Iraqi Jihadi Offers Online Lessons on Ambush Techniques

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 5

As part of the military, intelligence and religious information exchanged through Iraqi jihadist internet forums, one jihadi recently posted a training lesson for militants in the battlefield entitled “Allurement is a technique mastered by the enemy.” The posting offers methods of luring U.S. forces into ambushes and urges militants to practice devising “baits” for this purpose (, January 29).

A forum participant nicknamed “Jeel al-Aqeeda” reminds readers how U.S. forces were lured into a well-planned ambush at the beginning of the occupation, in which a bomb was detonated by a phone call in a house surrounded by 10 U.S. Humvees. Al-Aqeeda explains that the action at the house was the ambush, false intelligence regarding the presence of terrorists in the house was the bait, and feeding U.S. forces with the false intelligence was the lure. “The ambush was repeated tens of times varying the type of the bait, the enticement style or the detonation method. When you run out of tricks to bring your enemy directly into the ambush, [using techniques of] allurement is inevitable,” says al-Aqeeda. The training lesson proceeds as follows:

• Allurement: This is the art of gradually drawing the enemy into the ambush. The equation between ambush and the time needed to get the enemy at the appropriate spot must be calculated carefully.

• The Bait and Ambush: The bait is something considered desirable by the enemy, while the ambush is a trap devised to topple him. The bait may be placed inside or outside the ambush. The more seductive the bait, the higher the possibility of destroying the enemy.

• Components of a successful ambush:

– Type of ambush

– Location and method of lurking

– Bait used

– Method of allurement

– Method of destruction

• Components of an unsuccessful ambush:

– Unappealing bait

– Attacking the target too soon or before he takes the bait

– The target is smart or evasive

– The ambush is too conventional

– The ambush is uncovered by spies

Jihadis should use the tips in “components of an unsuccessful ambush” to their own advantage in exposing enemy ambushes. “For instance, if we unveil the Islamic party’s secrets and plans aimed at creating a kingdom in Iraq, all these plans are bound to fail. If we expose American plans to blow up Mosul dam and blame ISI [Islamic State of Iraq] and al-Qaeda for it, the enemy’s plans would fail,” says al-Aqeeda, reiterating that the best counter-measure for enemy conspiracies is to uncover and expose them.

The instructor further emphasizes the importance of the choice of bait in attracting the target into the trap. “If you want to lure your enemy, choose delicious bait your enemy can’t pass up,” says al-Aqeeda. On the other hand, the training lesson describes two types of U.S. techniques used to target Iraqi insurgents. First is military allurement, such as booby-trapped houses and cars; secondly there is political allurement, such as mind tricks, terminology manipulation and enticement. U.S. political allurement aims to include the Sunnis in the political process, enlist them in the Iraqi military, restore some Iraqi ex-military cadres and create the trick of the “Awakening Councils.” According to the posting, U.S. forces are assisted in these techniques by the Sunni-based Iraqi Islamic Party, part of the Nouri al-Maliki-led coalition government.

Finally, al-Aqeeda suggests using unconventional plans of action to assassinate or abduct Western agents as the old techniques no longer work. One such plan involves setting up a commercial entity of any type, be it real or fictional, and then communicating with Westerners, tempting them with lucrative business deals—the bait. The best method is to invite Westerners to business or construction exhibitions, such as those frequently held in the Gulf States. The alleged company representative would suggest taking the visiting Western business people to the company headquarters or a restaurant, thereafter abducting them and erasing any trace of the front company. Although the false business scenario can be modified depending on the circumstances and available assets, essential elements of the conspiracy must include the availability of a business facility, the delivery of business proposals to Westerners, an offer of persuasive deals and finally the successful abduction of the target. This scenario takes a lot of time but is compensated by the guaranteed success of the operation.

Jihadis are constantly tutoring quality intelligence techniques in forums for utilization in terror operations. The front company technique is a very effective intelligence instrument that requires significant time and effort from intelligence services to unravel and counter.