Terrorist Armies Fight Smarter and Deadlier than Ever

(Washington Post) Robert H. Scales and Douglas Ollivant - Look carefully at media images of ground fighting across the Middle East, and you will notice that the bad guys are fighting differently than they have in the past. U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq used to say: "Thank God they can't shoot." Well, now they can. We see Islamist fighters becoming skilled soldiers. In Iraq the Islamic State fighters maneuver in reasonably disciplined formations. They employ mortars and rockets in deadly barrages. They continue to display an eager willingness for death. Hizbullah now is among the most skilled light infantry on the planet. In the case of Hamas in Gaza, they have been fighting in well-organized teams. Units stand and fight from hideouts and tunnel entrances. They wait for the Israelis to pass by before ambushing them from the rear. They are getting good with second-generation weapons such as the Russian RPG-29. Iranian advisers throughout the Middle East are getting better at their craft. As the Israelis have been painfully learning, terrorist groups are turning into armies, pairing their fanatical dedication with newly acquired tactical skills. Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. Douglas A. Ollivant is a fellow at the New America Foundation's Future of War project.

2014-08-03 00:00:00

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