Weapons: IEDs Go Private Sector

December 16, 2008: Roadside bombs continue to be a major menace in some parts of Iraq. Each week, 90 or so of these devices are discovered, about half of them are discovered before they go off. Most are used against Iraqi troops or civilians (usually specific individuals someone is trying to murder). Five or six times a week, U.S. troops get hit by a roadside bomb. American forces are better trained to spot these bombs before they can detonate, or prevent them from going off because of the electronic jammers most U.S. convoys carry.

Since the Summer, Iranian made EFPs (a high tech, armor piercing roadside bomb) have been encountered far less. The 70 percent decline in EFP use is partly because U.S. and Iraqi forces have captured many of the Shia terrorists who use them, along with large stockpiles of EFPs. But captured Shia radicals also indicate that Iran has cut back on their support for Iraqi terrorists. Part of this is due to Iraqi diplomacy, and months of pressure on the Iranian government to cut off support for pro-Iranian Shia groups in Iraq. Another reason is Iranian internal politics, which is backing away from the support of terrorism, at least in Iraq. Right now Iran sees better opportunities in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Gaza (Hamas). Iran still provides advice, cash and diplomatic support to pro-Iranian political parties in Iraq, and still wants to turn the country into a religious dictatorship. But the Iranians have noted that most Iraqis are, at the moment, opposed to this idea. So the Iranians will wait for a more propitious time.

While Shia terrorists have calmed down somewhat, because of the decline in Iranian support, there are still several Sunni terrorist gangs operating. Some appear to be more criminal than religious. Many of the roadside bomb attacks are directed at the Iraqi police, in what appears to be an attempt to get the cops to back off interfering with gang activities. The guys making the bombs for the gangs, used to do it for the Islamic terrorists. The roadside bombs were always something of a mercenary business, with most of the work being done for pay. It became too dangerous to go after the Americans, but the Iraqi police are another matter, especially if you are working for a bunch of gangsters who are simply trying to make a buck (and not take over the country.) But to the foreign media, all the bombings are still largely defined as "insurgents" or "terrorists." As a matter of fact, most bombings, worldwide, are carried out by common criminals, usually as part of an extortion scam, or a gang war.

 

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