Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 08, 2020

Iran's Missile Launch Against Two U.S. Bases in Iraq Calls Trump's Bluff - Updated

Updated below

Last night Iran fired 22 Qiam missiles towards two U.S. bases in Iraq. Between 1:45 and 2:15 local time (~22:00 UTC) seventeen missiles hit the Ain al Assad airbase west of Ramadi. Five missiles were aimed at Erbil airport in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. There were no casualties.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents the U.S., was warned at least one hour before the attack happened. Around 0:00 UTC the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which prohibited civil U.S. flights over Iraq, Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

This attack was the "open" and "proportional" response for the U.S. assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani which Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had promised. It will certainly not be the only response but represents the opening shot of a long and much more silent campaign to kick the U.S. out of the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to destroy 52 targets in Iran including cultural sites if Iran would take any revenge, seems to have understood that this attack was intentionally limited to avoid a larger war:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 2:45 UTC · Jan 8, 2020
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.

The Qiam missiles Iran launched are a derivative of the Soviet Scud type. They are liquid fueled with a warhead of about 700 kilogram. They have a range of some 800 kilometer. Iran has more capable and precise solid fueled missiles it could have used.

The Ain al Assad airbase which was hit is where the drones that killed Soleimani and the Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were launched from. Erbil airport is the logistic center for the U.S. forces in Syria.

Videos show the launch and the impact of the missiles.

No U.S. air or missile defense against the incoming projectiles was observed.

The message from Iran is thus: "We can attack all your bases and you can do nothing to prevent that."

Iran's leader said that the attack was "slap in the face" for the U.S. and that this military reaction to the U.S. crime is not the only one that will happen:

Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the nation live on TV in a meeting with a large group of people from Qom, in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the January 9, 1978 uprising in Qom against the Pahlavi regime.

The live address also took place hours after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks in early hours of Wednesday to retaliate the US assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander, Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
“What is important in addition to retaliation is that military operations do not suffice. It is important to end the US corrupting presence in the region,” the Leader stressed.

“Americans are insisting on bringing corruption and destruction into our dear Iran. Talks of sitting down at the negotiating table is a preface to interventions, which must end. Regional nations do not accept the US presence and its meddling measures,” he added.

“The US enmity toward Iran is not temporary; it’s inherent. It is a ‘gross mistake’ to think if we took a step back and comprised, the US would stop its enmity,” he stressed.

Hours after Iran had launched the missiles a Ukrainian airliner crashed three minutes after it had taken off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board died. The passengers were mostly from Iran, Canada and the Ukraine. The airplane was a three years old Boeing 737-800 NG operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, the country's flag carrier. Video shows the burning airliner coming down on a glide path. Photos from the crash site show shrapnel like impacts on the fuselage. The evidence is consistent with an uncontained turbine disc rupture but other potential causes can not be ruled out. The incident will be investigated like all other airliner crashes.

The Iranian military revenge was less intensive then I had expected. But it was also a clear sign that Iran is capable and willing to openly attack U.S. bases in the larger area. The missile attack came despite Donald Trump's threats to Iran. It called his bluff.

Further reactions will depend on the U.S. reactions to the demand of the Iraqi parliament that all foreign forces leave Iraq. Should the U.S. leave Iraq peacefully all will be well. Should it insist on staying U.S. soldiers will die.

Update - 17:00 UTC

Additional information has come in which corrects or adds to some of the above made claims.

The 17 missiles launched against Ain al Assad airbase were of the Qiam-2 type which is an updated version of the original Qiam with a guided warhead and much better accuracy. The missiles launched towards Erbil airport were solid fueled Fateh 313 missiles which have a 500 kilometer range and additional anti-interception devices.

Damage pictures of Ain al-Assad airbase show that the hits were well targeted and extremely precise.

Source: ArmsControlWonk - bigger

Source: ArmsControlWonk - bigger

Trump confirmed that there were no U.S. casualties. The situation is thereby de-escalating as the U.S. will now stand down. Trump called the damage on the base "minimal" even while several airplane/drone hangers were obviously hit and completely destroyed with everything they contained. Iran must have had very good intelligence about the site. Trump also lauded an early warning system that, he said, prevented casualties. The Swiss embassy in Tehran will have a good laugh at that comment.

Higher quality daylight pictures of the crashed Ukrainian plane show that at least some of the "shrapnel impact holes" are not holes at all but are debris or dirt lying on top of the aircraft pieces. Additional pictures also show no evidence of an externally induced event.

The Flight Data Recorders of the airplane were found. Iran will download the data from them or, if it does not have that capability, will ask some other country (France?, Germany?) to do so. A preliminary accident report will be published after one month.

Posted by b on January 8, 2020 at 11:45 UTC | Permalink

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@ Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 19:09 utc | 194

Just to agree and add, the Q mod 2 has a special "war-head". This separates in flight and is a special shape that greatly reduces drag and thus increases terminal speed. I say speed, not velocity. The war-head accuracy to 10 meters says it's guided (lateral accelerations), and being unpowered, the guidance is aerodynamic... that means it's not ballistic...and that means, as everybody know, it's phuching hard or near impossible to A "see" on radar and B do anything about it in time, and C, that it hits the target. And it's cheap, and road mobile... Persia didn't get to be 7000 years old by being stupid. And yes, they said the anti radar stuff went in first. Like duh!

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 19:23 utc | 201

karlof1 196

It is interesting what is happening in Libya. Erdo pulls jihadis from the Syrian front and ships them to libya. Now Putin and Erdo calling for a ceasefire. Makes me wonder if Erdo was was looking at getting rid of a few jihadists rather than actually doing anything in Libya.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 19:24 utc | 202

More on the pro-american attitude in Iraq:

PM Mahdi noted that he had personally worked to defuse the protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier in the week, going so far as to threaten to step down if the militia behind the protests did not disperse. President Trump thanked him for that effort, he said, at the same time he was planning an attack inside Iraq without permission.

So Iraq is more divided than some people would like to believe.
As Peter AU also correctly pointed out, not all shia's in Iraq is supporters of Iran of different reasons.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 19:25 utc | 203

So a Qiam has a 700kg warhead. Look at photos. 700kg of high explosives does a lot more than that.

Warning phone calls? One hour ahead? Two hours ahead of time with a very fallible third party as a link? The stage rigging is on plain display here. This was arranged and calculated well in advance. Arranged by someone with power to compel obedience, who would expect perfect compliance to a scheme with many moving parts. So may parts of this might have gone wrong, with WW3 as the consequence of a mistake.

Trump did not dream or conceive any of this. Trump did not consent to any of this except in situation he could not do otherwise. Iran did not agree to this except they got a great deal more in return than a fireworks show. And again they would not have played except they had no choice.

Simplistic scenarios from many commenters would assume that Iranians trusted Trump. Would do a deal with Trump. That all this was done through Swiss consular intermediary. Not plausible.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 8 2020 19:26 utc | 204

Such a brilliant gesture by Iran, yet some folks seem disappointed that there was not more blood and destruction. The pinpoint accuracy makes the demo even more powerful.

Posted by: paul | Jan 8 2020 19:28 utc | 205

Couple of thoughts

1. Plane was on fire minutes after take off but no evidence of a surface-to-air missile. So either a bomb inside the plane went off or an accidental fuel/engine explosion.

2. Iranian objective is to force U.S. to get out of Iraq, ideally without the Americans putting up a fight or starting a destructive war.

Fucktards like Lindsay Graham, Chris Cuomo and Mark Esper will be gnashing their teeth when the last U.S. soldier is evacuated from Iraq.

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 8 2020 19:30 utc | 206

Piotr Berman

US have not been asked to leave by the iraqis so how are they supposed to leave? Especially since they are not going to leave by themselves?

Esper: Iraqi government has not asked US troops to leave
Iraq’s government has made no formal request that American forces leave its country, despite a nonbinding vote Sunday to expel U.S. and other troops after the Pentagon killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 18:10 utc | 163

I do not know. Definitely it would be helpful if a formal legal request was made, and then there is need of an energetic follow-up. As I said, the audience that matter is Iraqi, and Iranians know them better than we. They have to influence, not force.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 8 2020 19:31 utc | 207

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 19:09 utc | 194

"Iran has the worlds top university in electronic engineering. They are at the cutting edge in that field and they have said some missiles had jammers and the defence radar was taken out first. That is why there was virtually no US response."

