The Technology Of The Insurgency In Iraq


This image provided by the U.S. military on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 shows what officials call "explosively formed penetrators,"or EFPs. U.S. military officials on accused the highest levels of the Iranian leadership of arming Shiite militants in Iraq with the sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs. Anonymous/U.S. MILITARY hide caption

itoggle caption Anonymous/U.S. MILITARY

So, if you're trolling through the Wikileaks reports there is some fascinating stuff. But there is a whole lot of it.

So, you have to find people who have done some of the work for you. One source of interesting tidbits is Wired's Danger Room blog (which you should all read anyway). They've done a ton of reporting on the content of the leaks, but one post I personally found interesting was the technology of the insurgency. Here are two that leaped out at me.

Several insurgent groups maintained an impressive amount of operational secrecy and tactical discipline, often keeping U.S. snoops at bay. A clue as to how came on June 11, 2009, when U.S. and Iraqi troops at a hospital outside of Baghdad uncovered a “historical” cache of communications equipment used by the Mahdi Army, one of the hardest-core Shiite militias. Amplifiers, tuners and radio telegraph adapters were somewhat antiquated but looked factory-fresh.

The report of the find indicated that Mahdi Army leaders had real capabilities for directing their forces from long distances: “This equipment could be used to conduct long range, encrypted communications, indicating a high level [Mahdi Army/splinter force command-and-control] capacity.” All the gear was “designed for ground or vehicle mounting;” the report suspects Iranian forces provided it to the militia “as part of a sophisticated foreign intelligence project.” Ominously, the report concludes that the find “seems to corroborate the thesis that [redacted] is seeding [redacted] with resources to become a future [redacted].”

And this is something I had heard about but never confirmed until now.

Insurgents didn’t necessarily trust the people they rigged to explode. In November 2006, a U.S. military report warned that some explosive-lined vests were equipped with cameras broadcasting imagery back to insurgent cells and a “secondary detonation device” that could be activated remotely. The idea behind the camera, first unearthed by the Guardian, was to ensure that the suicide bomber had satisfied his superiors that he’d reached a position of maximum potential damage before blowing up. And if he lost his nerve, the report warned, “the observer can detonate the device remotely.” Some of these contraptions were constructed out of U.S. military surplus uniforms.

Go read the rest.



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