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May 04, 2007

Iraqi EFPS Prove to Be Duds; Iranian EFPs Still Lethal Threat

Several month's ago, Andrew Cockburn attacked President Bush and the United States military in the Los Angeles Times, for the President saying that the EFPs --explosively-formed penetrators--being used successfully against American military forces in Iraq with a great degree of effect came from Iran:

PRESIDENT BUSH HAS now definitively stated that bombs known as explosively formed penetrators EFPs, which have proved especially deadly for U.S. troops in Iraq are made in Iran and exported to Iraq. But in November, U.S. troops raiding a Baghdad machine shop came across a pile of copper disks, 5 inches in diameter, stamped out as part of what was clearly an ongoing order. This ominous discovery, unreported until now, makes it clear that Iraqi insurgents have no need to rely on Iran as the source of EFPs.

The truth is that EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it. Far from a sophisticated assembly operation that might require state supervision, all that is required is one of those disks, some high-powered explosive (which is easy to procure in Iraq) and a container, such as a piece of pipe. I asked a Pentagon analyst specializing in such devices how much each one would cost to make. "Twenty bucks," he answered after a brief calculation. "Thirty at most."

Cockburn's venom and naked partisanship were obvious. What wasn't so obvious is that Cockburn didn't know what he was talking about.

While crude Iraqi machine shops can manufacture crude components, the EFPs they can manufacture are no serious threat to American armor.

Iraqi fighters have been making their own versions of the weapons, but so far none has been effective against U.S. forces, Odierno said. The Iraqi-made projectiles, using brass and copper melted on stoves, have failed to fully penetrate U.S. armor and are more likely to be used against Iraqi forces, whose vehicles often have thinner armored protection than U.S. vehicles, U.S. military officials said.

"We have not seen a homemade one yet that's executed properly," Odierno said, adding that such weapons are not a major concern "as of yet."

In short, Cockburn's assertion that "EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it," betrays his ignorance of the difference between theory and practice. Theoretically, anyone could presumably find plans to build an EFP, but without the right materials, training, and manufacturing equipment, they could not make an EFP with the capability of defeating advanced armor.

It is not as simple to manufacture a competent EFP as Cockburn and others have mislead. Someone should alert the media, but then again, the majority of the media doesn't really care.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 4, 2007 10:33 AM
Comments

I learned how to make EFPs about 30 years ago during a tour with the 5th Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg. I can personally attest to the fact that they are not difficult to make, but very difficult to make properly. My demo sergeant (lots of experience) made one that worked fine. Mine didn't.
For what it is worth.

Posted by: Old_dawg at May 4, 2007 11:25 AM

Isn't it ironic that the "Bush lied" crowd has no use for the truth?

Posted by: DoorHold at May 4, 2007 12:09 PM

Iran is Shia. The insurgents in Iraq are largely Sunni. Why would Iran arm the Iraqi Sunni, who are killing both Americans and Iraqi Shia?

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 4, 2007 01:41 PM

Lex, why dont you ask Iran.

Posted by: Justin at May 4, 2007 02:19 PM

I do think it is ironic how the "Bush lied" nuts seem to lie constantly.

Posted by: Justin at May 4, 2007 02:20 PM

Lex, I'll try to keep long words out of the answer.

Iran wants to get America to withdraw and leave them a free hand. Iran is well aware that the best way to do that is to have a steady stream of violence that Fifth Columnists like yourself, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Murtha, and NBC/ABC/NYT/CNN/WaPo, et al, can use as evidence that America is "losing" because of George Bush. They are also aware that it doesn't have to be American troops, or Iraqi troops, who might be able to defeat them, that get killed; any dead body will do, and civilians are eaasier targets. Finally, they are aware of the classic terrorist maxim: "You have to win every time, we only have to win once." The more hands they have to cause mayhem, the more likely that the once will happen.

As for getting Iraqi Shia killed? The Persian Iranians consider the Iraqi Arabs to be subhumans anyway, and you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Look up the terms "pawn" and "cannon fodder."

Why would the Sunnis work with the Iranians? Hey, Iranian money spends, Iranian explosives blow up real good, and even if they can't take back over, maybe the Iranians will need Kapos.