If so, and if this was a Potemkin exercise like so many think, I can't see why they'd want to display that capability in a fake attack.

That makes it seem more like it was meant to be real and that the Swiss-tipoff story is false. In that case it's more likely the Mahdi treachery-tipoff is what happened.

And in that case the Iranians would have to think that their intended proportional response has not yet been carried out.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 8 2020 19:31 utc | 208

@somebody (36) “ Fact is that Iran has been the first country since WWII to challenge the US directly and not via proxy.”

The people of Vietnam may disagree.

Posted by: Rob | Jan 8 2020 19:33 utc | 209

Analysis by Pepe Escobar, courtesy of Consortium News. The takeaway:

"Judd Deere, the deputy press secretary of the White House, confirmed on Tuesday night what I had learned earlier from another source. The White House said Trump, in a phone call, thanked Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for “Qatar’s partnership with the United States”, and they discussed Iraq and Iran.

According to my source, who is very close to the Qatari royal family, Trump actually sent a message to Tehran via the emir. The message has two layers. Trump promised sanctions would be cancelled if there were no retaliation from Tehran (something that Trump simply wouldn’t have the means to assure, considering the opposition from Capitol Hill) ; and there would be de-escalation if Tehran came up with a “proportional” response.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif described the Iranian missile strikes as a “proportional response”.

That may explain why Trump did not go on TV on Tuesday night in the U.S. to announce total war – as much as neocons may have been wanting it.

Details are still sparse, but there’s ultra-high level, back room diplomacy going on especially between Iran and Russia, with China discreet, but on full alert."

Posted by: Trisha | Jan 8 2020 19:33 utc | 210


Iran make their breakthroughs as does Russia, and I suspect there is an exchange of information there. Some time back, Russia signed an agreement to import small drone sized turbines from Iran.
in last few days there have been comments here at at other sites on Russia not supplying S-400 to Iran, but I suspect Iran already has that tech, both through its own research and information exchange.

Speed vs velocity. Could you explain that a bit more.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 19:35 utc | 211

First, thank you b for presenting the 'knowns' as you always do, succinctly and with your usual clarity. "Iran's missile launch...calls...bluff." That is what it did do, and effectively.

It should be very clear to all which country defines its own terms and which does not.

Some are pointing to the red flag for confirmation as to who has 'won' this challenge. Not necessary. A simple comparison of statements before and after, the witness of Iran's solidarity in the face of atrocity, and now, I think we simply watch and wait.

I will take from Michael Hudson's piece at the Saker site what will be a clear sign, and that will be who controls the oil? Someone did say on a previous thread that an oilfield near one of the bases attacked has been relinquished. And for those wondering about 'minimal damage' it ought to be pointed out that the airfields in question are on Iraq soil, and the less harm to them the better if Iraq is to be able to recover its assets. So too for Syria - it should not be forgotten that the problem that was arising was with the protection of terrorists on the Syria/Iraq border, and the boast that the US had control over the oil fields in that vicinity.

Also, dominion over the air space is crucial. As I understand it, that is now free of US planes and drones. How far that extends would be very important to all those who have shuddered at the sound of approaching engines for weddings and funerals these many years. What a sorry legacy this empire has left! And, may it have left it!

Posted by: juliania | Jan 8 2020 19:35 utc | 212

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 8 2020 19:26 utc | 204

Iran did not agree to this except they got a great deal more in return than a fireworks show.

That is my guess.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8 2020 19:38 utc | 213

It's being asked, Why no attempts to shootdown incoming missiles? IMO, the advanced warning was used by all and sundry at the base to bugout to shelters and so forth as air defense positions would certainly be targeted. The operators left their positions and hid. From the pics provided, radar sites were taken out; so if anyone was at their station at those locations, they were likely KIA. Clearly, lots of fog is making casualty assessments hard. As noted above, Escobar at his Facebook:

"Haaretz has published that a US aircraft carrying US soldiers wounded by the - very successful - Iranian missile strike landed in Tel Aviv hours ago,"

and gives the 242 figure. Why Tel Aviv? Why not the excellent facilities in Germany? And that would be more than "a aircraft."

And where are the reports related to the PMU attacks that were clearly occurring and reported upon?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 19:39 utc | 214

@ karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 19:14 utc | 196 (Turkish/Russian unity, sorta, Comrade P's speech (a good one!))

I recall that Comrade P saved Erdo's life already once, and I bet Erdo remembers too, not that there's any room for gratitude. But there is room to take a lesson for Edro...and his Yankee/zionish pals just liquidated a major figure probably more important than Erdo (pause). Maybe this provides extra incentives for Turkish/Russian solidarity...ya think?

WSWS has some innarestin words> "US assassination of Suleimani staggers Turkish government"

Erdo has Hobson's Choice. They say, inter alia, "Erdoğan said he had a phone conversation with Trump only a few hours before the assassination of Suleimani, adding, “So the matter was planned. We were shocked to hear the news. I specifically advised him not to increase tensions with Iran.”

After that one might expect Brother E thought long and hard about his own life expectancy...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 19:40 utc | 215

@164 Fog of War: " Look at the buildings hit, and then look at all the other more valuable buildings that could have been hit. Basically, it looks like they hit a couple of storage warehouses, or small hangar like buildings. Totally inconsequential"

Well...if you know what you're looking at as far as the damage assessment of this particular missile strike, you'll notice that one of the points of impact was most probably a hanger building that very likely housed some of the very same, or similar (MQ-9) drones that were used to take our Soliemani. You'll also see right next to them a series of attack helicopters. Right to the south of the damaged hangers is a simple runway that's likely used for the drones to take off from. This is where the MQ-9 drones could have taken off from for the attack against Soliemani.

Also, other damaged buildings just to the west & northwestern area in the picture were most likely the command and control centers for these drones.

So, if true of my assessment of the damage in these early pictures provided, it would appear that the Iranians not only knew where the strike originated from, but also had accurate intelligence on their command & control infrastructure as well.

It's also quite possible that the very same MQ-9 drone(s) that took out Soliemani's party were 'resting' in that destroyed hanger - meaning, the Iranians sent a direct message to the US that it could pinpoint and eliminate any specific equipment or command and control centers, or even, if necessary, even the individual operators that might have had control of the joystick at the time of attack.

Fairly impressive message I'd say...considering that they're not suppose to be capable of operating on the level of western technical sophistication according to the disinformational State Dept. & corporate media Wurlitzer.

Posted by: time2wakeup | Jan 8 2020 19:41 utc | 216

Piotr Berman

That is true - the the public rule but the public is complex, do not share the same views.
It is not only Iran that have influence. It comes from sunni regimes too, it comes from the US. It comes from Turks/kurds. That is why we didnt get that legal request we all hoped for.

"Saudi Arabia makes friends with an old enemy - Iraq"

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 19:42 utc | 217

Posted by: vk | Jan 8 2020 19:19 utc | 197

"I will take it both you and the other commenter who criticized me on this are Americans or First Worlders in the least.

The very fact people like you are inconsolable with Trump's victory is already enough evidence that proves my point. By electing Trump, you got no benefits at all "

Well, you've definitely been drawn out of the closet. A trump fluffer without doubt.

You are right about one thing, I come from a first world country, but not the US, and would like to keep it that way by spending tax dollars the right way as opposed to trump's agenda of making the extremely rich even richer and being their mouthpiece for further deadly aggression.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 8 2020 19:43 utc | 218

@ JR 168
America First Trump today:

We don't need the oil.
ISIS is 100% defeated.

That is just setting the curtain for exiting from Iraq to Kuwait and Qatar. Or face a repeat of Saigon 1975. Note: Soleimani had a hand in ISIS defeat. Trump murdered him.

"On No casualties." Funny thing @ 10:30 P.M. ET, the UK rag citing "local reports, stated 30 US soldiers had been killed." That article is now scrubbed. Mind you, the headlines World War 111 every time someone somewhere licks on an ice cream cone. Western MSM credibility died years ago.

IMO, this Iran first round retaliation is just the opening. I am reminded of old western movies. The cow boy guy pulls his gun, shoots taunting around the feet of his target before he makes the kill shot.

Trump is in love with self, He does not know when to zip his tongue; a wounded animal after being humiliated by Congress voting to impeach.

