Monday, Dec. 15th 2008

Iran Reduces EFP Attacks in Iraq

Attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq using explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) have reduced substantially according to LtGen Thomas Metz, past commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq and currently the leader of the military’s effort to defend against roadside bombs. According to a Los Angeles Times article, attacks dropped only because of a decision by Iranian backed groups that were employing EFPs:

“In the past three months, they have gone way down,” Metz said. “Someone has made a decision on the Shia side in connection with Iran . . . to bring them down.”

Armor-piercing bombs now being found are less-sophisticated versions built in Iraq, not smuggled in from Iran, he said.

The devices never accounted for more than about 5% of all roadside bombs but have caused about 35% of the casualties, Metz said.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh was also quoted in the LA Times article stating that Iran had taken a more “positive stance” in recent months.

Analysis: EFPs are devastatingly effective even against the improved armor on Humvees and against other armored vehicles. A Royal Air Force C-130 was so disabled by an EFP attack in Maysan that it had to be destroyed in place. Why Iran has elected to reduce EFP attacks in Iraq is debatable. Perhaps Iran does not want to upset the planned U.S. withdrawal from Iraq that will leave an Iraqi government amenable to Iran’s bidding. Such a result has been Iran’s goal since the 2003 invasion. Regardless, the EFP remains a formidable weapon that Iran will continue to deploy in irregular wars fought by its proxies.

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