Posted by: SDN at May 4, 2007 02:22 PM
Iran is Shia. The insurgents in Iraq are largely Sunni. Why would Iran arm the Iraqi Sunni, who are killing both Americans and Iraqi Shia?

What does Shia Iran support Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Salafist Group for Call and Combat, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Kurdistan Workers' Party, and other Sunni terror groups?

Why is Baathist Syria one of the biggest supporters and weapons conduits of Shia Hezbollah?

Why are Baathist Syria and Shia Iran even allies?

Sectarian boundaries do not trump the will to power of rouge states. Iran has no abiding feelings for any of the Sunni terrorist groups it supports, but these groups, like the Sunni insurgents and Shia militias in Iraq, are cost effective ways of asserting Iran's foreign policy.

Iran has long been thought to have been targeting for control the oil fields of southern Iraq, and the best way for them to obtain control is to destabilize the Iraqi government and force a U.s. retreat from Iraq. With a failed state, there are virtually dozens of ways Iran could assert power into southern Iraq, but first, they have to make sure Iraq's democracy fails.

Towards that end, they will continue to supply any group in Iraq that will wage war against the Iraqi government or coalition forces. If they can get Sunni insurgents to fight for them it is a bonus: they can attempt to inflict casualties, without have to take casualties to either themselves, or casualties the Shia militias loyal to Iran that it would need to assert control if Democrats manage to force a retreat.

In the simplest, most Machiavellian terms, if you have two enemies willing to kill each other, why not give them the means to accomplish their goals?

Wars have been fought for thousands of years this very way, for this very reason. It is a textbook definition of a proxy war.

Now, that answers the first part of your question, but doesn't precisely address why they would give weaponry to Sunnis if those weapons could be used against Shia.

First, most of the weaponry Iran can be tied to conclusively has been targeted squarely at Coalition military forces, from HS50 sniper rifles, to EFPs and MANPADs (man-portable SAMS). These weapons are used almost exclusively against American and British forces.

Other, less precise weapons, such as mortars and RPGs, are primarily targeted at government forces. Sure, their government forces are largely Shia, but Iran cannot take over Iraq if Iraq's government holds. They're willing to break a few eggs, especially when it can be blamed directly on Sunnis.

Iran is cynical and smart enough to also know that if their Sunni recipients further a sectarian war, or initiate rounds of sectarian attacks and counterattacks, that also ultimately benefits them.

All of this is a very detailed explanation, but it boils down to this: Iran will fund any terrorist group that it thinks might work for their best interests.

Is that clear enough of an explanation?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 4, 2007 02:25 PM

Justin:

Lex, why dont you ask Iran.

Why don't you try to say something that isn't dumb? Also, investigate the key between 'semicolon' and 'enter' on your keyboard. Maybe you'll learn something.

I do think it is ironic how the "Bush lied" nuts seem to lie constantly.

I said nothing untrue, so in fact you lied. Also Bush has something like 30% approval, so who's the nut?

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 4, 2007 04:31 PM

SDN:
NBC/ABC/NYT/CNN/WaPo, et al, can use as evidence that America is "losing" because of George Bush

You are such a fruitcake. You've believed for four years that everything is swell in Iraq. Victory is always six months away. Then in six months Bush announces yet another new approach and as usual Iraq continues to worsen. You believe that there's plenty of good news to be had, only a cabal of communist atheist jihadi news agencies refuses to let us know what it is.

Yet check out. Does the Times really support jihad as much as you think? Elizabeth Bumiller and Judith Miller were way into the war, at least when it looked promising.

"The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today."
--NYT, May 2003

No, your real beef with the MSM is that it doesn't support your fantasy world well enough. Twenty years hence you will still be mad that we didn't win this war.

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 4, 2007 04:57 PM

CY:

What does Shia Iran support Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Salafist Group for Call and Combat, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Kurdistan Workers' Party, and other Sunni terror groups? Why is Baathist Syria one of the biggest supporters and weapons conduits of Shia Hezbollah?

Simple, because those groups aren't at war with Shia. Christians look to their own sect foremost, but support Christianity in general over other religions. And so it is with Muslims.

