Weapons: The Grenades Of Iraq


September22, 2008:  As roadside bombs, snipers and large scale ambushes (with machine-guns and RPGs) decline in Iraq, the few terrorists still in play remain desperate to kill Americans. They are now increasingly relying on hand grenades, often unreliable improvised ones. This is a dangerous business, and often gets the user killed. American casualties are few, especially since the grenadiers insist on trying to lob their weapons down the hatches of American vehicles. The terrorists discovered, too late, that this is difficult. Many don't even complete the toss, as alert U.S. troops spot and shoot them.

Most terrorist organizations in Iraq have been destroyed, or much reduced in terms of manpower, money and weapons. They can no longer afford to manufacture, emplace and use roadside bombs. That takes technical skill, a large team, and money (most techies will not work for free, nor will arms merchants supply bomb making materials for free.) Snipers were a problem for a while, but over the last few years, those few men who had learned sniping skills in Saddams army, and had sniper grade rifles and scopes, have been hunted down and killed. American technology has played a role in all this, providing equipment that detects roadside bombs, and snipers. Jammers prevent roadside bombs from going off.

Homemade grenades are more difficult to fabricate than terrorists think. Just having a mortar shell or RPG warhead, and a blasting cap is not enough. Real grenades are hard to come by, as U.S. and Iraqi troops have been finding and destroying a growing number of illegal weapons caches. A year ago, you could get a grenade on the black market for about ten bucks, now it costs two or three times that, if you can find them at all. The arms merchants are being targeted by Iraqi police and shut down. That's a matter of self-defense, as Iraqi security forces are more often a target than U.S. troops.

Many terrorists survive a failed grenade attack, at least the ones smart enough to approach U.S. troops from the safety of a crowd of civilians. They know American troops are told not to fire into a crowd unless they have a specific target and a clear shot. But these grenade tossers are not popular with civilians, because the grenades tend to hurt more Iraqis than Americans. Iraqi police often get enough tips from bystanders to hunt down and arrest the terrorist.




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