Australian Army Reveals Battlefield Secrets That Helped Defeat Islamic State

Excerpts:
Major General Roger Noble spoke of the need to challenge the extremist narrative espoused by IS fighters in the bid to eradicate the terrorist group from Syria and Iraq.
“It’s [more than] clearing cities, destroying targets, dropping bombs, the Western focus on kinetic fighting — it’s to defeat the idea,” he said.
The veteran soldier also described the frustration expressed by one of his colleagues about the difficulties and strict guidelines needed for information warfare operations.
 
“How come I’m able to drop 5,000 bombs but I’m not allowed to send out a tweet?” the Coalition officer complained.

Australian Army reveals battlefield secrets that helped defeat Islamic State

ABC.net.au · by Andrew Greene · August 30, 2019

New details have emerged about information warfare tactics and battlefield secrets used in the effort to defeat the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

In a rare public address, an Australian General talked at length about how the battle against IS required more than simply dropping bombs.

Major General Roger Noble spoke of the need to challenge the extremist narrative espoused by IS fighters in the bid to eradicate the terrorist group from Syria and Iraq.

“It’s [more than] clearing cities, destroying targets, dropping bombs, the Western focus on kinetic fighting — it’s to defeat the idea,” he said.

“Everything they did was about the narrative and the message.”

The Major General is now the Australian Defence Force’s Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, but in 2016 was effectively the second-in-command of the Coalition forces in Iraq.

He made the comments at UNSW’s Defence Research Institute, where he detailed how it was possible to sow discord among enemy fighters because IS used foreign recruits and Iraqis.

“The biggest difference was at that fault line,” the Major General explained in his address entitled Politics, Power and Ethics in Cognitive Warfare.

“When we drilled in in great detail we found that conditions of service for foreign fighters were a lot better than for the Iraqi fighters.

“The pay was different, and the death benefits were different — if you played that back using all available means into the ISIS network, what do you think the result would be?”

The veteran soldier also described the frustration expressed by one of his colleagues about the difficulties and strict guidelines needed for information warfare operations.

“How come I’m able to drop 5,000 bombs but I’m not allowed to send out a tweet?” the Coalition officer complained.

The war against IS was a multi-year effort for Coalition forces.

The fall of Mosul in 2014 marked IS’s defeat of the Iraqi Army as it took control of the northern Iraqi city.

It took more than three years for the Iraqi forces to reclaim the city.

Major General Noble said part of the war against IS was deciding when to use force and when to hold fire.

“So, what is an armed attack — that is probably one of the big questions — where is the threshold?” he said.

“Our approach is under construction but is critically important.”

Contact Andrew Greene

ABC.net.au · by Andrew Greene · August 30, 2019

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