Islamic State shows off ‘spoils of war’ from recent battles near Fallujah

The Islamic State released footage showcasing recent fighting in the town of Karmah which sits just east of Fallujah. The video, which is over ten minutes long, is produced by the jihadist group’s Wilayat al Fallujah, its administrative division for the area.

The video features heavy gunfights between Iraqi Security Forces and jihadists. Several technicals are shown to have been used, as well as several rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s) and SPG-9’s. One scene features an Islamic State sniper firing on Iraqi military positions near the town. The video also shows the deployment of a suicide bomber identified with the moniker “Turkistani,” which usually denotes individuals of ethnic Uighur origin.

A large portion of the video is reserved for highlighting of the “spoils” gained in the fighting. Numerous Humvees, cargo trucks, fuel tankers, and US-made MRAPS are shown to have been captured by the Islamic State.

As the Islamic State was preparing to take control of the provincial capital of Ramadi, the group also launched a counteroffensive on the town of Karmah and surrounding areas. The Islamic State has claimed to have captured the Al Rufah district of Karmah and the cement factory just east of Fallujah, and released visual evidence backing it’s assertions. In a statement released by the Islamic State on May 13 and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the jihadist group said that its forces “carried out a wide scale assault yesterday on the region of Al Rufah in northwest Al Karmah near Al Fallujah.”

The statement continued by saying the group was able to take “control of most of the region, and captured a tank, several vehicles, and heavy weapons as ghanimah (spoils).” A day earlier, the Islamic State said that a suicide bomber, identified as Saad Muhammad al Turkistani, seen in the video, detonated in the Al Subaihat district. According to some sources, the attack came from multiple directions and Iraqi forces has had difficulties in turning back the fighting in the area as it continued.

Clashes between the Islamic State and Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias have continued in the Karmah region. According to Anbar Daily, the Islamic State used eight car bombs on Saturday as it attacked the “HQ of 2nd Regiment of the 1stDivision.”

Screenshots from the video:

Fighters moving into position:

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Photos from the fighting:

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Suicide bomber Saad Muhammad al Turkistani:

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Islamic State parading dead ISF personnel through the streets of Fallujah:

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Captured equipment:

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Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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20 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    well now that the US has seen fit to pass along a few thousand anti-tank weapons how long before ISIS/ISIL has those weapons in their inventory?

  • Alex says:

    Bill (and others), I am curious as to your thoughts on this article, which argues that for a variety of reasons, Middle Eastern forces often do well in unconventional engagements but perform poorly when trying to run a conventional army: http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD_Issues/amdipl_17/articles/deatkine_arabs1.html

    I am not as familiar on the subject so curious as to your thoughts.

    • GenPatton43 says:

      Without even reading the article, I can say that a big reason why they’ve performed so poorly had to do with the fact that most of them used inferior Soviet era equipment and had their military’s trained and their military doctrine based by the Soviets and Eastern block nations. T-55’s & T-62’s were good tanks in their day, but the overall demand that Soviet military doctrine was based off of was too centralized and too regulated without lower tier commanders having the ability or authorization to use their own judgement during the course of a campaign. They couldn’t make the tactical decisions needed that would influence the outcomes of battles. They had to rely on their higher echelon commanders who most of the time talked a good talk but couldn’t back it up.
      2 perfect examples. Egypts Sinai Campaign in 1973 succeeded initially because they did not set lofty goals. As long as they kept their armies under their SAM umbrella, they could negate whatever Israel threw at them. However, when they had to adapt to a new plan because of the need to bail out the Syrians on the Golan Heights, they were decimated.
      The other example is the performance of the mostly Western trained and equipped Iranian forces that faced Iraq. Despite having been purged by the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian Military far outperformed the Iraqi’s after absorbing their initial blows during the 1980 invasion. Iraq’s only real successes during that war came either in the opening months or the closing months of the conflict. In between, the Iranians ruled the battlefields despite having a lack of spare parts and ammo.
      Having said all of that, I will say, that is a fascinating article. Thanks for sharing.

      • Oberron says:

        @GenPatton43

        You know little about how the USSR fought.

        The Arab Armies used export grade equipment from the USSR with downgraded armor, optics, and avionics. The Arab Armies were trained and indoctrinated in WW1 British Model, with the exception of the Syrian Army which inherited the French WW1 model.

        Thus the Arab Stats fought with outmoded WW1 Doctrines.

        The USSR’s doctrine as laid out in FM 100-2-1 was Shock, Speed, Aggressiveness. I suggest you read it and FM 100-2-2 and FM 100-2-3.

