- Iraqi nationalists in recent days have gone after the
US led coalition aircrafts that can be harmed with Russian made Surface
to Air Missiles (SAM) and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).
- On Jan. 27, a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion
helicopter went down near the Iraqi-Jordanian border, and the next day
a U.S. Army OH-58 observation helicopter crashed in Baghdad. On Jan. 30,
a British Royal Air Force C-130 went down near the town of Taki while on
its way to Balad Air Base from Baghdad International Airport (BIA). Additionally,
in a news story, which U.S. Central Command denies, CNN reported Feb. 7
that a U.S. C-130 was fired at by a man-portable air defense system (MANPADS)
near Taqadum and a C-17 encountered small-arms fire near BIA. The U.S.
C-130 reportedly was not hit, and the C-17 was not damaged significantly.
- The series of this Surface to Air Missile attacks by
the insurgents suggests that they are trained military personnel, perhaps
of the Saddam regime. The SAMs and the MANPADS could be the ones hidden
by Saddam or freshly supplied to the insurgents by the Syrians or others.
But the sophistication needed to use these equipments tell us that this
is not the act of some Judaists who decided to die in Iraq.
- It seems the insurgents are now trying to create panic
in the sky after creating the same on the ground through Rocket Propelled
Grenades (RPGs), Mortars and the suicide bombers.
- The shoulder fired MANPADS are relatively easy to use.
The person engaging the same needs to target and press trigger. The target-seeking
missile is guided by the appropriate technologies automatically.
- What is very surprising is that US and UK have the Directed
Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCMs) and Missile warning systems (MWS). Why
are these not working? Is it possible that the insurgents found some methods
to confuse the countermeasures?
- What is also surprising is that normally any one using
SAM or MANPADS get locked by the sensing mechanisms and get attacked. Are
these nationalist insurgents found a method to avoid that?
- Iraqi government sources say that since November, the
nationalist insurgents have organized SAM training based around a cadre
of former Iraqi Air Defense Force officers, who lead small teams to combat
zones to operate against coalition aircraft. These nationalists have access
to a cache of missiles that reportedly have been hidden since the coalition
invasion in March 2003. Stratfor has learned that such teams are operating
in and around Baghdad, especially near BIA. Teams also reportedly work
in Ar Ramadi, Al Fallujah, Al Qaim, Balad, Baqubah, Mosul, Tal Afar and
the Triangle of Death south of Baghdad.