With 323 incidents per month worldwide in 2010 and 89 incidents per month excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, the IED is a clearly established weapon of choice for those who use terror and violence to achieve their objectives. Historically, these incidents have occurred in a variety of situations including conflict and post-conflict environments (Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine); illegal drug operations (Mexico, Columbia, Peru); insurgencies (Chechnya, Russia, Nigeria, Northern Ireland); election-related violence (Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast); religious crises (India, Pakistan, Nigeria); ethnic conflicts (Nigeria, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Serbia); and other terrorism events (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France). As a final example, the perpetrator of the July 2011 attack in Oslo, Norway described the IED as a “marketing tool” for his extremist views.
In 2008 and 2009[ii], global IED incidents were documented at 291 and 308 per month respectively. In 2006 during a six month period Landmine Action[iii] found 1,836 incidents of explosive devices in populated areas across 38 different countries. Sixty percent (1,105 or 184 per month) involved “bombs” or “car-bombs”—predominantly IEDs. These combined data indicate that IED use is likely proliferating.
The 2008 and 2009 incidents involved an estimated 13,771 killed (84% civilians) and 44,506 wounded (88% civilians). There were 196 killed and 28 wounded among those who deployed the IEDs. In cases where these incidents occurred in populated areas some 90% of reported casualties were civilians. Cumulatively just for Nigeria, Thailand, and India there were over 1,621 killed or injured in 2009 and 2010. In these three countries incidents rose 44% in 2010 as compared to 2009.
In Mexico, drug-related proliferation of illegal small arms and associated violence—known as precursors to IED use—foreshadowed the vehicle-borne IED incident in Cuidad Juarez on 15 July 2010. From no reported attacks in 2009, there were six additional IED incidents[vi] through January 2011.
These trends underscore the seriousness of the IED problem. Innocent civilians, most often women and children, bear the brunt of the suffering. Those in affected areas live in fear of additional attacks that disrupt everything from daily routines, to health care to elections. When displacement, destruction, and loss of personal assets are added to this mix[v] sustainable livelihoods are severely degraded. With no central, universally trusted repository that tracks IED incidents, the actual impacts are likely greater than depicted.
The IED is a significant global threat to stability, sustainable development, human rights, and humanitarian operations. Even so, they are inevitably framed as an exclusively military problem. It is our position that a purely military response will never halt the proliferation of IEDs; eliminate civilian casualties; or address the root causes of IED production networks.
Our Approach to a Solution...
Our approach is comprehensive using appropriate military and non-military efforts and is guided by the Capital Analysis and Performance Strategy (CAPS) SM. CAPS[vi], unlike traditional approaches that view problems through a single domain specific lens (e.g. health, political), analyzes problems and produces solutions using multiple lenses that correspond to seven capital forms (Political, Natural, Economic, Infrastructure, Cultural, Social, and Human). It recognizes the capital forms are related and interdependent where a change in one may dramatically influence others. At its core, CAPS is a holistic approach focused on doing and responding to needs with sustainable solutions.
Military approaches emphasize responses that attack the network, defeat the device, and train the force. In practice this targets the infrastructure used to produce and deploy IEDs; provides protection of military forces against IEDs; and enables military personnel to survive IED attacks. This focus ignores the socio-economic, cultural, and other root causes that enable the use of IEDs. It also does nothing to reduce the negative psychological impact (e.g., chronic fear) from a systemic threat of IED use. Neither militaries nor police are trained to deal with these issues—nor should they be. In our view, the military-focused response in Iraq and Afghanistan has had limited effect; it is failing and exacerbating the problem in Nigeria and other developing countries; and is not implementable in a democracy. Resolving the IED problem is the responsibility of the global community. PIF’s approach, guided by CAPS, has three core elements with two optional technology enablers. Each of these elements is described on our website. Click HERE to learn more.
The Anticipated Outcomes...
As a long-term effort the goals and objectives of our approach will be refined over time based on experience, evolved best-practices, and input from the global community. Our initial goal is to show quick return on investment through a pilot implementation in a selected project county. The objectives of that implementation would be:
A successful application of our approach will:
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