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2020-01-08 
The Four Hour War
by Fred

In the space of four hours yesterday, the Medes and the Persians took Dire Revenge™ for the death of Qassem Soleimani. Anyone who has ever been involved in actual military operations is laughing their asses off today.

The Experts® who had been on the teevee telling us that nothing was going to happen because blah blah blah, whatever it was, were left not really red-faced, since there's no shame among them, but maybe a little less sure in their convictions. I don't think the news networks stop payment on their checks, but they probably should think about it. I know those Expert® opinions don't come cheap.

It all started out scary enough. A senior US source told Fox News, who presumably told everybody else, that they were under missile attack "all over the country!" That turned out to be Ain al-Asad Airbase, Taiji, and Irbil. No Kirkuk, Mosul, Baghdad, not even Basra or al-Kut.

The IRGC said they were going to attack any regional state that became a platform for US aggression, which meant pretty well everybody in the region with the possible exception of Oman. I think they had fantasies of showering Dubai with missiles, since they mentioned them by name. That's assuming they could hit Dubai, of course. They did hit Saudi Aramco a while back, but the missile came in from the north. Maybe they were in sight of the place when they launched. They haven't really hit much else.

They did hit Ain al-Abas Airbase, which is about the size of Vermont, and two missiles did hit Irbil, which is even bigger. Khamenei was right there in the bunker, directing operations. If I'm ever in a military operation again, I sure hope the Pope or maybe the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Dalai Lama is running things.

The Persians, or maybe it was the Medes (who can tell these days?) crowed that they had launched "tens" of missiles. Actually it was about fifteen, which would be 1.5 tens, according to the CENTCOM guy. Four were duds. Of the remainder, one hit an open field in the middle of nowhere, one landed in an open field in Irbil and gave up the ghost without going kaboom.

The US and presumably the Iraqi commands were in heightened readiness after Soleimani departed this Vale of Tears for a Warmer Place. We can assume the intel people were hard at work. The sirens went off in plenty of time. Everybody headed for the bunkers and counted the 500kg explosions. One tweet did say there was a plane or two damaged. Guess the Iraqis will have to buy replacements. They're the ones who reported the damage, so I'm guessing they were theirs.

Nobody was hurt in “Operation Martyr Soleimani.” Or maybe it was "Operation Fierce Revenge." I'm sure the grimaces were fearsome, whatever they decided to call it. They announced both.

There were two waves of attacks, not that the guys playing pinochle in the bunkers really noticed. The waves weren't really well-defined. The IRGC did announce that if there was any retaliation, any at all, they would launch the third wave and destroy Haifa and Dubai, and maybe Copenhagen or someplace like that. Someplace with a Jewish Community Center anyway. We'd really be sorry.

The White House said that President Trump was going to address the nation, then changed its mind so the Iranians could stew until tomorrow, which would be today. Robert De Niro suggested Twitter should suspend Trump's account for getting us into another war. Tucker Carlson was in high dudgeon on the teevee, I'm not too sure over what. I lost interest pretty quick and changed the channel to CNN, where Fredo Cuomo sounded more reasonable, almost respectful of the Commander-in-Chief.

IRGC claimed thirty American casualties to none of theirs. Since they were back in Iran pushing buttons, nowhere near the impact zone, it's not surprising none of them were hurt. Everybody else said there were no American casualties, which is why they still have Qom.

Singapore Airlines was first, but they were followed by a bunch of others, diverting from Iranian airspace. Ukraine didn't get the memo, and one of their planes with 180 souls on board crashed in an enormous fireball on takeoff from Tehran International. The Boeing 737 had "technical problems," stemming from an antiaircraft missile in the starboard engine.

On social media, whatever they use, IRGC said they took out "command and control infrastructure, detection, radar, electronic warfare and, more so, the American brains, eyes, and ears in the region." These consisted of dirt and maybe some concrete when they damaged the Iraqi planes. Their own planes, a collection of F4's, F5's, F14's, biplanes, triplanes, blimps, and dirigibles, took to the skies. A half dozen American F35's took off from Dubai. The pilots probably waved to the antiques as they flew rings around them.

After that... Nothing happened. The war was over. At 9:37 pm, four hours after the whole thing started, Iran surrendered to the UN Security Council. Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, tweeted:
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
As I wended my weary way up the stairs to go to bed, I could hear the Experts® on the teevee stating with certainty that the missiles had missed intentionally and our guys were just lucky to be alive.

