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This article in the al-Naba' newsletter on the Islamic State insurgent tactics of temporarily taking control of areas discusses the issue of implementation of the method. The article emphasizes that there is no single masterplan for such expeditions as circumstances vary according to place. However, the article offers general guidelines to the mujahideen on their conduct of these operations:
- Do not take on more than you are capable of.
- The need for precise and accurate intelligence gathering, while sorting through information to find out what is useful and what is not. Intelligence is attained from many sources including reconnaissance units, local inhabitants who are supportive of the Islamic State, enemy prisoners etc. During expeditions guides are assigned to units to convey them to their targets and help them get out.
- Cutting off paths of the enemy forces to prevent their reinforcements from taking the mujahideen by surprise, and also to inflict losses on those enemy forces.
- Seizing control of entrances and exits to facilitate entry and withdrawal while blocking off enemy forces, but it is not always necessary to do this. Sometimes seizing control of only some of them may be necessary in order to give the enemy space to flee and avoid a battle to the death.
- Seizing, attacking and destroying enemy force and command centres, such as bases with warehouses and military barracks, in order to minimize coordination between enemy forces.
- As far as possible, targets are to be known and defined beforehand. To carry out the mission, the amir of the expedition may divide units by sector, each one dealing with particular targets.
- Some targets may arise incidentally during a raid, and so the amir should have an emergency reserve force under his control to deal with such matters, if possible.
- Remove usable war spoils to safe areas. Destroy what cannot be taken.
- Place traps and decoys. IEDs are most effective in this regard, but bear in mind that Muslims in the area may want to take spoils of the enemy, so warn them or bar them from entering danger areas that are booby-trapped.
Below is the article translated in full with original text.
Bringing down the towns temporarily as a method of operation for the mujahideen (3)
As for implementation of this method of fleeting attacks, it cannot be confined to one plan or more, because that depends on the nature of the targeted area, the state of the enemy forces and the state of the mujahideen from different capabilities. But we can present here some general advice that the mujahideen can benefit from in implementing their operations by this method through a successful means by the permission of God Almighty.
God does not entrust a life except with what is possible for it
The first advice after putting trust in God Almighty and goodness of thought towards Him, is that the mujahideen should not entrust themselves with something beyond their power by attacking targets that surpass their ability to break the enemy in them, and they should not consider this type of battles to be fateful or decisive in documenting the course of war with their enemies. Instead they are fight-and-flight, whose aim is to prepare for another fight, and so on.
Information is among the most important sources that must be secured before every operation for the mujahideen, especially in operations that require speed and high activity, as they should not waste their time during clashes in looking for places, and defining the targets, and changing them with every new piece of information that reaches them from a friend or they obtain from an enemy. And therefore it is very important that the mujahideen be keen to gather as much useful reliable information as they can, and classify it and analyze it well, and conclude what is necessary from it to be a foundation for the plan of attack, control and withdrawal alike.
And the sources of information are numerous: among them direct reconnaissance by observation units, and among them relying on the information of the mujahideen who know the region, or the supporters from its inhabitants, and among them what is obtained from the prisoners of the enemy who are captured before the attack for this purpose.
And the role of intelligence for the mujahideen is not limited to gathering information but also separating it out to distinguish what is not useful from it and not preoccupying the brothers with it, and likewise being accurate about it to prevent the planners from basing things on false or misleading information.
And after the amirs of the mujahideen specify the targets that will be struck during the attack, the brothers in intelligence work on preparing lists of targets that will be attacked, and the people who will be taken prisoner or liquidated, and putting in place plans to deal with every target of them according to the information available about it, and whose importance will be defined as well as the aspects of force and weakness in its defenses.
Then the knowledgeable trusted guides are assigned to convey every group of the mujahideen to its target with speed and precision, then to get them out from the area after the attack has been completed and the order has been given by the amir to withdraw to the safe area.
Cutting off the paths
And that is accomplished by putting in place ambushes and spreading IEDs on the paths from which it is expected that enemy reinforcements will come, and by securing these paths the mujahideen assaulting the area will be safe- by God's permission- from surprises, and they can implement a greater extent of their aims within the time allotted for the attack. And likewise cutting off the path is considered a means to inflict on the enemy forces coming to provide help or fleeing from the clash great losses that may sometimes exceed the losses of the direct clash with them during the assault.
