materials. The terrorists do not have unlimited resources. The terrorists, particularly the Saddam and Baath Party supporters, have lots of money. But they need people willing to take the cash to build, plant and set off the bombs. You need safe areas for the workshops, and competent people willing to carry out the attacks. There are fewer safe areas each week, and being in the bomb business gets more dangerous as well. This can be seen by the higher rates paid to people in the IED business, and the lower rate of success for IED attacks. Thus while the number of IED attacks were up in October, the percentage of successful attacks was down, and the casualties among IED users was up. By December, the Iraqi government expects to hammer the IED crews, and their inventories, even more decisively.


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