And Trump is dumb.
Posted by Fred 2020-01-08 1:55:44 AM|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [2192 views ]  Top

#1 ^
Posted by newc 2020-01-08 03:24||   2020-01-08 03:24|| Front Page Top

#2 As an add-on, a comment on Facebook said the ABM system knocked them all down.

Take that, ayatollahs!
Posted by Fred 2020-01-08 03:54||   2020-01-08 03:54|| Front Page Top

#3 Respond proportionally - drop some Tomahawks on the biggest IRGC base.
Posted by g(r)omgoru PB 2020-01-08 04:00||   2020-01-08 04:00|| Front Page Top

#4 As a side note, it seems the plane was mostly full of Iranian college students returning the school in the Ukraine after Winter vacation. I am assuming any evidence of an anti-aircraft missile will promptly vanish. Is that correct or can we establish that through other methods (radar, satellites, etc.). If Iran did shoot down a plane full of their own college kids, that's a mistake so big you can't really put a number on it.
Posted by Beau 2020-01-08 04:25||   2020-01-08 04:25|| Front Page Top

#5 After reading about the results of Operation Marty Salami, one can see why the Iraq/Iran war turned out like it did.

Trump should offer condolences on the unfortunate downing of their own plane.
Posted by SteveS 2020-01-08 05:13||   2020-01-08 05:13|| Front Page Top

#6 Ref #4: Excellent comments and insights from Beau. I'm glad the Orange Man didn't initiate an immediate response to Iran's rocket attack. The Iranians and our leftest media would have wasted no time conflating the two events and of course blaming President Trump.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 06:17||   2020-01-08 06:17|| Front Page Top

#7 ^Whereas now they blame him for ...?
Posted by g(r)omgoru PB 2020-01-08 06:24||   2020-01-08 06:24|| Front Page Top

#8 So they managed to kill all those involved in Biden clinton Obama has board money Iran pallets **** ******* [REDACTED] sell out the United States op! So blart mall security stock is worth more? Hey if Iran uses human shields what do you call only a hand full of us forces dispersed in buildings in iraq? An excuse to sell out the country more and double double down on dumb! We gonna invade Iran in techs and humvees sarge those plywood ones from canada?
Posted by Lumpy Bourbon7096 2020-01-08 07:16||   2020-01-08 07:16|| Front Page Top

#9 ^ I'm not sure what you just said. Google Translate from another language?
Posted by Beau 2020-01-08 07:21||   2020-01-08 07:21|| Front Page Top

#10 Hey if Iran uses human shields what do you call only a hand full of us forces dispersed in buildings in iraq?

Military, not civilian.
Posted by gorb 2020-01-08 07:35||   2020-01-08 07:35|| Front Page Top

#11 Translate from another language?

Looks like a hybrid of William S. Burroughs, James Joyce, Allen Ginsburg and Captain Beefheart to me.

But without the entertainment value...
Posted by M. Murcek 2020-01-08 07:50||   2020-01-08 07:50|| Front Page Top

#12 #8 periods?
Posted by g(r)omgoru PB 2020-01-08 07:52||   2020-01-08 07:52|| Front Page Top

#13 They blame Trump for the embassy attack. The one in Tehran.
Posted by Rob Crawford 2020-01-08 08:07||   2020-01-08 08:07|| Front Page Top

#14 Radar data available (Besoeker's link in another thread here) shows that the Ukrainian aircraft was gaining altitude and maintaining airspeed when it just 'quit'.
Posted by Mullah Richard 2020-01-08 08:11||   2020-01-08 08:11|| Front Page Top

#15 /\ Flight radar found here.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 08:15||   2020-01-08 08:15|| Front Page Top

#16 In Billy Wilder's Berlin comedy "1, 2, 3" Coca Cola boss Mc Namara is offered a Cuban cigar by the Russian trade delegation. After a few puffs he bursts into coughs and says:

"The Cubans sent you crummy cigars!"
"No problem, we sent them crummy rockets!"
Posted by European Conservative 2020-01-08 08:18||   2020-01-08 08:18|| Front Page Top

#17 The Persian version of 'I fart in your general direction!'?
Posted by CrazyFool 2020-01-08 08:20||   2020-01-08 08:20|| Front Page Top

#18 About 20 years ago, when the Ukrainians accidentally shot down a Russian Tu-154 airliner over the Black Sea during a military exercise, the US early warning satellites picked up the SA-5 missile launch just before the airliner went down. US satellites likely did the same here and records will confirm it.

