Saturday, February 24, 2007

SurgeWatch - The Beginning of the End in Iraq

Here is another good article from UKWatch on the so-called 'surge' in Iraq and how it is doomed to fail:

The Bush administration's additional deployment of troops to try and bring Baghdad under United States military control is still in its early days....For Sunni insurgents, though, temporary retreat has been far from the uniform reaction. One astonishing example is a direct assault on 19 February on a heavily protected American military position in the town of Tarmiya, north of Baghdad....In this incident, a coordinated attack involved three suicide-bombers who drove car-bombs straight at the US position, killing three US soldiers and injuring seventeen..

Direct frontal assault! Fuck, that is not normally the way an insurgency goes. Normally the insurgents avoid this type of attack as they are weak in firepower. This is a serious development. its shows the insurgency are developing faster and more intuitively that the forces fighting them. A worrying development if you're a squaddie on the ground implementing Bu$h and Bliar's policies.


The insurgents have developed two new anti-helicopter tactics. The first involves the firing of modern Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, either the SA-14 or SA-16 (see Ann Scott Tyson, 'Copter Attacks in Iraq May Indicate New Battle Strategy' , Washington Post, 21 February 2007). These have a longer range than the previously employed Vietnam-era SAMs, and are also able to overcome some of the defensive systems on US helicopters. One was used to bring down a marine corps CH-46 helicopter on 7 February, killing the seven people onboard.

The second tactic has been used before but is being developed further. It involves careful preparation and coordination in order to direct multiply-sourced, simultaneous ground fire (including from heavy machine-guns) at a particular helicopter. Between 20 January and 21 February, eight US helicopters were shot down ; a Black Hawk and an Apache helicopter have been among the targets, with twenty-people altogether being killed.

Again, this shows an interesting development. During the troubles in Northern Ireland, the IRA were always after a means to take out British Army helicopters as they believed it would tilt the balance in their favour, as they could often control an area of ground, even take out military or RUC bases, the the British could chopper in more forces very quickly. Thus air support became the issue and the main target. The situation is the same in Iraq – the insurgents can control the streets and palm groves, but while the US has eyes-in-the-sky, they will always be able to concentrate firepower and resources quickly. Well that supremacy is now under threat...

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