Danger ahead. He is still bragging:Trump’s Message to Tehran: We Want Bright Future for Iran, but American Missiles are Big, Accurate

and beautiful that cost $2 Trillion so
more new and powerful sanctions

That's all he got. Sanctions?

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 8 2020 19:47 utc | 219

Consider this:

The last time Iran and the USA had any major military interaction was back in the 80's when Iran was mining the Strait of Hormuz. The US and Iran have no direct diplomatic interactions. It's my understanding that they communicate through the Swiss embassy in Tehran. This is a big information black hole for both the US and Iran.

Iran is communicating to the US that, if attacked, it will destroy all Major US interests in the middle east, including infrastructure and bases. America has no real understanding of the military capabilities of Iran as Iran keeps discovering it's spy rings.

In 2019 year the US starts claiming that the Iranians are hitting supertankers with, they say mines, but the ship's captain says it's some kind of flying missile. In June Iran shots down a US spy drone. This capability seems to surprise the US. After that the Houti's start using guided missiles in their war against the Saudis and, with drones, hit the Saudi oil facilities. The US once again blames Iran, which Iran denies.

I think that the missile attack was demonstration to the US of current Iranian military sophistication, Information that is lacking due to the dearth of communication between them.

I suspect the targets were given to the Iranians in advance and they were told to hit them; the targets in the US base but being unoccupied. There were no injuries or anti-missile interceptions because there was never intended to be.

Iran is happy because it gives the US to see how precise the missiles were and allows the US to draw it's own conclusion as to the whether the Iranians can carry out their threats of retaliation. The US is happy because they can decide if a course if action is possible.

Everybody stands down to consider the new information and to, potentially, reformulate battle plans.

Was it worthy retaliation for the general ? You decide !

Posted by: ItIsMeItIs | Jan 8 2020 19:48 utc | 220

re Karlofi @214
"It's being asked, Why no attempts to shootdown incoming missiles? IMO, the advanced warning was used by all and sundry at the base to bugout to shelters and so forth as air defense positions would certainly be targeted. The operators left their positions and hid."

OK, maybe . . . is that part of the training for Patriot operators?

Seems more plausible that either there was an attempt to intercept that was a complete failure, or perhaps the Patriot systems were disabled by EW and this precluded any sort of response, or there was an order from Washington/Moscow not to intercept.

I would bet on the EW scenario or failure to intercept scenarios (or some combination of the two). Can you imagine the reaction of the military if they were ordered not to defend their base?

Posted by: Perimetr | Jan 8 2020 19:51 utc | 221

War was never an option in Trump's mind because there's no one around who could convincingly spell out how such a war would unfold. But Trump didn't know or simply wasn't aware, at the time, of the exact extent of the iranian's military capabilities when he went along with the assassination of Soleimani, thinking Iran wouldn't retaliate in such a frank and conventional way (roadside bombs and kidnapping: ok, ballistic missiles: not ok). So Iran launched its missiles, Trump blinked and the US pulled back.

But there is no going back, to a time when the US could simply drone-strike any target it deemed worthy without feeling any proportionate and direct repercussions.

The Iranians have changed the rules, literally overnight: if henceforth the US strikes an iranian target then the iranian response will be to launch an immediate retaliation strike on the base where the attack originated from (be it in Iraq, Kuwait or wherever).

And the US got the message, hence its deescalation today. Question is, how will it move forward with conducting its "business as usual" tomorrow? Will it simply pretend yesterday never happened?

Posted by: never mind | Jan 8 2020 19:52 utc | 222

"The evidence is consistent with an uncontained turbine disc rupture but other potential causes can not be ruled out."

I'm actually pretty shocked with the Iranian bias reported in this, and many other posts recently. Just what are the odds that the Boeing had an "turbine disc rupture" over Iran at the exact same moment they are on high alert launching an missile attack. Give me a break. Some trigger happy Iranian shot it down. That's why they are not turning over the black box.

This entire episode has been an absolute disaster for the Iranians. They sent no message to the US. Some out dated missiles that did no significant damage and caused no injuries. The US on the other hand have proven they can strike at the heart of the administration with pinpoint accuracy and take out whoever they want.

Posted by: Ian Dobbs | Jan 8 2020 19:52 utc | 223

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 19:05 utc | 191

That's close to what I think. The Sunnis are out of it, though, and are not going to fight for the US. I visited there a couple of years ago, and they're deeply suffering from Shi'a oppression, but that doesn't mean they're going to rise up and fight for the US. A lot of them are still Da'ish. I well remember a visit I did with the local (Sunni) governor, where in order to do the visit, we had to be surrounded by an armed guard, with guns pointing outwards, in case of Da'ish attack. I don't see the US making a deal with that.

The Kurds, they've retreated within their frontier, and have lost interest in the rest of Iraq, although they would like to retake Kirkuk.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 8 2020 19:54 utc | 224

I agree with DFC | Jan 8 2020 19:20 utc | 198 , this did nothing to avenge the General's death and actually makes Iran looked scared and impotent. The ZioAmerican zombie public don't even care as they suffered no real damage and will take this as a sign of weakness. In fact US lapdog al-Sadr is already doing his typical dance to prevent any escalation against the occupiers. Even if US troops leave, will all the US contractors ? Will the green zone be dismantled ? Will the Kurd controlled area go back under the control of the Iraqi government ? Iran hasn't accomplished anything so far.

- Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says crisis over, after Trump & Iran speak -

Posted by: Fog of War | Jan 8 2020 19:57 utc | 225

Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 19:35 utc | 211 speed/velocity.

Velocity is in one direction with zero force applied and zero friction. If input power is applied V increases in the same unaltered direction.
If drag, velocity decreases in the same direction.

If the mass moves in a gravitational field that's not aligned with the path of the object, then there is lateral motion too, and an acceleration toward that mass. These, for cannon shot, have drag, gravitational acceleration, and Coriolis effect. We call that science ballistics. This stuff was programmable (hard ROM in bronze) in the naval battleships' mechanical computers of the 1930's, and is simple enough for the "patriot" type systems - but they assume a lot. Not all assumptions are valid. Sometimes the target does not cooperate with the assumptions...the Q-2 must come in - I am guessing - Mach 3? Not any time to dither.

Speed occurs independent of velocity, sorta. Say a motorcycle rounding the dirt track going 80 km. The velocity changes, the speed does not. In a circle track it's sinusoidal.

The payloads for Q 2 logically must have some terminal guidance and that must be aerodynamic, hence the speed is (nearly) constant, but it jinks around left, right, up, down, in the "eye" of the target.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 19:57 utc | 226

Likklemore @219:

That is just setting the curtain for exiting from Iraq to Kuwait and Qatar.

I don't think USA is leaving Iraq any time soon. In fact, they are now saying that the Iraqi government (different than Parliament) haven't asked USA to leave.

I think they'll delay and obfuscate as long as possible as a civil war brews. We saw the start of this when USA had Sunni and Kurd PMs boycott the vote in Parliament.

That's all he got. Sanctions?

He's also calling for NATO engagement. That likely means Turkey's troops (mostly) entering Iraq.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2020 20:05 utc | 227

Walter @215--

Thanks for your reply! Some years ago prior to Russia's Syrian intervention, I examined where genuine Turkish national interests lay and concluded they weren't in the EU given the numerous repulses when attempting membership but rather they lay to the North and East in rekindling relations with longtime rivals Russia and Iran. Putin noted this rekindling's been ongoing for awhile:

"I would like to note that Russia has been exporting gas to Turkey for 30 years, even though not everyone knows about it. It was initially shipped through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline, then through the direct, transit-free Blue Stream pipeline. Last year alone, 24 billion cubic metres of fuel was delivered to our Turkish partners."

Turkey discovered how dependent its economy had become on Russia during the trade embargo that ensued upon the shootdown of the Mig, which IMO is the main reason a spiteful Erdogan released the torrent of refugees into the EU as he finally realized Turkey's been used for decades by the West with no real tangible benefits to show. And yes, IMO he was returning to sender Terrorists to Libya, and it was no small number as it was several thousand.

IMO, Qatar and Turkey have Seen the Light when it comes to sponsoring terrorist affiliated organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood; That all they've done is contribute to the Evil Outlaw US Empire's plan for continuous destabilization of the Persian Gulf region as part of its strategy to interdict Eurasian Integration, the latter of which is in both Qatar's and Turkey's genuine national interest.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 20:09 utc | 228

So many people are either forgetting or ignoring what Trump tweeted before last night's attack:

Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!

