Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Will IEDs Come To the West?

One of the first western journalists to interview Osama Bin Laden thinks IEDs will be deployed and used in Western cities regardless of whether the U.S. stays or withdraws from the war. There is no obvious physical or logistical reason why this can't can't true. Although it doesn't have the apocalyptic mystique of a nuclear weapons attack scenario, the use of IEDs in the West causing hundreds of casualties raise the same strategic questions. If the attacks are unattributed against whom shall we retaliate? If the attacks are attributed, shall we go after them? If we choose to appease or surrender to them, to whom shall the check be mailed?

It will be argued that any IED attacks on the West will be "blowback" for having invaded Iran or Afghanistan, or that the IED technology was proliferated as a consequence of the war. But this is a faulty line of reasoning because you can extend this argument to preclude any response on the grounds that terrorists might "learn" from any action taken against them and therefore it is best not to act against them at all.


Blogger buck smith said...

Yeah the blowback arguments devolves to a strategy that is best expressed "Let's be nice to the jihadis, then maybe they will kill us last." You know, it just might work...

5/16/2007 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if we are lucky, the jihadis will blow up a few schools or an NDP convention or maybe a few buses of MSM journalists, or best of all a convention of socialist civil rights activists.

Then the "popular" support will vanish in C4 vapour cloud and we will start to fight a war, not a police action.

Blowback could be a real bitch then.

5/16/2007 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

Britain decalring war on Germany in 1939 led to the Blitz. Was it a bad decision?

5/16/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

In order for an IED strategy to work, it needs to be in areas where the population is either symapthetic to the bombers, or cowed into silence by them. There are places in Europe where it would work, but not yet in the US.

5/16/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

If it happened in the U.S., it would likely result in blowback against Muslims living in America.

5/16/2007 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Isn't one of the frustrations about dealing with IED's that they take quite a lot of time and effort to plant, while the surrounding populace all suddenly develop temporary bouts of being deaf, dumb and blind to the activity involved in putting them in place?

Do we really think that Americans, Yurps, or Aussies will develop such debilitating bouts of temporary amnesia that they won't notice IED's be planted? And report them to get them unplanted?

And if IED's *are* successfully enabled, won't they be in neighborhoods where not noticing things and not reporting them to the police is the preferred custom; i.e., Dearborn, Watts or Berkeley.

5/16/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

If that happens in the USA (which I find unlikely) then Islam will be shown the door by the people who like it here.

Couple of things.

1. We don't have warehouses full of munitions like tank mines, 155mm artillery shells and RPGs sitting unguarded.

2. We don't have 500,000 angry young men fresh out of work with a common enemy.

3. There are over 250 million firearms and billions of rounds of ammunition in the hands of up to 80 million Americans.

4. much as I don't care for them, the feds are really good at finding cells of people that have interests and plans in bomb-making. Remember in the 80s and 90s there wasn't a white-powr militia that wasn't compromised by undercover feds. I am sure we have the active jihadis in a similar situation.

If the jihadi are stupid enough to try that here, I almost welcome it. Then we can finally get on with the business of fighting Islam with the whole arsenal.

5/16/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

There are numerous terrorist attack methodologies that could be used in the West:

- sniper shootings like the DC snipers (who were jihadis)
- bombings of all kinds
- real assaults of sensitive sites. Why can't a group of thirty or so paramilitary jihadis attack a nuclear power plant or chemical plant or oil refinery in the West and blow it up?
- dirty bomb attack
- chemical weapon attacks
- car bombs (VIED)

What makes IEDs special? Even in Europe, which would seem to be more hospitible to jihadis than the US, there really have been very few attacks since 9/11. Why? What has changed now to make us think that all of a sudden we're going to be getting IED attacks?

AQ seems to favor the big attack, not a simple IED. Unless they were prepared to mount a large campaign of IEDs what would be the point?

5/16/2007 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

There is a serious lack of logic going on here. It is quite possible to actually say that the proliferation of IED’s is caused by the Iraq war and that the Iraq War was worth fighting. There is no doubt that the Soviets obtaining nuclear weapons shortly after WW2 was a result of our involvement in that war. That is not the same thing as saying that therefore we should not have fought the war; it was an unfortunate side effect that was more than compensated for by other positive factors that flowed from the Allies victory in WW2.

With that said I seriously doubt that we will being seeing IED’s developed in Iraq in the West anytime soon for the simple reason that most IED’s are design to penetrate highly armoured military vehicles and that is where most of the technologic advancement has been made in Iraq. And this advance has primarily been led by Iran.

Here is how The War Nerd ( describes it:

What really amazes me is how patient Iran has been about it, how quiet and careful. They've covered their tracks carefully and kept their intervention to R&D level: just enough to keep Iraq burning, and patiently test out news IEDs.

But that's the Persian way: behind all the yelling, they're sly, clever people. If Iranian intelligence really wanted to flood Iraq with weaponry that would turn our APCs into well-insulated BBQs, they could have done it long ago. It's clear they're not doing that. They're smart enough to follow Napoleon's advice not to interfere with an enemy in the process of destroying himself - and stockpiling the new IED designs on their side of the border in case we're stupid enough to invade.

The situation in Iraq right now is optimum for Iran. Iraq is like a nuclear reactor that they can control by inserting and removing control rods. If Shia/Sunni violence looks like cooling off, Tehran's agents, who've penetrated both sides of the fight, play the hothead in their assigned Sunni or Shia gangs and lobby for a spectacular attack on enemy civvies or shrines - whatever gets the locals' blood up. Then, if things get too hot, which would mean the U.S. getting fed up and leaving, they drop a control rod into the reactor core by telling Sadr to call off his militia or letting the Maliki regime stage some ceremony for the TV crews, the kind that keeps the Bushies back in Ohio convinced it's all going to come out fine.

Attacks on the West would be in the form of person-borne devices (whether suicide or not) or car bombs (which are VBIED’s) and the designs of these two forms of explosives have not necessarily advanced as a result of OIF.
IED’s are nothing new; it’s only popular amnesia that links them exclusively to Iraq. They have existed since at least the Soviet partisan and French resistance attacks against the retreating Nazi armies in WW2. They were effectively used in Northern Ireland by the IRA, in Lebanon by Hezbollah, and in Gaza by Hamas. There is no question that their military effectiveness has improved during OIF, but that would be way down on the list of reasons of why invading iraq was the worst strategic disaster in US history. Israeli military vehicles will most likely bear the brunt of the pain caused by the Iranian advancements in IED design as Tehran passes this technology on to their clients Hezbollah and Hamas.

5/17/2007 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/17/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

5/17/2007 08:11:00 AM  

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