The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Coming to the neighborhood: Grad missiles

Le Monde had an article a couple of days ago about a phenomenon I haven't read about elsewhere. It quotes the governor of Kerbala talking about a recent attack on the Iraqi city in which, "for the first time," Grad missiles were used.

Grad missiles, the article explains, are the successor to the Katiousha rocket that is used across the region, notably by Hizbullah and Palestinian factions against Israel but also in Iraq by the various insurgent groups. The Grad, which is also Russian-made has a range of 25km and is a more recent development -- not hard since the Katiousha is originally a WW2 design. But like the Katiousha it is easy to use and cheap.

Last December, the Israeli army became aware that Fatah had acquired its own Grad missiles.

I wonder how long it will be before this type of missile will become more generalized across the region, and how it will change the tactical situation on the ground. In Iraq it is already being used to put a safe distance between attackers and their targets, especially as regional Iraqi police and troops do not have the air support to be able to chase or monitor large areas. The other question, of course, is where are they coming from? I'd love to read a good book on the regional arms industry, if anyone can recommend one.