Back in the day, quality journalism always began with the who, what, when, where, and why of anything worth covering. The answer to these questions regarding Iran’s retaliatory response to the vaporizing of Qassem Soleimani holds the key to understanding the current situation in the Mideast. Here are a few elements of the story that should not be ignored:
The U.S. was tipped off to the missile strike, which allowed military forces to vacate the targets.
Whether it was a tip-off or U.S. intelligence sources that provided a heads up to the rocket launch, the fact that there was no loss of American lives in the Iranian retaliation is significant. This seems to be the measure – the lens, if you will – that Trump places on all military decisions that he makes. His response always seems to entail a calculation of how many American lives are at risk or were lost in these situations. This is vital for any commander in chief. As Military Times put it, “Iran’s missile barrage into Iraq Wednesday night was a measured response and a turn signal for an off-ramp.”
The missile launch was not aimed at U.S. military bases in Iraq.
Iran’s weapons did not target U.S. bases, but rather Iraqi bases where American troops were stationed. An insignificant point? Not at all. Attacking a U.S. facility is a whole different ball of wax, and the Iranians know this. The Al-Asad airbase was hit over a dozen times and another handful of missiles exploded at an Iraqi base in the northern city of Erbil. It was no accident that U.S. military bases weren’t targeted by the Iranians.
The president’s response was delivered from the White House Grand Foyer.
The fact that the Trump administration chose the Grand Foyer in which to hold a presidential response to the missile launch is telling. President Trump’s message to the American people and the people of Iran was not held in the Oval Office, nor the East Room. The Oval Office is generally regarded as the location for grave or sober presidential communications. The East Room usually signifies more diplomatic messages with large audiences. The Grand Foyer is the primary entrance to the White House. Holding an address here is a non-verbal way of saying, “welcome to the White House.” It in no way signifies danger or destruction to Iran, and surely Iran’s diplomats know this.
Some of Iran’s missiles fizzled.
Whether it was by design or sheer military incompetence, it must be noted that a full one-quarter of the missiles launched by Iran into Iraqi airspace never detonated. They didn’t just miss their mark, they never went off, or in military-speak, they “failed in flight.” What’s with that? As Liberty Nation Managing Editor Mark Angelides wrote, “It [the missile strike] could be a tit-for-tat piece of theatre designed to assuage the home crowd rather than an escalation of the conflict.” Indeed.
The timing was not accidental.
After three days of “official” mourning in Iraq and Iran, Qassem Soleimani (or what was left of him) was buried in his hometown of Kerman. The missile launches and the burial happened within hours of each other. This final act regarding Soleimani was to have taken place on Tuesday, January 7, but was postponed due to a stampede that killed more than 50 Iranians. While the casket carrying Soleimani’s remains was being hoisted on the shoulders of his countrymen in the dark in Iran, headed for the area reserved for martyrs, the skies were about to be lit up in Iraq. This was no coincidence.
These and other “tells” signify that the Iranian missile strike appears to be little more than a “made for TV” show. Everyone seems to have played their part with precision. As such, Americans are wise to avoid any mainstream media histrionics that indicate the time for World War Three is nigh.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.