Although this detailed analysis of what’s going on is interesting, it is irrelevant to our real desire, namely to remove all US troops from Iraq immediately. The war-mongering that the US has undertaken must stop. There may be no attack against Iran. And there must be a complete withdrawal from all Middle Eastern nations as soon as possible.
Sunnis – not Shiites – biggest threat to U.S. troops
By Drew Brown
WASHINGTON – Sunni Muslim insurgents remain by far the biggest threat to American troops in Iraq, despite recent U.S. claims that Iran is providing Shiite Muslim militia groups with a new type of roadside bomb, a review of American casualty reports shows.
While U.S. military officials have held briefings to publicize their concerns about the potent bombs known as explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) or penetrators, casualty reports suggest that such weapons in the hands of Shiite militias are responsible for a relatively small number of American deaths.
U.S. officials have said that attacks with such weapons increased 150 percent in the past year. But a review of bombings by location shows that less than 10 percent of attacks that killed at least two American service members in the past 14 months were in areas where Shiite militias are dominant.
Those reports show that fewer than half the bomb attacks on heavily armored U.S. vehicles such as Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles were in areas where Shiite militias dominate.
While it’s difficult to know which armed group planted a bomb, analysts say the casualty numbers show that U.S. officials are exaggerating the importance of EFPs, which military officials say have been used only by Shiites.
“There were relatively few American deaths from explosively formed penetrators until recently, but you can say the same thing about attacks on helicopters or chlorine attacks,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a policy research group in Arlington, Va. “The fact of the matter is that the insurgents, both Sunni and Shiite, are becoming a lot more sophisticated in their tactics. Explosively formed penetrators are only one part of that, and they are not a particularly important part.”
Pentagon officials say the issue is important because the Iranian government appears to be involved.
“I think the issue is not whether or not materials and supplies are coming from Iran – they are – but rather how far up the Iranian leadership is involved,” said Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman.
U.S. military officials accuse Iran of supplying Shiite militants with EFPs, which fire a molten slug of metal that can punch through the thickest American armor, including tanks and other vehicles designed to withstand heavy blasts. The officials say the bombs have killed at least 170 U.S. and allied service members and wounded more than 620 since they were first discovered on the battlefield in mid-2004.
Those officials have declined to provide other information about the bombs’ use, including when and where the explosions that killed Americans took place. They say that such information would tip off the enemy to its successes.
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