Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Hand of Allah plucks Iranian Special Groups

Remember the recent post on rocket artillery? It's back in the news. Bill Roggio reports that Special Group targets have been hit by GMLRS in Sadr City.

The US army targeted and destroyed a Special Groups command and control center with Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System in Sadr City at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "There were six GMLRS rocket strikes on these Special Groups criminal command and control nodes," Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Division Baghdad, told The Long War Journal while refuting claims that the US used aircraft to attack. "We conducted a precision strike, hopefully got a few leaders, and sent a very strong message."

The Special Groups have been using the location near the hospital for an extended period of time and US intelligence has followed the activities at this site. "We had been tracking it for some time," Stover said. "Operations made the call to hit it. There may have been damages to the hospital - broken glass. There was likely ambulances damaged; however, it was the Special Groups criminal leadership that purposely put their command and control node there."

The arrival of a GMLRS rocket so suddenly that no one has time to even react has given it a psychological -- even a theological potency -- and militants call it the "the Hand of Allah". A registered trademark of General Dynamics.




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21 Comments:

Blogger Teresita said...

W: "The arrival of a GMLRS rocket so suddenly that no one has time to even react has given it a psychological -- even a theological potency -- and militants call it the "the Hand of Allah".

Then they have a little cognitive dissonance going on, if it is the Great Satan who wields the Hand of Allah. Wars have always been occasions for great leaps in technology. I remember seeing a WW1 photograph of horse calvary and a formation of aircraft, in the same shot. Those jerks may be using Genie garage door openers to detonate IEDs, but the garage door openers are proudly made in America. Someday our ordnance will be so advanced relative to the ones who get to eat it, that it will be utterly indistinguishable from magic.

5/03/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Wretchard---

Can't get the page to load fully. I don't know if anyone else is reporting the problem.

5/03/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

A continually underestimated benefit to the Iraqi front in the Global War For Freedom is the enhancement of tools to fight the good fight. In that respect, I love this aspect of that "Hand of Allah" report:

Of the estimated 273 missions in which GMLRS rockets have been used in theater, about 83 percent were accomplished in urban environments and 69 percent were done with troops in close proximity, Rice said.

Hell yeah, hooo-ahhh, and all that good stuff.

Dymphna: everything is loading perfectly fine for me.

5/03/2008 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The infantry need their explosion when they need it, not when the air force gets around to it. Thus the army prefers to rely on precision weapons they control.

The latest generation of precision guided munitions has put a lot of cannoneers off their guns and on to Entry Control Points and assorted other details, and a lot of close air supporters out of F-16's and into Predator ground control stations.

The world is a less purple place.

5/03/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Steel Wolf said...

We conducted a precision strike, hopefully got a few leaders, and sent a very strong message."

The Special Groups have been using the location near the hospital for an extended period of time and US intelligence has followed the activities at this site. "

The hospital in central Sadr City is a sanctuary wrapped inside a safe haven. For the last few months, Sadr City was no-go land. For a while it was even off limits for TF. Approval from on high was required to action targets in Sadrville, and for time sensitive (or politically sensitive) targets, that was a real showstopper.

The 'very strong message' is as clear as a UAV video feed and loud as a GMLRS impact. Sadr's clout has waned, and his ability to politically defend the hands-off rule for Sadr City has failed.

More will be said on this alleged hospital later. For now, it reminds me of a clumsy pickpocket in church, stealing from the collection plate and the churchgoers. When the police arrive, he'll be dragged out, shouting, "What about the sanctity of the church!? You cops are ruining our Sunday service!"

And some will believe him.

At any rate, JAM SG has had months to dig in and get comfortable playing hit (in Baghdad) and run (back to Sadr City). The Hand of Allah isn't a new insurgent term for air strikes. Nor, for that matter, is it a new term for divine retribution. They're just the words you use near the end of a good run, when the consequences are gaining on you, but you know no other way than to spurn your responsible options and keep running.

I get the sense JAM SG knows a reckoning is coming.

