19 Jun 15. General: ISIL using IEDs as Guided Munitions. The Islamic State group is increasingly using improvised explosive devices as front-line weaponry against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, a top US general said Friday. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, chief of staff, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters on a Pentagon conference call that the militant group, also called ISIL or ISIS, has taken to using IEDs in much the same manner the US employs high-end strike weaponry.
“Obviously [IEDs have] become the precision guided munition [PGM], if you will, for [ISIL],” Weidley said. “We see them, again, as one of their primary weapon systems in order to disrupt, in order to penetrate [Iraqi or Kurdish] lines.”
Obviously, an IED does not have the same high-end targeting that a PGM has. But the advantage for ISIL, in that comparison, is cost. On June 16, the Pentagon put the total cost of anti-ISIL operations at $2.74 billion, or an average of $9.1m a day – staggering figures given that ISIL continues to have success in the region.
Part of that cost is targeting the source of IEDs, with Weidley saying the government is actively hunting for production sites.
“It is a very effective weapon and we have taken great efforts to advance our targeting capabilities in order to allow us to find these locations where IEDs are being produced and target them appropriately,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
19 Jun 15. Israel goes on offensive against boycotts. Israeli defense companies led by Elbit Systems are girding for global protests of their products, trade partners and subsidiaries as their government wages a high-profile pushback against the anti-occupation movement and its threat of economic sanctions. Israeli opposition leaders joined the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in waging diplomatic and economic war against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a growing coalition of Palestinian and international organizations and groups that Israel claims is inherently anti-Semitic and bent on its demise. The movement has already claimed credit for prompting Barclays Bank and Norway’s pension fund to divest from Elbit stock; for killing a small research satellite program with an Elbit subsidiary in Brazil; and for causing disruptions at three Elbit factories or subsidiary facilities in Europe. On July 6, to commemorate one year since the start of last summer’s war in Gaza, the movement is calling for mass protests at UAV Engines, an Elbit subsidiary near Birmingham, England. Nearly a dozen organizations are promoting the upcoming demonstration, timed for 7 a.m. to disrupt workers about to begin their shifts.
“Groups and campaigners from across the UK are going back to Elbit’s factory to demand that the UK stop arming Israel,” an organization called Block the Factory advertised on its Facebook page.
In addition to calls for a military embargo against Israel, the BDS movement is targeting Elbit and other companies for providing intrusion detection systems and other elements used to bolster Israel’s security barrier around the West Bank. Other companies targeted or flagged for their support of what BDS condemns as Israel’s “apartheid wall” include Magal Security Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries’ Tamam division and Controp Precision Technologies.
“Against attempts to attack Israel with lies, false accusations and boycotts, we must line up — right and left — to rebuff the pressure; expose the lies and attack those who attack us,” Netanyahu told Cabinet ministers June 7. “We will gather forces around the world to shatter the lies of our enemies, and we will fight for Israel’s right to live in peace and security.”
Initiated as a grassroots movement in 2005, BDS aims to use economic sanctions to end Israel’s occupation of disputed territories captured in 1967; dismantle the separation barrier erected around the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and promote the so-c