By Simon Kent.
US General Sean McFarland, remembered by historians of the Iraq war for stabilizing the restive town of Tal Afar, has returned to lead the mission against ISIS in Iraq.
In an interview with the BBC, the general explained how ISIS were a different enemy to their predecessors that the US faced in Iraq, then known as the Islamic State of Iraq. During that phase of the conflict, McFarland explained that terrorists used IEDs, more commonly known as roadside bombs, in individual attacks to damage small units of troops.
The terrorists would then run from the area and plan the next attack. In Iraq, McFarland began to notice that ISIS were not using one or two IEDs at a time but making entire mine fields of dozens of the devices to defend urban areas.
Subsequently, the general realized Iraqi soldiers were being taught the wrong tactics, focusing on methodically searching for and defusing IEDs.
Instead, the US has changed the training and supplied special minefield destroying explosive devices to the Iraqis, clearing the mine fields and allowing Iraqi forces to confront the terrorists in large conventional battles. This is what the US would do in a conventional war against an army, rather than a terror group.
It is the opposite of leading US logic for fighting terrorists, but McFarland notes that in becoming so big, ISIS have created all the disadvantages that come with fighting as a conventional army.
The general noted that the new approach had seen great success in Ramadi.
(Source: BBC News)