EFP attacks on U.S. troops down "dramatically" since December

I missed this story the other day. Captain Ed didn’t.

After warning that the threat of deadly EFPs, or Explosively Formed Penetrators, was growing at an alarming rate, the U.S. military now says there’s been a “dramatic” decrease in the use of the powerful roadside bombs…

[Army Lt. Col. Christopher] Garver says EFP attacks have dropped significantly since December.

“In February, we noticed a 47 percent decrease in explosively formed penetrators being detonated against our troops, a 53 percent decrease in the number of troops wounded and a 51 percent decrease in the number of troops killed” by the devices, he said…

According to Garver, the reasons for the marked drop in EFP incidents could include the detention of three Iranians in Baghdad in December.

That makes sense. According to WaPo, those Iranians were caught with “detailed weapons lists, documents pertaining to shipments of weapons into Iraq, organizational charts, telephone records and maps, among other sensitive intelligence information,” including and especially information about importing EFPs. The problem is … we let them go. They were sent back to Iran before New Year’s. Maybe the arrest put the fear of God into them, or maybe it was that raid in Irbil in January where we captured five members of the Quds Force that really cut the flow of EFPs. We do seem to have made this a priority lately — that not-so-rogue “rogue” Mahdi Army network that we busted earlier this week was also targeted for trafficking in EFPs.

As we crack down in Baghdad, Iran is stepping it up in Basra:

Lt Col Justin Maciejewski told the BBC that he had no “smoking gun” to prove Iranian interference in Basra, where UK troops come under regular mortar and rocket attack.

But he said local community leaders informed him that Iranian agents were paying local men 500 US dollars a month to carry out attacks and providing them with sophisticated modern weapons…

“We have a lot of very modern and quite sophisticated weaponry being used against us – weaponry that could only really have been procured from a state.

The Counterterrorism Blog has an interesting post up theorizing that the capture of the British sailors might be Iran’s attempt to drive a wedge between the U.S. and UK. Same M.O. as Al Qaeda: support for the war on terror is softer in Britain than it is here so bomb the Brits until they decide to leave America’s fight to America. I don’t buy it, though. AQ can get away with that tactic because it isn’t a nation-state and thus its attacks aren’t an affront to national pride. The left prefers to regard terrorism as almost “atmospheric,” a condition that can be managed but not eliminated because you can never directly confront it. It operates in the shadows. Not so with a nation-state like Iran. It operates in the shadows too, of course, but Blair or Gordon Brown would have no trouble finding Tehran on their map if need be.

I leave you with Erick Stakelbeck’s exclusive about a major offensive — bigger than the battle of Fallujah, if you can believe it — that’s coming soon to Diyala province. Diyala is the area to the east of Baghdad where Sunni jihadis have been hiding out since the surge. If Stakelbeck’s right, Petraeus is planning a three-front attack aimed at surrounding and then snuffing AQ inside. Let’s hope.