Now that the dust has settled, we are able to review more information on the missile attacks from Iran. First and foremost, we are relieved to hear there were no American, Coalition, or Iraqi casualties. According to the President’s statement this morning, only minimal damage was sustained to the bases. The President went on to mention that it currently appears Iran is “standing down” on their threats against the U.S. at this time.
Ultimately, all of this begs the questions- what was the point? Why would Iran go as far as launching missiles on two military bases in Iraq? In addition, why would Iran publish any kind of warnings about the attack before they happened? Lastly, these surface-to-surface missiles hit very little areas where American troops were actually located. The damage could have been significantly worse, but it was not.
Most are aware of the all the events that have led up to the missile attacks. Not to mention the fact that Iran openly stated the attacks were in response to Soleimani’s death last week, which also happened in Iraq. Soleimani was the head of the Iran militias that carried out many terror attacks against U.S. troops over the years.
Since his death, Iran’s top leaders have given several threats to the U.S. Even in an interview on Sunday with CNN, Iran’s Maj. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated there would be retaliatory attacks on U.S. military locations. Then, just before the attacks, Iran sent messages to Iraqi government officials telling them to prepare for the attacks to come.
Early missile detection systems went off, which also allowed members at both locations to ensure they took appropriate cover, sources stated. (If you have been deployed to the region, you know how quickly the detection systems go off and how immediate rockets are afterwards.) The Pentagon reported the missiles Iran used were Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missiles and Qiam-1 ballistic missiles.
Those missiles have a range of approximately 300-750 km, depending on exactly which version was used. They also have the ability to carry between 500-750 lb warheads. Yet minimal damage was sustained to only military equipment. This information really lends to the argument that Iran was not actually looking to cause any major damage after all.
So why make a lot of deep seeded threats, then not completely follow through? Well, it might be because Iran knows they have a lot to lose. In fact, they even stated it in a message from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei who stated the U.S. would probably “deal a hard blow to us” (source, here). It is also very well known that the U.S. fire power is far superior to that of the Iranian.
So, was this an attack of attention from Iran? If so, what specific message are they attempting to get across? Right now, their message of revenge for the death of their general is diluted over the fact that they completely missed their targets and caused very minimal damage to U.S. assets. So what are they trying to say?
Meanwhile, the U.S. message is very clear- “Try it again, you will regret it. Love, America.”