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.



BadFrog said...

The fact that the Iranians have recovered the black box but are refusing to release it does not indicate that they are operating in a trustworthy manner.

Greybeard said...

Iranians are superior in every way to all others.
They need no help whatsoever in determining what caused this crash.
They'll find it was a mechanical failure I'll bet.

Jonathan H said...

They have lots of ballistic and cruise missiles; they also have lots of non-precision rockets. I wonder if this was a long range rocket attack rather than a missile attack.
My understanding is that most of their missiles are along their gulf coast and set up to interdict nearby shipping - to move 20 missiles would mean moving 20 launch vehicles plus support equipment. Russian style long range rockets can reach 300 miles and be moved and launched by a single vehicle.
I suspect this was the quickest response of any magnitude that they could put together. Also, in case there were problems the rockets and the launcher (plus the crew, of course) could be 'disposable' if needed due to low cost and large inventories. Of course, the downside of low cost is poor accuracy - to be effective, rockets like that are normally used in the hundreds and at targets only a few miles away.

Dov Sar said...

It looked like it got shot down to me. I can imagine that the young folks manning the maenads might be a little jumpy thinking the Americans are coming to their town, and perhaps someone jumped the gun. I was surprised that airliners were still flying during that time; it seemed dangerous to me.

John T. Block said...

They bull-dozed the crash site. Cover-up in full swing....