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 4, 2007 05:03 PM

Also Bush has something like 30% approval

And congress's approval was what again?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 4, 2007 05:05 PM

PA: what are you trying to prove? Congress has a low approval rating, therefore...?

I suspect you fancy your comments to be clever and effective. They're peculiar and useless.

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 4, 2007 07:07 PM

"I suspect you fancy your comments to be clever and effective. They're peculiar and useless."

Oh, Kettle, thou art Black.

---Pot.

Posted by: SDN at May 4, 2007 09:20 PM

Oh, and Lex, 20 years from now I expect to be a survivor and veteran of "The Long Beach CA Crater War" and "Civil War II". Both of them will have the same root cause, you and your Fifth Column hamstringing the sane, and will unfortunately result in the massacre of 90%+ of the Muslim World and the fortunate 100% elimination of the aforementioned Fifth Column.

Posted by: SDN at May 4, 2007 09:26 PM

SDN: You paint a clear portrait of yourself in few words. You take solace in your guns, and long for the day that you will be important for having them. You don't wish to think about it but you know you are marginal. Urban liberals have more influence and lead fuller lives than what you can reasonably expect. Your guns will never have the slightest effect. You will not enjoy an armed conflict with liberals. You could participate in a war with jihadis, but evidently you prefer to leave that to others.

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 4, 2007 11:47 PM

PA: what are you trying to prove?

That as bad as the executive team is, your favorite legislative team is faring worse?

Its kind of a perspective thing -- but liberals aren't about perspective are they?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 5, 2007 07:36 AM

Guys, I am really getting tired of the personal attacks.

And Lex, you also happen to be wrong about the various Sunni groups supportedby Iran being at war with Shia. Sunni, by definition, view Shia as heretics. They will kill them as they have the chance, they just have other priorities at the moment.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at May 5, 2007 09:26 AM

PA: as bad as the executive team is, your favorite legislative team is faring worse

I hope you are just pretending not to understand this, but one never knows. Bush's signature is the Iraq War. Bush polled at 30% approval as per the Wall Street Journal.

You counter that congress polls even worse. I don't know if that is true. If it is, what have your proved? Our congress is a large body which contains many different points of view. This excerpt from a Pew poll demonstrates one source of discontent the public has regarding congress:

Do you think Democratic leaders in Congress are going too far or not far enough in challenging George W. Bush's policies in Iraq, or are they handling this about right?

Too far 23%
Not far enough 40%
About right 30%
Don't know/Refused 7%

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 5, 2007 12:49 PM

PA:

"Meanwhile, the new Democratic-controlled Congress is getting relatively high marks. And 55 percent actually trust Congressional Dems on U.S. policy in Iraq, far more than the 32 percent who trust their commander in chief."

Since that came out Bush has fallen to 28%, the lowest since Carter in 1979.

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 5, 2007 10:01 PM

CY:
Lex, you also happen to be wrong about the various Sunni groups supportedby Iran being at war with Shia. Sunni, by definition, view Shia as heretics. They will kill them as they have the chance, they just have other priorities at the moment.

It sounds like you're saying that Iraqi Sunni and Shia are not battling each other. That can't be what you mean though. Can you rephrase that?

Posted by: Lex Steele at May 5, 2007 10:05 PM

CY,

Had to do some traveling.

When I refer to Lex and his ilk as Fifth Columnists, I am not name-calling in the sense of spewing random insults. I am saying that their behavior fits the definition of a Fifth Column as formulated in the WWII era: a group of people, supposedly citizens of a country, who act in ways that support the efforts of an external enemy.

Likewise, my referring to R. Stanton Scott and John Murtha as "Benedict Arnolds" has a specific historical context: a member of the military who at one time served with distinction, but who is presently acting against the country's interests either by direct treason or by being what Orwell referred to as "objectively pro-fascist" and crippling the country's efforts to fight its' enemies. This can be for any number of reasons from feeling unappreciated or unrewarded(Arnold's original motivation) to self-promotion to political advantage to simple stupidity. I'm far less concerned with the motive than I am with the results.

Posted by: SDN at May 9, 2007 07:57 PM