In addition, the US had plenty of warning that Iranian TBMs were headed to US bases in Iraq. Again, US early warning satellites.
Posted by Glinter Jaique8353 2020-01-08 08:35||   2020-01-08 08:35|| Front Page Top

#19 US early warning satellites

Yes. SBIRS is a good thing...
Posted by M. Murcek 2020-01-08 08:51||   2020-01-08 08:51|| Front Page Top

#20 There was a lot of bluster surrounding the Soleimani targeting and funeral that now seems to be blowing out.

Does anyone else get the feeling that maybe the Ayatollahs and many Iranians aren't all that sorry that Soleimani got zapped?
Posted by JohnQC 2020-01-08 09:17||   2020-01-08 09:17|| Front Page Top

#21 Ref #20: Does anyone else get the feeling that maybe the Ayatollahs and many Iranians aren't all that sorry that Soleimani got zapped?

Interesting suggestion.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 09:21||   2020-01-08 09:21|| Front Page Top

#22 I think #8 comment may be a secret message using a one-time pad.
Posted by Alaska Paul 2020-01-08 09:23||   2020-01-08 09:23|| Front Page Top

#23 Yes AP, appear as though it might be. I'd better have a look. At least a couple of portions are in need of redaction.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 09:25||   2020-01-08 09:25|| Front Page Top

#24 Peĺosi parties while our troops are under attack.
Posted by Varmint Splat1454 2020-01-08 09:29||   2020-01-08 09:29|| Front Page Top

#25 #8 appears to be drunk-voicce-to-text guy, though he seems to have discovered a few of the punctuation marks.
Posted by trailing wife 2020-01-08 09:43||   2020-01-08 09:43|| Front Page Top

#26 Fred, you are a very good writer. Informative and highly entertaining is an amazing combination.
Posted by rjschwarz 2020-01-08 10:46||   2020-01-08 10:46|| Front Page Top

#27 So this was "Operation Save Face and Please Don't Hit Back Now"?
Posted by European Conservative 2020-01-08 11:16||   2020-01-08 11:16|| Front Page Top

#28 Operation Save Face and Please Don't Hit Back Now?

Or, operation go ahead and become complacent and see what happens next.
Posted by M. Murcek 2020-01-08 11:19||   2020-01-08 11:19|| Front Page Top

#29 I'm going with both #27 and #28.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 11:29||   2020-01-08 11:29|| Front Page Top

#30 Listening to Trump right now it might have worked.
Posted by European Conservative 2020-01-08 11:44||   2020-01-08 11:44|| Front Page Top

#31 #20 Does anyone else get the feeling that maybe the Ayatollahs and many Iranians aren't all that sorry that Soleimani got zapped?

Some of Israel's sharpest analysts have concluded this. Short version: the upper ranks of the Iranian state services have been penetrated. It was they who betrayed Suleimani.

Key excerpt:

Some might argue that the drone strike at Baghdad Airport was another example of a high-tech operation by the US against its foes that was a tactical success but a strategic failure. Holders of this view might infer, in light of the Iranian regime’s newly strengthened ability to stir outrage against the US, that it is coming out of this series of clashes as the winner despite the loss of Soleimani.

This is an erroneous reading.

Soleimani’s death is a major blow to Iran.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s designation of Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s second- in-command, as Soleimani’s successor as head of the Quds Force is an indicator of the magnitude of that blow. Ghaani is in his sixties (as was Soleimani)—not the ideal age to take over a major undercover organization with tentacles throughout much of the Middle East and beyond.
Over 20 years ago, sometime between the fall of 1997 and the first months of 1998, a younger, more vibrant Islamic revolutionary leadership chose 40-year-old Soleimani over his superiors to head this elite unit. Khamenei is older and less willing to take the risk of choosing a daring young commander, but that is not the only reason why he did not do so.

Even if the ayatollah were inclined to select a younger replacement, the targeting of Soleimani prevents him from making such a choice. The killing proves beyond doubt that the Iranian security system is riddled with informants. They knew when Soleimani left his secret hideout in Damascus, what plane he boarded, at which airport he was going to land, which vehicles he and his retinue entered upon landing, and exactly what time those vehicles were heading out of the airport.
This suggests an information flow involving tens if not hundreds of informants closely connected to the upper echelons of the Quds Force. These informants could and did provide this information to their American counterparts in real time to get the US helicopters in position for the kill.