Last night, Iran struck American assets, if not also actual Americans. Yet nothing in Iran has been hit, let alone hit "VERY FAST AND VERY HARD". Thus Trump (and by extension the rest of the US leadership) is demonstrating weakness in their response. Iran has not only called Trump's bluff, but has shown Trump to actually be bluffing. Now it's possible that this weakness is being feigned in order to mislead Iran, but so far Trump's threat has been shown to be completely empty.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 8 2020 20:12 utc | 229

never mind @222: ... and the US got the message, hence its deescalation today.

Uh.. no. The US escalated today:

- more sanctions;

- more war rhetoric (USA has "big missiles", "Iran is a terrorist", etc.); and

- more troops via NATO engagement.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2020 20:14 utc | 230

With those poor disenfranchised American folks putting all their hope in trump and his agenda, are they realizing the benefits of their support yet? I've read 71% of young Americans can't afford to buy a home now the money men have inflated prices to the extreme. Trump's people, the money men.

Did they vote for him as a show of support for his granting every wish Netanyahu ever had?

Did they vote for him to support Netanyahu's aggression against his chosen foe, which clearly was an effort to cast the spear of fear into the hearts of Israeli's?

Demagogues and wannabes set about to rule by making the population afraid.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 8 2020 20:18 utc | 231

@ global security dot org a clear and probably fair telling about these Iranian "birds" that are the great grandchildren of Goddard and v Braun.

Qiam-1 Modernized Shahab-2m / Scud-Cm"

contains this gem> "The new Qiam features the standard four conic warhead designthat separated from the missile body as well as no fins at the base of the missile with a better guidance system for greater CEP accuracy for warhead delivery This avoids one of the major accuracy issues associated with the Scud series of missiles."

(it is not radar friendly)

I want jetwax on mine!

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 20:25 utc | 232

Thanks for the explanation.In layman terms and I would guess many professions and trades, speed and velocity are interchangeable.

Laguerre. Hopefully you are right on the Kurds and Sunnis, but the US ability to enlist proxies has always surprised me. There always seem to be corruptible people anywhere, plus others interested in using the US for their small time ends. But Iraq has changed with the killing of Soleimani. Anti US may end up trumping local grievances for the majority.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 20:25 utc | 233

@ Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 8 2020 19:43 utc | 218

I'm not pro-Trump. On the contrary, I've already stated in a previous comment here in this post that I hope Trump loses in 2020 - preferably, to the worst possible Democrat candidate (Michael Bloomberg) and in a very fraudulent way. That would further demoralize the American political system, and deepen its polarization, thus stregthening the rest of the world.

From what I've heard and talked to, the average European is offended by Trump not because he's an imperialist, but because he's vulgar: he's tarnishing the Western Civilization's name to the non-Atlanticist world. After he killed Soleimani, his support among the Democrat voters appears to have risen, not lowered; I'm sure the pattern can also be observed in Western Europe.


@ Posted by: Ian Dobbs | Jan 8 2020 19:52 utc | 223

The problem is that, so far, the Western MSM has not yet used the downing of the plane as a tool of propaganda warfare (i.e. as a casus belli), and also that it is not so simple to get out of the streets of Tehran with a missile and shoot down a plane - if that was the case, we would have much more planes downed in Tehran each month. Besides, there were no Americans in the plane, and most of the passengers were Iranian.

Posted by: vk | Jan 8 2020 20:25 utc | 234

Imperial words when attacked directly.

What is lost in all this debate whether this was Kabuki or not is that Iran went toe to toe with the empire -- directly. Pissed on the red lines set by the empire a day earlier. No need for proxies. No need for false flag from the enemies. Iran has justified legality under article 51 as Zarif pointed out.

Terror needed re-balancing, and for now, balance of terror has been established.

Iran has been patiently demonstrating its capabilities. The following terms came into the vernacular and are associated with those capabilities: Stena Impero/Adryan Darya, Khurais and Abqaiq, RQ-4A Global Hawk, PMU/PMF and many others, and now, Ain al-Asad.

US cannot afford to fight a war with Iran directly. If so, it would have to fight from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean, so, just be ready for skirmishes here and there.
I see RSH is posting here now. He has been predicting a war between the two nations by the end of 2010, end of 2011, end of 2012, and on and on, on other sites. Haven’t read enough of his comments to see if it’s now by the end of 2020?

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Jan 8 2020 20:26 utc | 235

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 8 2020 19:26 utc | 204

The stage rigging is on plain display here. This was arranged and calculated well in advance. Arranged by someone with power to compel obedience, who would expect perfect compliance to a scheme with many moving parts. So may parts of this might have gone wrong, with WW3 as the consequence of a mistake.

I completely agree, I think this entire thing is a precursor to something much worse, such as a massive false-flag that will let this conflict turn hot. Last night was but a small taste or using Iranian wording 'mosquito bite'. People are quick to dismiss that war would never be a viable option for the powers that be. When really they have been setting the stage for global calamity for quite some time. The Iran/US/Israel theater is just the first of a number of dominoes that have been carefully set up (NK-US; India-Pakistan; Russia-NATO) to name but a few. Tensions are intentionally being ratcheted up for a major cascading explosion that will ripple around the globe. The ponzi economy bubble-game they have created during the last 20 years is part of that plan to trigger even worse panic among the populace. Having said all of this, it seems to me that they want Trump to still be re-elected before things really turn sour, so there seems to be some time left, which is why the current de-escalation.

But I think both Iran and North Korea will keep the pressure on the US high throughout this election year, entirely intentional of course.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jan 8 2020 20:28 utc | 236

Posted by: Mao | Jan 8 2020 20:28 utc | 237

Damn, I'm late to the party again. It's probably been said already, but Iran's response is
pure genius. Early warning to try to avoid casualties, speaks volumes about the differences
between the evil empire and the Iranians.

Thanks b, and all. So much better coming here, as opposed to the MSM..

Posted by: ben | Jan 8 2020 20:30 utc | 238

Posted by: Mao | Jan 8 2020 20:30 utc | 239

It all depends now on Trump's reelection strategy: Will he run on bringing the troups home or will he run on another Middle East war.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8 2020 16:34 utc | 108

Were I a zionist advisor/donor to Trump, I would advise/blackmail him to do the following: Run a 2020 campaign premised on bringing the troops home, and indeed bring enough of them home (or to Germany) to make that plausible. Then, after you win the election, stage some action or invent some pretext (we control the media and can help you do both) that requires you do go to war against Iran. It will be unpopular and many of your citizens will die. But you are in your second term, we have given you lots of $$$$, and we still have that video tape from the late 1990s of you and the 14-year old eastern european girl.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 8 2020 20:31 utc | 240

Perimetr @221--

Thanks for your reply!

As I noted, there were PMU attacks made in tandem with the Iranian missile strike that may be responsible for taking out the batteries's radars and forcing the operators to seek cover from the mortar and MLRS barrage. I doubt we'll discover the truth anytime soon. EW might have been a factor as both Iranian and Russian capabilities are far superior. Also note that PressTV was able to get a cameraman close enough to film the barrage, so as I wrote last night it's very likely PMU fire was being spotted and adjusted and missile targets laser painted.

Also, there's almost no mention of the other attack at Ebril that IMO also sent a message to the Kurds to stop aiding the Empire. But there's only so much assessment one can do from home as many more questions need to be answered.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 20:32 utc | 241

gadzooks | Jan 8 2020 15:29 utc | 69

South Front has satellite photos of the damage. I am not sure of the scale but it looks as though the strikes were pretty accurate, more like 10m than 500m. Each hit seems to have been close to the centre of the destroyed building. Someone said (I forget who) that these were old scud missiles with updated guidance. If they were old scud missiiles then yes, it does look as though their guidance was good, so it could be true.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 8 2020 20:33 utc | 242

Unless one entertains the belief that Iran's missile attacks all misfired and missed their human targets-which appears to be the view that the friends of Israel and those who believe in the indefatigability of the US military, hold- then what Iran has just provided is spectacular confirmation that, short of a nuclear attack, there is nothing that the US can do, but go.

Clearly its bases cannot be defended, that is what the craters and smashed buildings are telling them. If the Secretary of Defense wants to wait for a written request to leave the country that is his privilege-he's lucky not to be living there- but there is no way that the US forces can stay there. They have become unwelcome guests.

Of course there are still those who tell us that Iraqi public opinion is divided and that the sunni and the Kurds will be willing agents of the imperialists: I don't think so. What the US has done is to unite Iraqis around nationalist objects and to close the carefully opened divide between the sects. They have come full circle since 2003 and now even the Iraqi members of ISIS (who are a small minority in the Foreign Legion of Uighurs, Bosnians, Albanians, Chechens and wahhabis) will not serve as a wedge to keep Iraqis fighting each other.
Or Iran: it has taken trillions of dollars and decades for Washington to knock it into the densest politicians' heads but now everyone understands:
"The US is our enemy, it sees us as untermenschen to be exterminated like vermin. In order to survive and to rebuild our lives and communities we must expel them. We have no choice.
First we will ask the Swiss Embassy to tell them to leave, then we will pass resolutions in Parliament, and put on fireworks displays at their bases. And they will leave."
And next will come the matter of Palestine, and the al quds Soleimani's brigade was named for. Israel is beginning to look very lonely now in the Levant- a very abusive, violent and noisy neighbour given to trespassing and larceny.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 8 2020 20:34 utc | 243


That's all he got. Sanctions?

Sanctions are act of war.

Trump has Conducted a War against Iran for many months with sanctions

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 20:35 utc | 244

As in "sanctions vs the EU doing business with"

Posted by: Mina | Jan 8 2020 20:37 utc | 245
"Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi – according to well-informed sources in Baghdad – answered that “this act may carry devastating results on the Middle East: Iraq refuses to become the theatre for a US-Iran war”. The Iranian official replied: “Those who began this cycle of violence are the US, not Iran; the decision has been taken.”

Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi informed the US forces of the Iranian decision. US declared a state of emergency and alerted all US bases in Iraq and the region in advance of the attack.

Iran bombed the most significant US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where just in the last two days, the US command had gathered the largest number of forces. Many US bases, particularly in Shia controlled areas and around Baghdad, were evacuated in the last days for security reason towards Ayn al-Assad, a base that holds anti-nuclear shelters."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 20:38 utc | 246

somebody here said that Harretz says 262 hurt, 30 dead.

If my airport got smashed I'd lie about it too. Generally one never admits casualty numbers. In this case, especially never.

To the fine gentlemen of Imperial Grace and Wisdom, the Persians and Medes are untermenchlich nutzlossen niggxrs. They had no idea how accurate those birds were because they cannot admit that their fat azzes support a feeble brain awash with nonsense and bigotry and untouched by culture or knowledge.

David and Goliath...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 20:40 utc | 247

thanks to all those sharing good info here... as for @ 198 DFC and @ 223 ian dodds post.. thanks for the extreme pro american viewpoint.. always enlightening either way...

@204 oldhippie.. thanks for your infrequent by fine posts.. i disagree with you here however in this regard.. iran is acting with great diplomacy... usa - the exact opposite.. the next time there will be no warning.. the iranians are much to smart to think any deal with the usa-israel are possible, let alone with the chimp in command at present - trump..

@229 cynica.. i agree with your viewpoint..

@230 jackrabbit... i just can't see usa-israel backing down, or leaving iraq at this point.. as another poster stated earlier - sanctions are a form of war.. the usa is run by the mic at this point.. for that matter it seems like all the western poodles buy into this thinking too and are quite okay with it all..

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2020 20:43 utc | 248

Easy to see why the US approved of Mahdi as president. A pissweak appeaser how can do no more than write letters to the UN. If he doesn't want a US Iran war in Iraq then he should be booting the yanks out as the Yanks are based there purely on Iran's account. What Mahdi is doing amounts to providing sanctuary to the US on Iran's border.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 20:44 utc | 249

@223 Ian Dobbs: "This entire episode has been an absolute disaster for the Iranians. They sent no message to the US. Some out dated missiles that did no significant damage and caused no injuries. The US on the other hand have proven they can strike at the heart of the administration with pinpoint accuracy and take out whoever they want."

Really! Counter pinpointing and taking out the MQ-9's hanger and command & control centers at Ain Assad Airbase - where the US most likely originated the attack from with extreme precision - even with what you term as: out dated missiles", is a "disaster" in whose terms? The Iranian message was crystal clear: We can also "strike at the heart" of your defenses and/or personnel at will and we don't even have to use our top shelf equipment in the process.

And if can remember the 2006 Israeli/Hezbollah conflict, it was reported that Hezbollah (trained and partially equipped by Iran) didn't even engage the bulk of their forces, including their elite commandos in the war - preferring to reserve their best fighting units and overall firepower, so as to be able to fight on for another day should the conflict and circumstances warrant.

This is exactly how Iran is currently operating. No need to use your more expensive, "stop shelf" weapons when the perfectly usable "bottom, or middle shelf" weapons get the job done.

Mr. Dobbs, I would advice you to better familiarize yourself with Iranian Military and Strategic planning and operations. Less is sometime is much more.

Posted by: time2wakeup | Jan 8 2020 20:45 utc | 250

for your further edification there's also this.

Posted by: john | Jan 8 2020 20:45 utc | 251

@248 I'm American and would prefer Americans not dying to the alternative. If Trump+Iran have stood down, then the world can breathe a side of relief, for now.
Trump looked rough at his press conference. Perhaps being kept awake beyond his bedtime took a toll on him, or maybe he didn't have an opportunity to take a dump. I'm just speculating, of course, but if that's all it took to end this crisis then I'll take it

Posted by: aaaa | Jan 8 2020 20:46 utc | 252

@ lone wolf... bye, bye... why would anyone bother to get worked up about your post? lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2020 20:47 utc | 253

@Lone Wolf #248

Some of us are indeed quite skeptical that there were no casualties reported whatsoever - by "Western" media outlets. This commenter previously noted that it would be in the US establishment's interest to downplay the impact of the attack as much as possible. Furthermore, to those who are wondering how true casualty figures could be prevented from being leaked, all the US government has to do is declare such information classified, at which point it becomes a serious felony (think Snowden or Manning) to leak it.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 8 2020 20:48 utc | 254

Posted by: DFC | Jan 8 2020 19:20 utc | 198

>>b) The fact that Suleimani was a national hero for a nation of 82 million people and also for 150 million of shia around the world, mourned by millions in the streets, make a bigger Trump "victory" over the Iranian "regime", and it is a powerful advice to the others leaders and commanders in the world that try to fight or oppose to USA.

This is not a gain, the US will be hated and sabotaged by the many shia groups across the world (a young and growing demographic with combat experience), and there will be many covert activities against it all over the place. An american dying here and there, a US company sabotaged here and there. The US will be very busy fighting shia groups undercover just as it needs to compete with Russia and China, not to mention the security costs. They will probaly give tacit support to some sunni groups already fighting the US. Taliban getting manpads and targeting info of US presence in Afghainstan? No, this is not good news for the US. It means having more and more enemies everywhere and dividing resources into many fronts. Taking on Russia, China and Iran/Iraq/Shia Crescent will to be too much. The debt clock is ticking.

>>g) The retaliation of the PMU lob some katyusha rockets in the backyard of few US bases

No, they will simply make it impossible for any american to get out outside of the Embassy in Iraq. Workers, companies etc. will be driven out by harrassment.

>>h) Trump is defiant about not leaving Iraq, I think at the end they will go but after they have a very good deal. Of course it is all about the Iraqi oil, in exchange for the American blood and money wasted in Iraq. Iraq has the biggest oil reserves in the world and USA want a good chunk of them, they never ever leave "giving" all of them to the Chinese or Iranians or anybody else. Trump does not want US soldiers in Iraq, but he wants the oil above anything else (it is condition "sine qua non" to maintain the Empire)

You don't know much about Iraq then. Iraq (including elites) does not want the US there. It does not want to be a battlefield and it does not want to have Shia leaders attacked in their own country. This is a Red Line for iraqis. Muqtada Al Sadr, the most influential person in Iraq, who kicked the arse of the US occupation in 2004-2007 wants the US and even the Embassy out, embargo on US products, etc. Iraqi shia are not intimidated by the US, far from it, they have seen far worse in the past and that only angered them even more. Iraq will move into China-Russia-Iran orbit, this is a done deal. A chinese delegation just arrived in Iraq to provide security solutions for the country.

>> Trump has now the full enthusiastic support of the AIPAC and all the others powerful Israeli lobby he will have more money than required for the election. He has demonstrated he is the best possible POTUS for Israel.

This is debatable, considering that 80 % of US jews voted against Trump. Israel is not the only issue for US jews. They do not like loud mouthed white racists. US media is an expression of US jews and US media continues to be highly hostile to Trump. If they really wanted him, media would be supportive.

j) In the short term USA will leave Syria and in the medium term Iraq, OK, but they never ever leave "all the region", they need to be there to maintain the "American Way of Live" (US $ as reserve currency)

There will be less US presence in the Middle East and it won't be just Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan drawdowns. US debt levels point to unsustainable military spending. That is, in 2025 - 2030 the US will be forced to cut military spending significantly. Even now the US is cutting the number of ships due to lack of money. So in general, there will be less US presence everywhere, including in the Middle East. Too much debt.

As for Iraq, the US HQ for Iraq was just evacuated to Kuwait, US forces stopped operations and are confinded to their bases (defacto house arrest), and US workers are fleeing the country.

>>If nothing dramatically change, I expect a crushing victory of Trump in the coming US election, he has all the cards now in his hand, and he will not waste them.

And i see people in the US and all over the world deeply disturbed by his behavior. People want calm, not never ending drama, threats, sexism, racism, vulgarity and warmongering. Women (majority of voters) do not like such behavior. Women and minorites are very hostile to Trump due to this. Republicans lost the House and it looks like someone did not get the message. Even if Trump somehow wins, this will lead to civil war like situation in the US due to the changing demographics. Minorities DO NOT want Trump and their numbers will only be increasing far into the future. This means growing division and infighting within the US.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 8 2020 20:48 utc | 255

Further to post 220:

The US does not like unfriendly countries firing missiles at them. They're funny like that. To fire rockets at a US base and for the US not retaliate, necessitates a really good reason. That good reason was the death of the general, assassinated on foreign soil (on a diplomatic passport) that "demanded" a retaliatory strike. Everything else was PR or theater to get it past the public.

It allowed both sides to milk the PR for all its worth. Trump said 'the US has the greatest military' and framed it as 'Iran is standing down'. Trump's tweet "all is good" was direct signalling to the Iranians and his tweet to 'choose an appropriate target was as well'. Iran milked it as well.

It explains why no leaders looked *personally* concerned. Putin was in Syria to see Assad and then Turkey to open Turkstream. Other leaders did not seem concerned either, just business as usual.

Posted by: ItIsMeItIs | Jan 8 2020 20:48 utc | 256

Karlof1 @ 196 '...US/NATO--no longer have any control over the situation."

The Americans lost control months ago.

All you Americans commenting about it being 'kabuki theatre','face saving for Iran', 'staged', Iran is weak etc. is because you cannot entertain the thought that everything you have ever been taught about the invincibility of your country, the superiority of your military has been exposed as completely fraudulent.
A lifetime of indoctrination, from the day you are born to the day you die. Delusional stupidity from the clowns who think they have 'won'.

You lot all seem to have short memories - remember what happened back in June 20th 2019?

American hubris and arrogance prevented you for learning anything from that incident.

With this latest attack the Iranians did not have to prove the effectiveness of their weapon systems.
What they had to do was show that they were quite prepared to give you Americans a short sharp kick in your collective bollocks, with the promise of much worse if necessary.

Do you honestly think that the Iranians could not have slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of your low IQ cannon fodder?

You look at this through the eyes of an American, that is why you see it as 'kabuki' and 'face saving' weakness, because as an American your answer is wholesale slaughter. Body count is your metric of success.

Posted by: ted01 | Jan 8 2020 20:50 utc | 257

17 rockets and no casualties. BS. Either this was a face saving plan between the US and Iran or the bases were warned beforehand and evacuated....

Posted by: Charlie Chan | Jan 8 2020 20:55 utc | 258

Cynica | Jan 8 2020 20:12 utc | 229

Dick measuring benefits no one, especially the little people.

" When Elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers "

Wise old Swahili Chief.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 8 2020 20:58 utc | 259

Two Rockets Fall in Green Zone in Iraqi Capital of Baghdad

If this is Iran. This is getting ridiculous and wont be appreciated by Iraq.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 20:59 utc | 260

I certainly agree with those saying that the missile attacks were a show of force, but to call it a bluff or an empty gesture misses the point, in my opinion. Much like cowboys shooting each other's hats off, it demonstrates the ability and resolve to enter into a duel and emerge victorious, without escalating into a full blown shoot-out. Iran had the option of inflicting mass casualties, while analysts posited the potential for largely symbolic attacks in the cyber-sphere or covert action. The calculation going forward will necessarily take the former option into account, meaning unannounced strikes on American military personnel in the region. Depending on the equipment that was destroyed in the attack, US commanders may have reason to worry about the effectiveness of Iranian intelligence coupled with precision of weapons. All the while, American forces were left a path to withdraw so as to avoid inescapable confrontation, p. Sun Tzu.

As for the planecrash, I've already expressed my opinion in the previous thread and agree with those who posit it too much of a coincidence to be safely dismissed as such. At this time, however, numerous explanations for the event seem equally plausible, save one. An Iranian accidental shoot-down does not seem at all plausible, since the plane crashed minutes after take-off, as opposed to crossing into Iranian air-space -- if Iran is responsible, it will have been an intentional act.

However, in contrast with the case of MH17, the international response has been relatively subdued so far, with mostly marginal actors attributing the blame to Iran. If it was intended as a frame-up, one might expect the same knee-jerk reaction as we saw with MH17, where Donbas separatists and ultimately Russia were formally implicated within 12 hours.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 8 2020 21:01 utc | 261

America cant retaliate because they know the next blow will bleed. They were unable to intercept the incoming missiles because US point defences are mediocre. Once a projectile gets past the patriots, not a difficult task, they will only face some rail mounted stingers and 20 mm cannon. Has to be scarry for the dumb grunts.

Posted by: Nemo | Jan 8 2020 21:01 utc | 262

@ lone wolf

I won't attack you or your post, but it is no good manners to enter somebody's house and speak shit. If your family didn't teach you this, and your education didn't manage to polish the animal in you, then you are a lost case, no need to deal with you. You'll live on mother earth and then die without having any good impact whatsoever.

good riddance

Posted by: albagen | Jan 8 2020 21:02 utc | 263

Bubbles @231--

People voted for Trump primarily for two reasons: Obama and the D-Party had stabbed them in the back allowing millions to lose their homes while the fraudulent banksters got away scot-free and with $Trillions too-boot, and they knew Clinton was a deranged warmonger while Trump talked reasonably about the Outlaw US Empire's many Imperial Follies. In short, Trump was seen by many as the lesser of two evils. No, I voted Green.

If you read Dr. Hudson's analysis and the transcript from this show, you'll be informed about a great many facts about the Outlaw US Empire that the vast majority of its citizens are unaware of thanks to BigLie Media. And I could direct you to dozens of additional examples that provide even more facts about the situation, the core of the problem and potential solutions.

Many good academics and others have tried to inform the USA's citizenry about the why of their dilemma and provided suggestions for action, but their voices are drowned out by what's known as the Establishment Narrative parroted by BigLie Media. IMO, Sanders would have waxed Trump in 2016, but he was clearly the target of a conspiracy to prevent him from gaining the D-Party nomination. IMO, the only reason he endorsed Clinton was he knew of the sort of domestic mayhem Trump and the R-Party would wreck upon his supporters. Please, before denigrating the masses within the Evil Outlaw US Empire, try to discover why they behave as they do. Lumping them all together and calling them dumb fuck-wits won't get you anywhere and only serves to exacerbate things.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 21:03 utc | 264

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 20:38 utc | 246

It sounds as though Abdel Mahdi is being forced into the popular opinion. The US is being reduced into its best defended bases. Where from there, when those bases are isolated?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 8 2020 21:03 utc | 265

james @249: i just can't see usa-israel backing down

Are you agreeing or disagreeing?

In the comment of mine that you refer to ( @230 ), I correct the mis-perception that Trump "de-escalated".

<> <> <> <> <>

Note: We should expect more such mis-perceptions from Trump apologists who push the canard/false narrative that America First Trump is a peaceful, caring guy.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2020 21:05 utc | 266

@ foolisholdman | Jan 8 2020 20:33 utc | 242

Not old. see global security dor org "Qiam-1
Qiam-1 Modernized Shahab-2m / Scud-Cm,"

I am reposting this.

The Iranians care, they sent some of the best gifts, and they're rightly proud of them. A Hallmark kinna time, the Holidays n all that.

Brother, I have read about the problems involved, I took some calculus long ago, but the engineering behind what Iran has demonstrated in very complex. They put the clown on the back foot.

There is a realignment of strategy in the Celestial Heaven of DC... Not a change in goal, just "whaddwe do now, how r we gunna smash 'em"...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 21:05 utc | 267

The US did not escalate today. Trump’s speech was all bluster and falsehood, directed almost exclusively to American audience in the interest of domestic politics. If anything, the call for NATO to step up was an indication the Americans planned to step back. The Turks will not be pouring troops into Iraq. Trump was referring to the Europeans. The US corporate media continues to report with subdued tone, with ultra hawkish Fox News continuing to describe the struck airbases as “Iraqi facilities”.

Posted by: jayc | Jan 8 2020 21:06 utc | 268

Lone Wolf

Not many good independent journalists and analysts in the world but b is one of them. Analysing publicly available information and writing his take on it. Just few like Escobar and Magnier that travel and talk to sources. Then theirs the ex ambassador types who have their own experiences plus at times inside sources. Perhaps they are not spot on all the time but all are worth reading to get their views.
You want to run down b, don't use my name. i'm a little blunter than james. Piss off.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 21:07 utc | 269

RT >

BREAKING: Rocket fire into Baghdad’s Green Zone

Like I said, it's not over.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 21:09 utc | 270

Cynica @256,

"This commenter previously noted that it would be in the US establishment's interest to downplay the impact of the attack as much as possible."


This is true only on the assumption that the "US establishment" is united in seeking to de-escalate with Iran. But evidence suggests that at least two members of that establishment--Pompeo and Esper--are clearly not interested in de-escalation (notwithstanding Pompeo's directive to the embassies). For them, the death of dozens of American soldiers could only be a good thing, as it would easily be manipulated in the press to motivate the US populace's desire for retribution.

It is also possible that what Pompeo and Esper and Netanyahoo are seeking to accomplish is to maintain the highest level of tension possible without precipitating actual war. This is because all parties recognize that actual war with Iran would entail the destruction of much of Israel's infrastructure and many thousands of Israeli casualties, and these are prices too high to pay for the overthrowing of even the "evil" Iranian "regime".

De-escalation with Iran hurts Netanyahoo; actual war with Iran hurts Netanyahoo. What helps Netanyahoo is the constant threat of war with Iran along with the public perception that only he, of all Israeli politicians, has the sufficient resolve to face down the Persian menace. Because I am of the view that Israel is not just an outpost of the US empire but in many cases the tail that wags the dog of this empire, I fully expect that the US will continue to seek to ride the escalation-de-escalation wave with Iran until Netanyahoo either stabilizes his domestic position in Israel or loses it altogether.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:10 utc | 271

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 19:25 utc | 203

Actually the Hashd Al Shaabi militia, which is part of the Iraqi military, wanted to take over the US Embassy and Mehdi threatened to resign over that, not over the protests in general or the harrassment of the US Embassy. This is why iraqi troops stayed out as the Embassy was besieged. He chose China over the US for reconstruction of Iraq and made very compromising remarks about Trump (how he threatened to put snipers killing people in Iraq, how Soleimani was there for diplomatic mission as peace envoy, etc.)

Mehdi is an expression of the majority Shia sentiment in Iraq - it is him who came to Parliament to demand a resolution for US withdrawal from the country.

As for Iraqi Shia sentiment, numerically speaking, 80 % of Shia MPs and the PM demanded a US withdrawal from the country.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 8 2020 21:13 utc | 272

What is the source for the account that the Swiss embassy received advance warning of the missile strike?

I haven’t seen it elsewhere. I’m not saying that to knock it, but since b doesn’t mention or link to a source, and I don’t see it discussed in comments, I’d like to know where he got that report from. says Iran reached out through various channels, “including through Switzerland and other countries”, but after the strike, to make known there was nothing else on the way.

Posted by: David G | Jan 8 2020 21:14 utc | 273

ted01 @259--

I wrote a comment late last night condemning those saying this was all Theatre that never got posted to the thread. It was one of the most vehement comments I've ever made. The words you're trying to insert into my mouth have--again--cause me to say FOAD to you.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 21:15 utc | 274

Bubbles @ 103 opined:

"Trump has accomplished 3 things in 3 years."

1. "Being Santa Claus to Netanyahu, the far right and the very rich (Generous donors)"
2."Doing the impossible, making Hillary look like the better of 2 terrible choices"
3." Proving 42% of the American public aren't too swift."

Proof that truth can be funnier than fiction..LOL

Posted by: ben | Jan 8 2020 21:15 utc | 275

WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:10 utc | 273

If Iran succeeds in forcing the Empire out, then obviously the zionists would be unable to remain more than briefly. But without zionists Jews and Arabs have always got along reasonably well... So we may imagine "Israel" going through a "phase change" when Empire departs...because then the decent people can have a say in things, then justice may prevail - something all Abrahamic Creeds respect and call for as a basic foundation. Of course there's nothing pretty about a civil war in Israel, or as it is at present "forward operating base zion"

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 21:19 utc | 276

BREAKING: Rocket fire into Baghdad’s Green Zone

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 21:09 utc | 272

The Shi'a militias don't like the Americans. So what's going to happen?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 8 2020 21:19 utc | 277

Debating the accuracy of body count reminds me of America's / Westmoreland's measure of success in Vietnam.

Is that where the Bar flys want to go?

So many memories. Best said by Chuck Hagels brother when he was trying to jolt Chuck out of his decision to be part of the same government organs that took them to Vietnam.

'You remember chuck, you remember the Sargent that climbed up and grabbed the 50 cal and opened up on the orphanage. You remember Chuck, we were both there.'

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 8 2020 21:20 utc | 278

Jimmy Kilpatrick #62

"the Gateway Pundit reports...." Jimmy you go there for absurd comic relief. Never for news. That site is ridiculous but extremely funny for a cynic like me. It does loony right wing propaganda for mostly red cap wearing Trumpistas. But it is fun to post at from time to time (but beware of venomous retaliation).

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 8 2020 21:27 utc | 279

Passer By

Actually what they said about foreign troops:

"The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason."

Mahdi have tried hard to disband PMU.
That is the PMU that US, Israel have been bombing for months.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 21:28 utc | 280

jayc @270:

The US did not escalate today. Trump’s speech was all bluster and falsehood ...

Trump did escalate as I explained @230:

- more sanctions;
- more rhetoric ("big missiles", Iran as a terrorist State, etc.);
- call for NATO troops (no mention that they would replace US troops).

... the call for NATO to step up was an indication the Americans planned to step back.

There's no indication of that and USA Mil. is saying that they haven't been asked to leave. And the additional sanctions and similar rhetoric indicate that current US strategy is unchanged.

The Turks will not be pouring troops into Iraq. Trump was referring to the Europeans.

Trump said he would request that NATO be involved. Turkey has the second-largest army after USA and is in the region.

If Turkey doesn't participate then I'd guess they'll be thrown out of NATO.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2020 21:29 utc | 281

It's on again ladies and gentlemen

Several rockets hit ‘100 meters away’ from US embassy, cause fire in Baghdad’s Green zone – police source

@Lone Wolf

I was posting those figures and links on ZH last night. If the US government can deceive its public from a false-flag like the USS Liberty and pigeon-hole it for over fifty years, its claims should always be taken with a grain of salt.

I've been trying to follow-up on confirmations of those reports from last night, but was unable to do so today. Of course it does not mean they will not appear. Good to see more skeptical people here.

Posted by: jsb | Jan 8 2020 21:30 utc | 282

Lone Wolf @248,

It makes sense for Iranian state media to embellish the damage done by their strike for domestic reasons. It also makes sense for US corporate/state media to minimize the damage done by the strike for domestic reasons--but only on the hypothesis that the US has decided, for the time being, to seek de-escalation.

If we are not sure that the US really does seek de-escalation, then we have grounds for thinking that the official US claim of zero casualties is closer to the truth than the Iranian claim of 80 casualties. I don't see the benefit of the US downplaying its casualties if it intends to pursue escalation; for purposes of motivating the US populace to support escalation, the more American soldiers killed in the strike, the better.