        In terms of Soviet Equipment, T-64 and up models outranged NATO Tanks with Gun Missiles which would have easily penetrated through NATO Armors at four times the range NATO tanks could return fire at. Shtora active defense system would have rendered NATO’s Tanks unable to fight at long range and reduced to optical engagement distances and rendered use of Hellfire missiles ineffective. Drozd was another system tested successfully in Afghanistan and pre-cursor to Arena.

        At the operational level, Soviet Gear could easily cross rivers which NATO equipment couldn’t do and use roads and bridges NATO AFVs could not. So in operations NATO forces forward deployed would have been trapped against their own defense lines and wiped out.

        In the Air Soviet Birds had BVR and WVR superiority thanks to R-33s and Archer System. SAM wise the Tunguskas negated PGMs and would have made it a death sentence for CAS support planes to attack Soviet Columns.

        Heck during the Gulf War, the Republican Guard just using Shilkas and S-60s with old style radars forced A-10 Squadrons to avoid them. M1A1s had to go in and blow them up as Air Strikes weren’t doing squat. Tunguska is the successor to Shilkas with two 30mm guns and 2×4 9M311 missile launch tubes.

        Naval wise, even NATO allies widely consider USN ASW skills a joke and regularly “sink” CBGs in exercises without being spotted. USSR subs likewise had no problems penetrating CBGs without the carrier or its escorts knowing and then sending the photos via mail to the USN. Aircraft are also able to easily penetrate the Carriers air defenses by exploiting the curvature of the Earth. So in actual combat the CBGs would have been quickly taken out by a foe with the capability to field effective naval forces.

        Artillery wise, USSR brings more and longer range artillery and more portable fire control radars such as the 1RL-133-1.

        If the Cold War had gone hot, the USSR would have easily crushed NATO conventionally. They had too much operational and technical superiority for NATO to overcome especially as NATO made it easier for them by their forward defense doctrine that meant the Soviets, if they went to war, could easily pocket NATOs main strength on the border and finish them off and have a clear run to the Rhine against Rear Service Troops. If NATO had wanted to seriously save Europe, they would have made the Rhine their defense line, and left the rest of West Germany as a negative space for USSR Tank Columns to advance into while under light harassing attacks by commandos who also serve as JTACs. It would have prevented the Soviets from pocketing NATO troops and give them space to atrit Soviet Armor without fear of hitting friendly troops. But German politicians demanded a forward defense and US caved in.

        • JVC says:

          You make a good point but try telling that to the mujahadin. Everything looks great on paper. The USSR’s supposed “prowess” during the cold war was contained to invading small countries and sowing discord in the developing world. Read anything by Andrew Bacevich, who spent his professional career preparing for the conflict you describe, and I think you will find your supposition is flawed.

    • GenPatton43 says:

      Without even reading the article, I can say that a big reason why they’ve performed so poorly had to do with the fact that most of them used inferior Soviet era equipment and had their military’s trained and their military doctrine based by the Soviets and Eastern block nations. T-55’s & T-62’s were good tanks in their day, but the overall demand that Soviet military doctrine was based off of was too centralized and too regulated without lower tier commanders having the ability or authorization to use their own judgement during the course of a campaign. They couldn’t make the tactical decisions needed that would influence the outcomes of battles. They had to rely on their higher echelon commanders who most of the time talked a good talk but couldn’t back it up.

    • GenPatton43 says:

      2 perfect examples. Egypts Sinai Campaign in 1973 succeeded initially because they did not set lofty goals. As long as they kept their armies under their SAM umbrella, they could negate whatever Israel threw at them. However, when they had to adapt to a new plan because of the need to bail out the Syrians on the Golan Heights, they were decimated.
      The other example is the performance of the mostly Western trained and equipped Iranian forces that faced Iraq. Despite having been purged by the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian Military far outperformed the Iraqi’s after absorbing their initial blows during the 1980 invasion. Iraq’s only real successes during that war came either in the opening months or the closing months of the conflict. In between, the Iranians ruled the battlefields despite having a lack of spare parts and ammo.
      Having said all of that, I will say, that is a fascinating article. Thanks for sharing.

    • mike merlo says:

      @ Alex

      Thanks for posting the article. I think it answers most if not all of your question. I remember reading about the Ottoman’s having to grapple with the very same issue you posit. There solution was to bring in European Military Personnel to train their Forces.

      I enjoyed studying how the Moslem’s arrived at various solutions when confronted by the Mongols. Didn’t seem to solve all of their ‘issues’ but over the course of a few centuries looks like they finally brought ‘it’ to heel.