Seizing the entrances and exits
And that is done in order to facilitate the entry of the mujahideen into the area if the attack is from outside it, then to prevent the apostates fleeing from it if necessary, and preventing the entry of reinforcements to it in the event that they come. Likewise the aim is secure the path of withdrawal of the mujahideen from the area after the completion of the operation. And it is not required as a condition to seize them in the event that the attack is based on infiltration, and the path of withdrawal for the brothers is guaranteed by the force that holds and defends the path so as to ensure withdrawal. And it may be sufficient to seize some of them only, to facilitate the assault and withdrawal, while leaving the space before the enemy forces to flee from the area, in order to avoid confining them and pushing them to fight in defiance of death.
Seizing or neutralizing the centres of force and control
And we mean by this the command bases for the enemy in the area, which control their forces present in them, and the striking of which may lead to the dispersal of the enemy's forces and difficulty of coordination between them, and likewise the bases that include enemy forces capable of mobilizing against the mujahideen. This includes military barracks, security centres, police stations and others. Likewise we mean the bases that contain the means of force of the enemy, from weapons warehouses and ammunition, garages of vehicles and armored vehicles, and likewise what enables the enemy to control and prolong the battle, from centres and connection towers, centres for healing the wounded and others.
And by accomplishing this assignment and seizing those bases or besieging them or blowing them up, the enemy forces in the area will only have dispersed personnel who- by the permission of God Almighty- can easily be dealt with and hunted from their homes, while the best they can hope for is to be able to flee, especially as they despair about the likelihood of reinforcements coming to them to save them.
Striking targets defined beforehand
And this is the direct aim of the expedition through which all of the targets are realized, in so far as the targets are known beforehand to the mujahideen relying on the intelligence information and in so far as they can be reached quickly and can actually be dealt with. So the amir of the expedition divides his soldiers into units, each of them directed with the accompaniment of their guide to their known target, in order to deal with it according to the previously outlined plan by prepared means in accordance with its nature and the defined way of dealing with it.
And the amir may resort to dividing the area into sectors, whereby each group of the mujahideen deals with its particular sector in terms of control and rectifying the targets, and this division has the benefit of limiting the mistakes of lack of acquaintance between the mujahideen, especially if they are disguised in their enemies' clothing, which may result in unintentional clashes between them.
Striking incidental targets
And it is possible that during the attack there will be appear new targets, either unknown to the intelligence or the information about them becomes available during the expedition, like the mujahideen's sudden clash with a force of the enemy, or the surprise of great resistance on their part in one of the places, or they find an importance source of information (from prisoners or lists of agents in the enemy security offices or addresses of stores of weapons or wealth...)
And at the time, and so that the mujahideen should not be compelled to choose between finishing their original plan or changing it to deal with the new incidental targets, it is preferable that the amir- if possible- should leave aside during his planning for the expedition a number of units under his command to deal with these targets, in order to remove from the units working on the original tasks the burden of dealing with them. And at the same time these units should be tantamount to a general emergency force working to support any unit that needs assistance until the end of the attack.
Removing spoils and causing destruction
This matter has importance from two aspects: the first is the need of the mujahideen for it in order to provide for themselves and arming and provision of ammunition, for the storehouses of the enemy are the first source for providing provision for the mujahideen, and the second is the necessity of barring the enemy from their capabilities. So what the mujahideen cannot remove to safe areas from wealth of booty and spoils, they should resort to destroying: from bases, vehicles, equipment, weapons, ammunition and electronic devices, and that is because they are among the sources of force of the enemy, and what harms the life of the Muslim masses must be avoided and not constitute a source of force for the enemy as far as possible.
Since the enemy will return to the area after the withdrawal of the mujahideen from it, it is beneficial to put in place traps and decoys for them, through which one may take out another number of their soldiers, and inflict additional losses in their ranks, and the best type of these traps- according to what is available currently- are IEDs well-concealed in anything that the hands of the enemy may touch after they reach the area, from vehicles and arms, and inside the bases and other places.
But there should also be taking into account caution if the mujahideen think it likely that the Muslims of the people of the area may enter the places subject to explosive rigging in order to take what the mujahideen have left behind from the wealth of the mushrikeen and apostates. Thus they should warn them or prevent them from entering the danger zones by appropriate means.
And we will finish by the permission of God Almighty in the next article on the issue of ending the temporary control and successful withdrawal for the mujahideen after realizing the desired aims of the expedition, and praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds