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Weapons: Iranian EFPs Disappear
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August 8, 2008: Iran has been shipping far fewer Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) into Iraq this year compared to last, and there are fewer Iraqis willing to use them. This time last year, about a hundred a month were being used to attack U.S. troops. That's down over 80 percent this Summer. The EFPs are much more dangerous than the usual explosive roadside bomb, causing about five times as many casualties per attack. Roadside bomb use in Iraq is down about 60 percent from last year, but that's still over 400 a week. Most of them are found before they can explode, but that's still a lot of people planting bombs. Most of the victims these days are Iraqi troops and police.


The EFP, more commonly known as "shaped charges," have been around since World War II, when they were famously used in the U.S. bazooka and German Panzerfaust (the model for the later RPG) portable anti-tank weapons. The EEP is an improved design over the basic shaped charge developed during World War II. Although most of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used in attacks against government and Coalition forces in Iraq have used conventional explosives (demolition charges, artillery shells, mines, etc.), a very small number have been fabricated using EFPs.


Although shaped charges are used in RPGs and similar missile weapons, they are not well suited for use in IEDs. This is fortunate, as they are much more dangerous. A third of American combat deaths in the Summer of 2007 were caused by EFPs, and most of them are used by pro-Iranian Shia militias in Baghdad.


The problem with using EFPs as IEDs is that they have to be aimed. Most IEDs are designed to be detonated by trip-wire or similar mechanism or by remote command. Even a remotely detonated IED can cause serious damage, since it's the explosion is going to affect an area of some size. In contrast, an EEP has to hit something pretty much directly in order to have an effect. There is also a range problem, as EEP explosives have a very short effective ranget. Moreover, since EFPs are intended for use against armor, they have limited effectiveness against softer targets.


Iran was smuggling many more EEPs into Iraq last year, and pro-Iranian terrorists used them in Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad. But those areas are now under government control, and many of the Shia militia leaders have fled to Iran.


The EFP is most easily used in urban areas, where U.S. vehicles can be easily stopped, and where there is much less possibility of nearby civilians being injured. Now most of the EFPs are being captured as they are smuggled into Iraq. Examination of those, and the ones used in attacks, confirms that they come from the same source: a factory in Iran.


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sjdoc    What's the future potential...?   8/8/2008 6:16:32 AM
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...for the Iraqi government to suffer a recurrence of Iran-backed domestic terror attacks?
 
The article states that "...many of the Shia militia leaders have fled to Iran" but makes no comment on the steps being taken to prevent these violent tools of the Tehran mullahcracy from returning, or from remotely accessing and utilizing the human and material resources they'd left behind.  The Quds Force people wouldn't have so much as given their Arabic co-religionist dupes house room in Iran if they didn't have plans to exploit their knowledge and their contacts back in Iraq.
 
It doesn't appear appropriate to treat the Shia "militia" threat as a solved problem just yet.  If ever.
 
Any informed input on this subject?
 
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jak267       8/9/2008 8:08:55 AM
And we just sat there and let them kill American soldiers.
 
Fire a cruise missile at Tehran for every EFP and they'll stop sending them.

 
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00_Chem_AJB    Please think before you type   8/9/2008 12:59:04 PM
Last time I checked fireing heavy weapons at a nations capital, even if it is a relgious dictatorship, is akin to an act of war, a war which Iran will lose but in the mean time it makes every one's life alot harder.
 
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   Iran is Already at War Against the US   8/11/2008 12:39:28 PM

Last time I checked fireing heavy weapons at a nations capital, even if it is a relgious dictatorship, is akin to an act of war, a war which Iran will lose but in the mean time it makes every one's life alot harder.


On, and what Iran has done is not?  So Iran can train, equip, and advise those who kill Americans (not to mention undermining the Iraqi government) and that's not an act of war...  Isn't that special.
 
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RealCelebrim       8/15/2008 2:43:25 PM



Last time I checked fireing heavy weapons at a nations capital, even if it is a relgious dictatorship, is akin to an act of war, a war which Iran will lose but in the mean time it makes every one's life alot harder.


On, and what Iran has done is not?  So Iran can train, equip, and advise those who kill Americans (not to mention undermining the Iraqi government) and that's not an act of war...  Isn't that special.

The US and Iran are already at war by any reasonable definition of the word.  But we are currently fighting a 'war of assassins' designed to minimize the number of civilians that get caught up in the war.  The US is choosing to fight the war at the level of 'war of assassins' because we are already involved in counter-insurgency operations on two fronts, a couple of long term peace keeping missions, and smaller wars of assassins on several other fronts (Somalia, Columbia, Philipines, etc).  Plus we have to keep in position to check Russian and Chinese imperial aggression.  Ivan is looking very restless right now, and it wouldn't do to forget Taiwan.  Iran is choosing to fight the war on this level, because they know that even with all of our other commitments they would still lose the war so long as a hawkish administration is in power.
 
So right now the US is killing Iranians, and training, equiping and advising those that kill Iranians, and the Iranians are killing Americans and training, equiping and advising those that kill Americans and everyone knows that it is a war and knows equally that neither side can admit that it is a war.  These sort of things eventually break out into hot wars when one side or the other percieves it has sufficient advantage.
 
In the mean time, the US has alot of potential responces other than going directly to an open war.  For example, Iran is not without internal dissident factions as well.  The US can respond to Iranian backed terrorism by arming and training ethnic dissident factions within Iran.  With our current relationships with the Iraqi Kurds and Shia Arabs, it should be a relatively easy thing to penetrate Iran's relatively porous border with Iraq in the other direction and there are at least as many Kurds and Arabs in Iraq that would like payback on Iran or to 'liberate' Iranian territory as Iranians that are dying to kill Americans.  Likewise, we have the superpower leverage to manipulate Iranian currency (agitating dissidents in Iran further), organize economic boycotts of Iran, and so forth.  Plus, every time we kill someone from Qods force in Iraq, we are building up a case to embarass and isolate Iran and eventually justify open war against them.  And, it's not like the war in Iraq is one sided.  Iranian special forces are dying too.
 
As for the article, it always annoys me that EFP's are referred to as IED's.  They are most certainly not IED's.  They are precision machined and manufactured munitions produced in something like a factory setting.  You don't just throw together one in the field out of what you have.  The correct terminology from a EFP is 'Command Detonated Mine' (CDM). 

Current Iranian strategy appears to be to lie low and see if the next administration is either more likely to deal or more likely to break or blink when challenged.  Another Jimmy Carter would be extremely helpful to the Iranian cause.
 
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Rasputin       8/29/2008 12:09:09 AM
Why bother to hurt innocent civilians with cruise missiles.
 
Send in covert support to arabic anti persian groups in Iran. Provide them with the same if not better EFPs, why even give them killer UAVs for that matter.
 
Better still kill the ayatollah and the shorty little midget muppet of a president of shorties. It would be hard to tell if the people of Iran would really be free, but there are those like the educated young students who are fighting for democracy, versus the ayatollah (who is living in a everybody is bad but me world, and I am right and holy ass man) countered with the dreams of a shorty who thinks he is some emperor dairius who is vertically challenged, with grandious plans that can't even get him into Iraq.
 
These are 2 priority targets for the spec forces to seek out.
 
 
 

 
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