Friday, September 05, 2014

Worry About the Right Captured Equipment

Despite all the angst in the press about ISIL capturing our "advanced" military hardware in Iraq back in June, I haven't worried about it much. But terrorists getting civilian airliners is a real problem to worry about.

Don't worry about ISIL capturing our gear in Iraq. We have trouble getting our allies who we sell the stuff to in good enough shape to maintain the equipment. Even if ISIL can operate some of it, much will be out of action the first time a fuse blows and nobody knows where to get one.

Further, if what ISIL captured is big, it's just a JDAM magnet now that we occasionally bomb them. Big battle is where our advantage is greatest, after all.

The only thing of real use to ISIL is personal gear--weapons, ammo, body armor, and other gear for light infantry. Plus they can pull explosives out of large shells to make IEDs. And money, of course, is of use.

Further, the jihadis have had no problem getting that lighter stuff already. Capturing a lot of Iraqi gear simply depressed the black market price, I imagine.

I'd worry if ISIL captured hand-held anti-aircraft missiles. But I've heard nothing about that.

But this is a major worry:

Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.

Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.

Now that's a worry. Having a bunch of potential flying bombs that could slip into the massive civilian airline traffic that crisscrosses the globe every day is a real problem.