Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Sound and fury from Iran, but what does it signify?
Iran reportedly launched "ballistic missiles" of some sort against US installations in Iraq yesterday, in apparent retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani over the weekend. However, to my surprise, the missiles apparently hit nothing of importance, and didn't inflict a single casualty.
Contrast that with the precision strike against the Saudi Aramco oil refining facility a few months ago, where Iranian "drones" proved combat-accurate and struck the targets they were aiming for with considerable precision. There's no doubt Iran possesses weapons that are capable of inflicting a lot of damage and casualties . . . so why weren't they used against American forces yesterday?
Some argue that Iran is trying to have it both ways. It's sending a signal to its people that it will retaliate if it's attacked; but the retaliation was so feeble and ineffective that it is, in effect, a signal to the US government saying "Don't make us do this! We don't want an all-out war!" That may or may not be true. I suspect back-door diplomatic messages are flowing in both directions, but what they're saying is anybody's guess right now.
Nevertheless, actions speak louder than words. Iran's actions suggest an unrepentant, defiant, militant attitude. One hopes they'll scale that back . . . because if they don't, and if they attack again, then it'll be time to force the cork into their bottle the hard way. Any terrorist-supporting, terrorism-oriented government must be stopped. There's no two ways about it. It's to the discredit of previous US administrations that they didn't do so. Now it's left to President Trump to take up the slack they left. I wish him luck, and success. It's a very difficult problem, one I'm sure he'd rather not have - but that's the way of things. We don't get what we want. We get what is, and we have to deal with it.
BTW, there are all sorts of rumors about the Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran a short while ago. Some surmise it may not have "crashed", but been brought down by external fire. We don't know, and it's useless to speculate right now. The investigation will bear watching. Iran gets to conduct it, because the accident happened on its soil, but the airliner was Ukrainian, so that government gets to keep a close eye on what's discovered, and should be able to examine the wreckage. If foul play was involved, I doubt it'll remain hidden.