One of the cornerstones of the Islamic State’s arsenal is undoubtedly the improvised explosive device, or IED. And as the group attempts to hold what territory it has in Iraq and Syria, it has become a staple of the group’s defensive and offensive capabilities.
The modern IED came of age during the early years of the last Iraq War, as bands of insurgents began attacking U.S. vehicles and patrols with hidden bombs made of unexploded ordnance, industrial supplies and whatever else could be squeezed into a container and made to explode. Countering the low-budget, highly lethal devices became a game of chess for the United States and its allies fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. For every American widget put into the field, the enemy would make a bomb capable of, at the least, undermining it. But with the United States long wars of occupation winding down, groups like the Islamic State–who are now fighting opponents with little of the same capabilities the United States once brought to bear–are producing the weapons on an almost industrial scale.
A report published Thursday by the weapon research group, Conflict Armament Research, examines a sampling of the Islamic State’s IEDs gathered from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The group, over the course of almost two years, examined more than 700 IED components and traced them back to 51 countries and 20 companies spread from Turkey to the United States. […]