The killing of Number Two in any country creates a devastating chain of destructive suspicion and anxiety in the corridors of power.

Khamenei’s only choice in naming a successor was to choose from among old stalwarts who are above suspicion. Every individual who is newer to the organization and to the wider security network is now suspect.
Many will no doubt be removed if not executed as Iranian counter- intelligence teams try to identify the informants. The problem for the regime is figuring out who is going to replace them.


Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 11:52||   2020-01-08 11:52|| Front Page Top

#32 The informant is Shiite. I can say no more
Posted by Frank G 2020-01-08 11:55||   2020-01-08 11:55|| Front Page Top

#33 Note one informant but dozens. See above:

This suggests an information flow involving tens if not hundreds of informants closely connected to the upper echelons of the Quds Force. These informants could and did provide this information to their American counterparts in real time to get the US helicopters in position for the kill.
Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 12:00||   2020-01-08 12:00|| Front Page Top

#34 another thought

curious how the Iranian missiles could have missed key American assets

1. they are that bad
2. they targeted open areas
3. The US hacked into the iran missile targeting system

number 3 would be a pleasant surprise
Posted by lord garth 2020-01-08 12:06||   2020-01-08 12:06|| Front Page Top

#35 The enemy is not persia it is islam. I worked with a persian national in 1979 and asked him for his thoughts on the new leader. his response was "if he says jihad i go" where did he get that thinking from if not from his religion?
Posted by jim murray 2020-01-08 12:26||   2020-01-08 12:26|| Front Page Top

#36 Re #34:
4. They were shot down.
Posted by Glinter Jaique8353 2020-01-08 12:29||   2020-01-08 12:29|| Front Page Top

#37 
Meanwhile the crash of a Ukrainian jet airliner full of passengers is being attributed to one of the 7 missiles that never made it to anywhere. Because Iran claims to have fired 22, with only 15 landing around two bases, in various states of FAIL.

This one never exploded. I'm not sure I've seen this one ever. What is it ?
Posted by Dron66046 2020-01-08 13:07||   2020-01-08 13:07|| Front Page Top

#38 So Trump's speech was interesting beyond the actual subject matter.

While I generally support his policies, his peripatetic speech patterns (usually for the Twitter audience) have always turned me off; makes him seem disorganized to me. This speech was quite different.
Cogent, coherent and to the point - no disjointed asides. And if I read his eye movement correctly, it was all from memory - no teleprompter stare. (Take that, Barry!)

The other takeaway was the opening - no intro, just a straight statement: "While I'm President, Iran will never have nuclear weapons". For some reason it reminded me of Cato who opened every speech with "Carthago delenda est". The thing to remember is Carthago WAS delenda'd.
Posted by Mercutio 2020-01-08 13:11||   2020-01-08 13:11|| Front Page Top

#39 An Obama Bribe Money Mark I
Posted by Mercutio 2020-01-08 13:13||   2020-01-08 13:13|| Front Page Top

#40 Iran reportedly alerted both Baghdad and Washington, quietly, that an attack was imminent, and then made sure the missiles were badly targeted. Hence, zero casualties. The harmless explosions were mostly for domestic propaganda purposes,

I've seen this in a couple places. Don't have an authoritative source, but it makes sense as a theory and accounts for Iran's position that they have responded to Washington's aggression so let's everyone make peace AND it does account for Trump going all diplomatic.
Posted by SteveS 2020-01-08 13:25||   2020-01-08 13:25|| Front Page Top

#41 My $0.02:

I heard the speech on radio (NPR). A few observations:
It seemed unusually halting, even staccato, for Trump.

I had the impression-- not seeing him, again, just from the tone of his voice, his cadence & delivery -- that he did not sleep very much or well last night.

Another impression was that it lacked his usual affect: no swagger or braggadocio or teasing/taunting.

Only at ONE POINT did he seem to get his usual verbal/tonal mojo back, and that was when he addressed the UK, Germany, France re the nuclear deal and then launched into his usual "carrot" or open-hand dealmaker mode.

My conclusion is that he is clearly uncomfortable with saber-rattling and/or military matters generally and does not want to be sucked into any more military operations. His comfort zone is obviously dealmaking and he views any/all military or operational decisions within the context of his overall dealmaking strategy.
Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 13:39||   2020-01-08 13:39|| Front Page Top

#42 He was also very forceful and clear that "As long as I am President, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon."