  • Dennis says:

    As always, thank you Mr Obama, for giving them so many new things to be a terrorist with. They now are THE best armed terrorist group In the world, thanks to the” leave everything and lets get the hell out” policy. Who actually thought you could motivate mostly illiterate young men (?) to fight at the level of our service members. Without them turning on their own, stripping off uniforms in the face of an enemy one tenth your size? Good luck” retraining” the same ones who ran.

  • Oberron says:

    How many more Humvees are we going to hand over to the Islamic… I mean ISF?

    Let Russia throw money and equipment down this black hole before we lose every Humvee in our vehicle park. Better yet, just tell Iraq to buy F-250s and mount heavy weapons on the back. I’m sure Mark-1 Plumbing has spare trucks to sell.

    Ford tough could use some sales and its less embarrassing to see IS capturing pickups than Humvees.

  • Veritas says:

    Once again tanks, umvees, armored personnel carrier, trucks…
    What a gold mine for the barbars!

  • M2 says:

    What a waste…and soon the 2000+ anti tank weapons we are giving to ISF will be in ISIL hands is we don’t provide advisors who stay and accompany the ISF into battle.

  • Stephen H. Franke says:

    Greetings.

    If convenient, how about also including the URL in such original posts to enable online direct access to that interesting video, versus tedious online scrounging inside YouTube and similar sites? As a senior veteran Arabic linguist and analyst, I’d appreciate being able to view and assess the full content.

    The SITE Group, while well-publicized and self-promoting, is not the best, nor only, firm around which produces translations of videos, et al.

    Thanks in advance for your attention and advisement on enhancing such posts. Today is Wednesday 3 June 2015.

    Regards,

    Stephen H. Franke
    San Pedro (Los Angeles Waterfront Area), Califirnia

  • Honza Prchal says:

    They need the anti-tank weaponry to take out VBIEDs. Fallujah would still be in government hands if the IDF had had widely distributed LAWs, or even sufficient AT grenades mounted on assault rifles.
    I get the fears about distributing anti-aircraft weaponry, but considering jihadist suicider tech and RPGs, the only real threat from handing out LAWs and other anti-armour weaponry not designed to take out Chobham and other reactive armour systems is to those Western military units we use as reserves … everything else such weaponry is used for these creeps can already do, especially against civilian or light infantry (see my earlier comments about the IDF) forces.

  • MehCouldBeWorse says:

    Hope they got the Operators Manuals so they can properly PMCS those vehicles. Wouldn’t want to roll without a signed dispatch.

  • RT says:

    I did a little reading on the Iraq 1st division. The article mentions the 2nd regiment of the 1st Division. Wikimedia says the 1st division is organized by brigades not regiments. It also says the 1st division was basically wiped out prior to the current situation. Is Wiki completely wrong or just out of date. I know divisions are never really totally destroyed that they are just rebuilt.

  • Bob says:

    Much of this is an unintended smoke screen. Truth is, they are here on American soil as we speak. They don’t need all this equipment in order to cause mayhem inside our own borders. Yes, the acquisition of equipment we left behind could give them the advantage in the Middle East. With only a small amount of arms and explosives, they are poised to cause tremendous amounts of damage right here on good old American soil. A power or water plant here and there can affect thousands of people. Gosh, we’ve seen a drone land on the white house lawn. How much more weakness do we need to see before we pay attention and defend our borders? The US Constitution charges or government to carry out this task. Forget the borders in the middle east,…. we have already lost that war. How about our government taking up the task of simply defending or borders. What a concept !!

  • Civdiv says:

    Bottom line is that Malaki purged the Army of the most experienced officers; namely the veteran Sunni officers. The Shia officers left were mostly political appointees and extremely corrupt. So when some soldier sees the chariots of the Sunni Blood Cult (Daesh), having no confidence in their leadership (who in Mosul had already fled), the soldiers disert.

    It’s funny how much of this lies on the Iranians. They forced Malaki into power through the power sharing arrangement they made. Then they forbade him from signing the SOFA so we had to leave. And Obama was good with that (and so was I) because he didn’t want any part in the war.

    Not our fight. We gave the Iraqis all the white space they needed in 2011. Malaki and the Iraqi Government screwed this up themselves with the help of Iran and Syria. Sheer demographics are against Daesh taking much more ground. So protect the Kurds but let the Iraqi Government unscrew this thing. I mean we got Hezballah and Quds Force fighting AQ who is also fighting Assad AND Daesh; sounds like a win-win all across the board.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis