U.S. and Iran hold back, move away from all-out war
In a brief speech Wednesday about failure with Iran, Trump stated that “Iran appears to be standing,” and said Americans should be grateful and relieved that no lives were lost in Iran’s missile attack on bases, mainly because of “an early warning system that worked very well.” The President’s account seemed to be entainted by the opinion of experts who suggested that Iran pulled its blows during the missile attack to prevent escalation while appeasing its restless internal constituency.
The “fierce offensive” Iran promised in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of its general Qassim Suleimani involved 22 missiles fired at two bases in Iraq that, according to U.S. officials, caused some structural damage and no human casualties. Some analysts suggested that it was a deliberately shot down attack aimed at public stance and the deactivation of internal anger in Iran, while others felt it was a decoy for a more serious undercover attack to follow.
President Trump, who had promised a disproportionate response in the event of Iran retaliating, was also circumspect, saying the United States will “continue to evaluate options,” including imposing additional unspecified sanctions.
“Everything is fine! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of the casualties and damage that are taking place now. So far so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped army anywhere in the world by far! I’ll make a statement tomorrow morning,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night.
It’s all right! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties and damage… https://t.co/5OSmLxzhin
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1578451524000
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javas Zarif wrote: “Iran took and concluded proportionate self-defense measures under article 51 of the United Nations Charter against the base of which a cowardly armed attack was launched against our citizens and senior officials. We do not seek escalation or war, but we will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
At least one Us expert suggested that Iran deliberately chose targets that would not result in the loss of American lives under a policy of “minimum damage, maximum warning effect.”
Iran reportedly also notified Iraq of the imminent retaliatory attack on the US base in Ayn al-Assad, where drones that killed General Sulemani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis are said to have taken off. The Iraqis in turn warned the United States, allowing it to take precautionary measures to prevent the loss of life.
However, the country’s “supreme” leader, Ayatollah Khameini, said the United States was given a “slap,” but attacks alone are “not enough” and called for U.S. troops to be expelled from the region.
While there was disbelief, and also relief – about how a wave of missiles in what Iran called “Operation Martyr Suleimani” could not take a single life, the Iranian media called it “the first step in revenge” for the murder of a stosavoc general whose funeral resulted in even more loss of life in Iran, killed in a stampede.
Also in the United States, there were people with itch in action. “Your destiny is in your own hands in terms of the economic viability of the regime. If you go on with this shit, you’re going to wake up a day out of the oil business,” Senator Lindsey Graham warned.
But Trump himself was restrained in his speech, going so far as to say that the United States did not want to use its arsenal of lethal missiles after boasting of its capabilities. In fact, he attacked his predecessor Barack Obama (without naming him) as much as Iran, saying that the “dumb nuclear deal” designed by the Obama administration had put $150 billion in Iranian hands, and instead of saying “thank you” to the United States, the Iranian regime said “death to the United States” and went on a “terrorist wave” in the region.
The US president wanted European allies to reassess and separate theself from the remnants of the nuclear deal, while committing that as long as he was the President, Iran would never be able to acquire nuclear weapons.
Iran, which claimed 80 U.S. casualties (the US Joint Command said there was no loss of life), was also at the dock on a Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 that crashed shortly after the takeoff of Tehran’s main international airport, killing all 170 people on board. While Iranian state media claimed that the plane crashed due to technical difficulties, it was speculated that it was hit by a stray missile, a theory compounded by Iran’s refusal to deliver the plane’s black boxes to Boeing.
The incident caused many airlines to redirect flights from Iran and Iraqi airspace.
Experts also weighed the long-term consequence of the U.S.-Iran shock, from rising oil prices to the near certainty that Tehran will go on street sale to quickly go to nuclear power to acquire the kind of protective shield that North Korea and Pakistan have.
Video: No Americans Was Wounded in Iranian Attacks: Trump