5/03/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The Hand of Allah isn't a new insurgent term for air strikes. Nor, for that matter, is it a new term for divine retribution.

Yes, but isn't it good PsyOps for the Bad Guys to hear the Good Guys referring to it as such, co-opting their trump card of Allah being on Al-Queda's side? And not just the Bad Guys, but all the "innocent civilians" around them, too.

I mean, if you have a society that literally prays for a big hairy brown hand to come down from the clouds and smite the Americans, then if you can switch that superstition around so that the hairy brown hand is PROTECTING the Americans (and smiting the Sadrists and Persians), that's a good thing.

Or at least an amusing thing.

5/03/2008 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Those jerks may be using Genie garage door openers to detonate IEDs, but the garage door openers are proudly made in America. Someday our ordnance will be so advanced relative to the ones who get to eat it, that it will be utterly indistinguishable from magic.

If nothing else, Iraq has shown the limits of golly gee whiz high tech weaponry and the old thinking you don't need a lot of troops if you have a handful of the miracle high tech special ops supersoldiers.

Turns out the supersoldiers, lacking intelligence assets, civil affairs people, translators, and lacking numbers to hold ground were all too frequently dispatched by 16 year old kids setting off IEDs or whacked by snipers with 1 week of effective military training.

There is a limit to the boast "Ha! You can't even make the stuff you are killing our soldiers in droves, with!" A boast we made to the Vietnamese, as well. As long as they can get the stuff and use it fairly effectively, it really doesn't matter if it was made in Volgograd, Wuxsi, Milan, Rock Island, or Cairo.
I can see some officer writing a consolation letter - "Your son was killed by Russian explosives we lacked the boots on the ground to guard, and the IED was set off by a Genie door opener once made in America but now made in China for an American Multinational and sold globally. But those Iraqis are so bad, Ma'm, that it is unlikely that they would have killed your son if they hypothetically had to make their own weapons. You can be proud of out super American technology. Soon, our enemies will be killing us with stuff they buy from hard-working capitalist weapons dealers that they will have a hard time distinguishing it from lethal magic they purchase!"

5 years on, it is not like super new precision weaponry is the ultimate war winner it once was thought to be. Nor the other new toys the military industrial complex invented as part of the trillion bucks we spent as oil prices quadrupled. Sophisticated electronics...state of the art bunkers to shelter in as high school dropouts launch rockets and mortars at the Green Zone.

Iraq may still be won, but it will be by traditional ways - the bribe money pushed over to the corrupt tribal leader to get the intelligence we need to target our half-million buck a warshot ordnance on somebody. The grit of ordinary soldiers who are not Fobbits but on the Front lines, who are still too few and one reads of guys being killed on their 6th or 7th combat tour because so few are willing to join...but though they may be inadequate and will never get rich like the connected people in Iraq or the Bush Corporatists off multimillion-dollar fat Iraq contracts the US taxpayer pays for (eventually when China starts collecting on it's Bush IOUs)...they may still be enough..

5/03/2008 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

There is a certain glee with which I read about the "Hand of Allah" staying the hand of the roadside bombers, while smiting Special Jams in Sadr City. The realization that the Iraqi Army is standing up in ways that to mention the hope of their getting there brought scorn and derisible comments about their and our ability to do or perceive anything correctly brings a satisfied upward curl to the corners of my mouth.

Thinking this is about golly gee wiz weaponry is a fallacy that slithering thinking arrives at. That slithering like thinking which proposes nothing and advances the saving of lives not at all.

5/04/2008 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

So true, wadeusaf, but there is a certain glee -- if you know what I mean -- in reading that slithering-like thinking.

Write on, cedarford!

Write on, write on, write on!

5/04/2008 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

Cedarfrd,

"Iraq may still be won, but it will be by traditional ways"

I am not sure what you mean by this statement, or your point about too few troops on the ground monitoring for IED's.

To the latter point, I can't see any army large enough to monitor roadways 24x7X365.

