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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another US helicopter brought down by Sunni insurgents

During the fighting in Najaf, another US helicopter went down, 2 crewman killed.
A McClatchy Newspapers correspondent from Najaf, Qasim Zen, observed the helicopter lose control and crash to the ground in flames after it appeared to have been struck by rocket fired from the ground.

This is the third US helicopter possibly shot down in eight days.

If you want to go back even further, three aircraft were possibly shot down in Anbar in late November and early December.

The US command has been very poor in putting out information as to exactly what is bringing these aircraft down, but all of them have taken place over Sunni territory and several have unconfirmed reports of rocket fire.

So, with at least six aircraft down in seven weeks, maybe it's time to go back and revisit the report that "our allies" the Saudis are allowing private citizens to ship money and weapons (including Strela AA missiles) to the Sunni insurgency.
(AP)Private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in Iraq and much of the money is used to buy weapons, according to Iraqi officials and others.....

In one recent case, an Iraqi official said $25 million in Saudi money went to a top Iraqi Sunni cleric and was used to buy weapons, including Strela, a Russian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile.

(I'm still treating this as rumor at this point, but as the airframes and bodies continue to mount, I'm beginning to give it more credibility. If this is true, it is a very, very big deal. As the roads of Iraq become increasingly dicey, helicopters have taken on a significant amount of the transport and quick response role.

I keep thinking back to the parallels of the Soviets in Afghanistan who were treading water until the appearance of US supplied Stinger AA missiles, or of Somalia, where fighters pinned down US forces to lure a Blackhawk in to shoot it down.)

But Iran is the problem, right?

UPDATE: (AP) Provincial Gov. Assad Sultan Abu Kilel, "They are well-equipped and they even have anti-aircraft missiles," the governor said. "They are backed by some locals" loyal to ousted dictator Saddam Hussein."


  • This note about antiaircraft missiles (presumably RPGs?)used to down US helicopters reminded me of some obscure history.

    Apparently the first rocketry used in warfare happened during the Crusades. Arab scientists figured out how to purify Chinese gunpowder using potassium nitrate, and used these bombs to attack cities held by European invaders. They seem to have invented a spherical bomb on a spear, which they could launch at buildings or ships.

    Weird, huh? Anybody else out there know more about early rocket warfare?

    By Anonymous local insurgent, at 5:13 PM  

  • Not at all.

    All I remember is being surprised to find out that the British used rockets of Washington so many years later.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 5:27 PM  

  • Their aim seems to be improving.

    This is not good.

    By Blogger QuakerDave, at 5:28 PM  

  • Definitely not good.

    If they do have even rudimentary AA missiles, we may get alot more casualties as transports go down, and find troops isolated without a guaranteed reaction force.

    And, all of this right before we disperse thousands in small 50 men groups all over Baghdad.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 6:51 PM  

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