US using electronic warfare weapons against ISIS?
It sounds like something straight out of Call of Duty video game sequel, James Bond movie, or Batman comic. Troops call in an air strike, but instead of high explosives, the pilots employ a weapon that screws with the enemy’s electronics, disabling them or making them catch fire or even explode, becoming little bombs in of themselves. But it’s not a plot device from a Hollywood blockbuster or video game. It’s a detail passed along from a journalist in Syria – and what’s more, some part of the report might be true. We've seen at least one similar rumor emanating from a modern battlefield in the past.The latter suggestion sounds more plausible and would be a more strategic weapon to thwart enemy communications and transportation.
The new report emerged on July 7, 2017, when Jenan Moussa, a “roving reporter Arabic Al Aan TV,” an Arabic-language satellite television network with its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, wrote on Twitter that members of the U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces told her American warplanes sometimes dropped an “electricity bomb.” The SDF fighters added that when the weapon went off, anyone carrying metallic items would “burn.”
“They call it electricity bomb here bcz [because] they don't know real name,” Moussa wrote in a string of Tweets that included video and pictures from the city of Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital. “When plane wants to drop electricity bomb, we are told to drop anything metal that we carry. Otherwise we also burn like ISIS fighters.”
What if the weapon described by fighters to Moussa was actually focused microwave beam, highly localized electromagnetic pulse munition, or even some sort of pinpoint cyber attack? Maybe the SDF fighters saw the aftermath of any one of these types strikes and assumed the metal parts had burned up because they were the target of such weapon rather than just secondary effect from its use. Or maybe people's cell phones are catching fire or exploding and it isn't clear why, which is hardly an unheard of concept.