That's his bottom line for any deal. Crystal clear, strong, unmistakable. The JC-P-O-S is dead.

Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 13:46||   2020-01-08 13:46|| Front Page Top

#43 And who is it we're not hearing from ?

That's right, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, ValJar, Cristianonunphoor, the onerous and despicable Judge Nap, or any of the Euro-boot licks, etc.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 14:03||   2020-01-08 14:03|| Front Page Top

#44 There were some rumors flying around about 20 Americans dead. I'll bet the mullahs had to pull their robes out of their a$$es after that.
Posted by gorb 2020-01-08 14:05||   2020-01-08 14:05|| Front Page Top

#45 Susan Rice is losing it over Trump telling the eurines and Russians to get over the defunct nuke deal and move on constructively.
Posted by M. Murcek 2020-01-08 14:56||   2020-01-08 14:56|| Front Page Top

#46 #45 Susan Rice is losing it

Oh go f--- off. All these fools - Rice, Power, Lurch, PajamaBoy - need to STFU and have the decency to exit the scene.

They had their chance. They FAILED. That asinine deal is dead. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 15:39||   2020-01-08 15:39|| Front Page Top

#47 When did she ever 'have it', MM?
Posted by Mullah Richard 2020-01-08 15:39||   2020-01-08 15:39|| Front Page Top

#48 #41

I did watch his speech, guaranty he didn't get a minute of sleep last night.
Posted by bbrewer126  2020-01-08 15:41||   2020-01-08 15:41|| Front Page Top

#49 Re: #37 by Dron66046

It looks to me the remain of the 737 APU, (located in the tail of the 737) the thing to the left looks like the air intake ducting for the APU. The image to the right is cut off so I cannot verify for sure, but that's what it looks like to me.
Posted by Seeking Cure For Ignorance 2020-01-08 15:56||   2020-01-08 15:56|| Front Page Top

#50 Re #37: That unexploded missile looks like the warhead section is empty.
Posted by Glinter Jaique8353 2020-01-08 16:06||   2020-01-08 16:06|| Front Page Top

#51 Again they all keep forgetting Roy Cohn was Trump’s mentor.
Posted by 3dc 2020-01-08 16:19||   2020-01-08 16:19|| Front Page Top

#52 Again re: #37

I did some looking around and it seems it depends on where the picture was taken. I had the impression that the picture was taken in Iran at the site of the 737 crash. Now it seems this on was taken in Iraq which would make it part of the tail end of a missile.

Confusion abound!
Posted by Seeking Cure For Ignorance 2020-01-08 16:27||   2020-01-08 16:27|| Front Page Top

#53 Trump may need to repackage this: "We'll keep pressure on Iran until the mullahs recognize gay marriage."
Posted by Matt 2020-01-08 16:28||   2020-01-08 16:28|| Front Page Top

#54 From #31 - These informants could and did provide this information to their American counterparts in real time to get the US helicopters in position for the kill.

And they probably did it before, too, only to be ignored.
Posted by Bobby 2020-01-08 16:29||   2020-01-08 16:29|| Front Page Top

#55 ^ Someone may have planted a beacon on him somehow , but what you suggest is more likely. Still, inside information maybe supplemented with someone using a laser designator on the ground at the airfield would be a great Tom Clancy type story.
Posted by M. Murcek 2020-01-08 16:46||   2020-01-08 16:46|| Front Page Top

#56 ^ planted a beacon inside his cheapo ring?
Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 17:26||   2020-01-08 17:26|| Front Page Top

#57 Ref #55: Very likely. Laser-beacon combo, possibly.

"Eye's on target", no other vehicles or civilians around. About the only way to confirm (positive ID) that is with a man on the ground - man in the link with a laser target designater.
Posted by Besoeker 2020-01-08 17:32||   2020-01-08 17:32|| Front Page Top

#58 I hope I’m wrong, bu t I doubt this dance with Iran is over.
Posted by  jvalentour 2020-01-08 17:56||   2020-01-08 17:56|| Front Page Top

#59 Pick off Suleimani's local capos around the region, one by one-- starting with the Shi'a "militia" commanders.

Take down a few IRGC gruppenfuehrers where you find them in-theater, too.
Posted by Lex 2020-01-08 18:28||   2020-01-08 18:28|| Front Page Top

#60 Thanks Fred and you professors at Rantburg U.
Posted by Sherry 2020-01-08 20:19||   2020-01-08 20:19|| Front Page Top

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