first published on June 22, 2017 by Josh
Years of battlefield experience in both Iraq and Syria have allowed the Islamic State to start establishing some very basic tactics, techniques and procedures across their multitude of forward deployed units. These uniform TTPs are showing up more and more in their propaganda videos, and are making it apparent that they have started to experiment with advanced techniques normally only found in the specialized units of first world military super powers. The good thing about this however, is that these same TTPs that they have started to display, also show that the Islamic State has yet to actually master any of these advanced skills.
Advanced military operations take a considerable amount of training to master and teach. Instructors in the space of explosives have years of experience before they are ever given the opportunity to stand in front of a group and teach. While the Islamic State may be showing some of the early signs of competence in the space of explosives, probably drawing from individuals who have years of experience fighting in the Global War on Terror, it is obvious that the individual fighter has not been instructed on the technical use of explosives, and how they can be used as a tool on the battlefield.
In the video at the bottom of this article, taken from a longer more brutal propaganda piece, a group of Islamic State fighters is fighting their way through a building. Footage taken from an action camera shows the fighters clearing a building floor by floor, until they come to a position where they need to blow their way through a wall using an improvised charge. The pre-packaged and primed charge was most likely created by one of the explosive manufacturers that the Islamic State normally uses, and carried throughout their movement by the fighter that is wearing the action camera for the duration of the video.
The failings become apparent the moment that the fighter moves up the stairs. Judging from the fighter’s equipment, he is probably part of a more advanced and trained team of specialized Islamic State fighters, but this training doesn’t actually help them in this instance. Using a 2×4 as a prop for his charge, the fighter sets the explosive against a wall improperly. The fighter then ensures that his buddies are behind hard cover, and lights the suicidely short fuse on the improperly placed charge, and then quickly maneuvers back to where his buddies are sitting behind cover.
Insert a few jump cuts from the propaganda editing team, and we see that the charge blew a gun-port hole into the wall allowing them to clear the next room after the explosion ripped through the room. Then, the failed explosive breach is expanded via mechanical breaching tools, and the Islamic State fighters maneuver into the next room where they continue their clearance operations.