This still does not tell us which account--the Iranian or the American--is closer to the truth. But it does tell us something. Namely: EITHER the US has decided to pursue de-escalation in the short term regardless of casualties OR the actual number of US casualties really is zero. The OR is non-exclusive.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:30 utc | 283

Laguerre | Jan 8 2020 21:19 utc | 280

In war nobody knows what's going to happen. One may bet. I'd bet on the establishment empires they've been doing empire for thousands of years and they're smart, and they have most of the earth's land surface, and they're facing mere bandits, and ignorant ones at that.

I also bet that the strategic realignment the bandits will come up with is to suborn treason by blackmail and bribery and murder in dark alleys - that works well enough on the USSR.


I don't count bodies, but it's not credible than there were no injuries or deaths. Harretz counted them, not me.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 8 2020 21:32 utc | 284

Ian Dobbs | Jan 8 2020 19:52 utc | 223:

This entire episode has been an absolute disaster for the Iranians. They sent no message to the US.

Disaster? How so? The Iranians have just displayed that they can and will attack targets with precision. No message? Seriously? You've missed the bigger picture. Iran have scored one on the Strategic level. What you're also missing is that Iraq is moving even closer to Iranian and Chinese-Russian orbit.

The missile strikes is also a message to Iranian regional competitors. I can guarantee you Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have taken notice.

I'm expecting more small level attacks on US assets in Iraq and it'll likely spread to other neighboring countries. Death by a thousand cuts. In the end, the US will have no choice but to leave Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 8 2020 21:34 utc | 285

WJ @286:

I don't see the benefit of the US downplaying its casualties if it intends to pursue escalation

See my comment @80.

IMO The primary goal is to remove Iranian leadership, not engage in a costly war (though they might be 'OK' with that as an alternative).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2020 21:35 utc | 286

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 8 2020 21:27 utc | 282

"the Gateway Pundit reports...."

Feeding hungry trumplanders

Networking I think is the appropriate word.

It's so, 1930 ish.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 8 2020 21:38 utc | 287

Further from mine @276:

Scott Ritter also says there was advance warning, though via the Iraqi government, not mentioning the Swiss embassy in Tehran:

Iran communicated its intent to strike US targets in Iraq directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister a full two hours prior to the missiles being launched; Iraq then shared this information with US military commanders, who were able to ensure all US troops were in hardened shelters at the time of the attack.

Ritter doesn’t give his sourcing either. Of course the significant thing is that such advance warning was given at all. I’d just like to know how solid the factual basis is, and to what extent it is officially confirmed by any of the relevant governments.

Posted by: David G | Jan 8 2020 21:38 utc | 288

Jackrabbit @289

IMO The primary goal is to remove Iranian leadership, not engage in a costly war (though they might be 'OK' with that as an alternative).


I think you may be right about this. It is, of course, a totally delusional goal. But given who we are dealing with this is perhaps not surprising.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:39 utc | 289

fyi from the great white north...

Canadian Military Personnel in Iraq Safe After Base Targeted in Iran Missile Strikes

"The Canadian Forces have flown dozens of Canadians, Americans and other allied troops out of Iraq ahead of Iranian missile strikes on multiple military bases. The attack began around 1:30 am local time Wednesday in Iraq and targeted American and allied troops at two military bases in Iraq: The Ain Al-Awad base and another near Erbil. Canadian soldiers are stationed at Erbil.

Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance tweeted Tuesday evening that all Canadian military personnel in Iraq are safe. The DND is still assessing what happened and Canadian special operations forces remain in Iraq.

Domestically, sources say some Canadian police and national security organizations are preparing to move into a heightened state of readiness due to concerns of Iranian assets in the country..."

Trudeau Says Plane Crash That Killed 63 Canadians Will Be 'Thoroughly Investigated'

"Trudeau is expected to hold a news conference and take questions this afternoon on the crash - one of the deadliest disasters involving Canadians in decades. The cause of the crash, which happened just after the Boeing 737-800 aircraft took off from the Tehran airport is still unknown..."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jan 8 2020 21:41 utc | 290

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 21:28 utc | 283

Do not mistake iraqi nationalism (a desire to have some control over iranian supported millitias) for a desire to have the US staying there. The Red Line for iraqi shia is a US witdrawl from the country, since they do not want it to become a battlefield between Iran and the US, they do not want iranian holly sites damaged in a war between the two, and they do not want to have shia leaders droned in their own country. Al Sadr too is not a fan of Iran, but he does not want the US there. They all know that a US drone can kill them at any moment for whatever, so they do not want the US there and will kick it out.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 8 2020 21:42 utc | 291

Earthquakes are a nearly daily occurrence in Iran, the mountain range is the juncture of two tectonic plates.
Most are mild tremors with a big one every twenty rears or so that kills thousands.

Posted by: winston2 | Jan 8 2020 21:42 utc | 292

If US soldiers were killed by the attack, this can't be hidden forever; sooner or later, coffins will go back home and families will be informed. Specially if it's as high as 80. Though for the moment, the Pentagon can stay quiet, and won't publicly acknowledge it, the bodies will have to come back to the US and be buried - as far as I know, they're not janissaries but US military, most have relatives, friends and family and can't be disappeared just like that.
The USS Liberty is a different situation: the US didn't hide for decades that people were lost in the bombing, it didn't acknowledge that it was a deliberate attack. Pretty much the opposite case to the present one.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 8 2020 21:43 utc | 293

About whether any died in the Iran attack

Iran told the US they were going to attack and what areas.

Of course the US military is not going to abandon its radar installation is it? Maybe there were a few others stationed where survival was iffy. If they die then not surprising that their deaths were covered up because they were told those areas would be hit.

That is the reason we had the Trump presser today that was projection of, we got the message, don't do any more...stand down.

If the latest about bombs in the Baghdad Green Zone are accurate then either more Iran or some other factor wanting to trigger US response or ???

We are all still alive so China/Russia is backstopping Iran from nuclear attack seems clear

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 8 2020 21:43 utc | 294

Events continue:

"Moqtada al-Sadr advices to prepare for the battle by closing all Hashd al-Shaabi offices to avoid offering easy targets to the #US when the decision of armed resistance is decided and if the US refuses to withdraw from Iraq."

This assessment's been made by several here already, but I feel the need to echo it:

The Evil Outlaw US Empire has three choices when it comes to Iraq: It can reinvade; it can withdraw; or it can fight to try and remain and be forced out through military defeat.

Domestically, the only choice that will fly is #2: Withdraw. That choice also involves withdrawal from Eastern Syria, a process that appears to have already begun.

Additional fallout not being mentioned. The R-Party ought to begin looking for a suitable POTUS candidate.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 8 2020 21:44 utc | 295

winston2 @295,

If this were the old days then Yahweh would just cause a couple big earthquakes and Israel's problems would be solved!!

Posted by: WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:44 utc | 296

Arby @ 28:

"Wonder who the Canadians were flying from Tehran to Ukraine. Seems odd. I wouldn't think that Tehran and Ukraine were tourist destinations for your average Canuck particularly one after the other."

Perhaps the Canadians were Ukrainian and Iranian Canadians flying a group of Iranians to Kiev for the purpose of training them in regime-change tactics and putting them into boot-camp to learn how to use weapons sent in from other parts of Europe?

Perhaps some of those Canadians were travelling on false Canadian passports?

I better stop, my imagination is becoming overheated.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8 2020 21:44 utc | 297

Jen @300,

I've seen it mentioned in two or three places that the Canadians were "students" and that Kiev is a regular stop for Canadians traveling the route to and from Iran.

No idea whether the latter is true. But I do wonder how a bunch of Canadian "students" could recently decide it a good idea to travel to Iran, given the past year or so of current events.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:49 utc | 298

karlof1 @ 277

I was actually agreeing with you - the US has lost control - it lost control months ago.

I probably should have thanked you first.

English comprehension does not seem to be your strong point - I was referring to the endless conga line of American fuckwits parroting the 'kabuki staged' line.

I have no idea what FOAD means, but I will take it as a compliment.

Posted by: ted01 | Jan 8 2020 21:51 utc | 299

In the James Corbett Video "RYAN CRISTIAN ON THE ASSASSINATION OF SOLEIMANI" ( ), near the end, this website MoA is recommendedto be visited

Posted by: Joerg | Jan 8 2020 21:52 utc | 300

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