U.S. Eyeing Israeli Tactics for Iraq Insurgents (REUTERS) By Dan Williams TEL AVIV, ISRAEL 12/09/03 12:26 PM ET)
Reuters News Service
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TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Mass assaults by covert squads of soldiers to
confound guerrillas and swoops by troops posing as Arabs are among
Israeli tactics U.S. forces are studying for use in Iraq, Israeli
security sources said Tuesday.
Israeli measures have been honed against a three-year-old Palestinian
revolt in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Washington is watching, and
recently sent military brass to consult with its chief Middle East
"The Americans now realize their forces are in Iraq for the long
haul, and are reorganizing accordingly," a senior Israeli security
"Israel has been providing advice on how to shift from a reliance on
heavy, armored occupation troops to mobile forces that are more
effective in quelling urban resistance and cause less friction with
the general populace."
U.S. forces have already toughened up in Iraq, arresting relatives of
insurgents and destroying buildings used to plan attacks against
Although the tactics are reminiscent of those employed by Israel in
the Palestinian territories, U.S. officials have denied they are
modeled on them.
Israeli sources declined to comment on U.S. operations in Iraq, but
said American officers had studied measures that proved effective
against Palestinian militants.
One is a "swarm" assault used by Israel in the West Bank city of
Nablus in April 2002. Forces seeking militants linked to a wave of
suicide bombings were unleashed on the city´s warren-like casbah in
roving covert infantry squads whose movements were coordinated using
"The Americans are used to fighting either in force or with isolated
commando teams, while the swarm tactic is a combination of both," an
Israeli military source said. "It is ideal for hitting terrorists
concentrated in civilian populations."
The U.S. administration is increasingly recruiting Iraqis for
occupation militia and police forces and Israeli sources said that
could eventually supply new members for special forces units hunting
remnants of Saddam Hussein´s ousted regime.
Israeli commandos disguised as Palestinians regularly swoop on
populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza to capture or kill fugitive
militants. Such missions are aided by Arabic-speaking Bedouin and
Druze volunteers serving alongside Jews.
While Israeli operations have gutted the Palestinian militant
infrastructure, they have not stopped the uprising and may even have
fueled militancy. It remains to be seen how effective such tactics
would be in an Iraq under a long-term U.S.-led occupation.
"In consultations, the Americans have made it clear that they see the
need for undercover work to flush out wanted terrorists. But they
lack personnel qualified in Arabic and the basic cultural knowledge
needed to blend in," a military source said.
"One option they are weighing is incorporating locally enlisted
fighters into special forces units."
(© Reuters 2003 12/09/03)
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