As far as winning by traditional ways, if you mean traditional ways of fighting by western civilization, as frequently highlighted by military historians such as Victor Davis Hanson, than maybe I agree with your statement, but I think it would then contradict your argument.

Throughout his works, VDH points out that the reason Western civilization has triumphed is our knack for killing.

The rise of the West was not a fluke of geography, but a logical result of Western cultural dynamism as manifested in its ways of making war - individual initiative, superior organization and discipline, access to matchless weapons, and tactical adaption and flexibility.

One reason this war has taken so long is our view that, while this is an important war, it is not a war of survival. We have shown restraint out of humanity for the Iraqi and Afghani civilians.

5/04/2008 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Cedarford: If nothing else, Iraq has shown the limits of golly gee whiz high tech weaponry and the old thinking you don't need a lot of troops if you have a handful of the miracle high tech special ops supersoldiers.

It depends on your mission. If your mission is to patrol the streets and keep suicide bombers from blowing up the people's utilities and schools and police stations, then yes, you need way more troops, and troops to protect those troops. But if your mission is just to put the hurt on the bad guys while letting whatever bad guys are left to blow up schools if they want to, then precision ordnance is just the ticket.

5/04/2008 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/04/2008 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/04/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Iraq was won by training the Iraqi army. Wretchard was onto it two years ago, when defeatists were carping that there were only a couple of Iraqi division able to fight autonomously. Wretchard noted that what was important was how many are able to fight with US troops in support. And that number was increasing by thousands a month. The “golly gee whiz high tech weaponry” is, in fact, very important when combined with the Arabic-speaking local army.

5/04/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

ha -- "write on, write on, slithering-like thinking" -- i agree, it's a gas, even if it IS slightly nertz.

5/04/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"the Bush Corporatists off multimillion-dollar fat Iraq contracts"

Sounds like C-fudd's "brain" has been taken over by the Joooish Bolsheviks, not that that is a particularly tough achievement. But does this mean the Arabs are getting nothing for the technological brilliance that Fudd ascribes to them?

5/04/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger putnam said...

Teresita said:

"But if your mission is just to put the hurt on the bad guys while letting whatever bad guys are left to blow up schools if they want to, then precision ordnance is just the ticket."

Nice shot, Teresita. I guess because you think that you care more about schools than Petreaus, that you could do it better than him. Well have at it.

5/04/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Often there are complaints that we do not have the right weapons, or that we arm to fight the last war.

But recognize that the original MLRS was an unguided "shoot and scoot" system designed to help break the Soviet assault in Europe - to plug the Fulda Gap.

Standard load was 844 bomblets fired from a range of up to 18 miles, under the assumption that there would be massive counter battery fire directed at the launch points. So the crew received digitally transmitted instructions of where to go to launch and the required targeting data was automatically entered into the system at the same time. Once there, the crew pushed 2 buttons, one to indicate they were in position, one to close the blast shields over the cab. Then they got told where to go next.

Now it is being used in a very different way in a very different war.

We just don't fight fair.

5/04/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Putnam: Nice shot, Teresita. I guess because you think that you care more about schools than Petreaus, that you could do it better than him. Well have at it.

Read what I posted again. I didn't say I cared more or less about schools. I said if your mission is to stop Iraqis from destroying their own infrastructure after we rebuild it for them, then you need more troops. You need a squad to guard every school, a platoon to guard every mile of power line, and a company to guard every bridge. But if your mission is just to win wars the old-fashioned way by breaking as much stuff as you can, then you dial back your infantry footprint and start relying more on the Buck Rogers stuff. Or you can be like Petraeus and pay Iraqis not to blow up their own stuff.

5/04/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Steel Wolf, you wouldn't happen to be the Steel Wolf from Free Republic would you?

5/04/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Or you can be like Petraeus and pay Iraqis not to blow up their own stuff

That's right up Howard Dean's alley. Maybe he'll pick it up and make it famous.

5/04/2008 06:46:00 PM  

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