Thursday, June 20, 2019


Will something Iranian blow up after this attack on Thursday in international airspace?

The [Iranian Revolutionary] Guard said it shot down the [American] drone over Iranian airspace, while two U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the downing happened over international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. The different accounts could not be immediately reconciled.

Assuming our drone really was in international airspace and that the differing accounts can be reconciled by assuming the Iranians are lying (or mistaken--or we could be mistaken in theory, although it is unlikely the drone deliberately crossed into Iranian territorial airspace), Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces will suffer for this.

Given that we designated the group as a terrorist organization, there shouldn't be a legal problem striking back. Will it be done quietly or openly?

If we have a military response, I'd hit Revolutionary Guard anti-ship missile assets. And we should openly make it known that our problem is with the Guards and not the regular military to encourage the regulars to stay out of the way. Iran's Revolutionary Guards say they are "ready for war," but even if that is true, Iran is not ready. Will Iranians be happy to let the Guard nutballs drag Iran into war?

I don't think we should wage a war against Iran, but letting the Revolutionary Guards get away with this would be a mistake.

Still, it was an unmanned asset. Since we suffered no casualties, one option would be to tighten sanctions tighter than we could otherwise do. How could European countries like Germany cave in to Iranian demands over salvaging the horrible Iran nuclear deal that is nothing but a shield to let Iran go nuclear? I mean, with that American restraint in the face of Iranian escalation, how could Europeans reach out to Iran?

If Iranians in general blame the Guards for this worsening of Iran's economy as a result, the blowback on the Guards could be convenient.

Yeah, the more I think about it, rather than hit Iran with our military I think we should exploit the Iranian attack to seriously increase the economic pressure on Iran.

UPDATE: I'm hearing talk of how bad a war with Iran would be. It assumes we invade Iran with a multi-division force. We wouldn't do that in a war. We'd use air and naval power, with ground power--if used--limited to offshore islands that Iran controls in the Hormuz Strait and Persian Gulf.

Iran doesn't want even a war limited to the seas and the air. Their preferred strategy is to beat their chest and fling poo, hoping we are scared away.

Which works on some people.

UPDATE: Well that's interesting:

The United States abruptly called off preparations for a military strike against Iran over the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, a U.S. official said, while Iran claimed Friday it had issued several warnings before shooting down the drone over what it said was Iranian territory.

Is this the worst of both worlds? We prepare to strike which worries Europeans, but change our minds which emboldens Iran?

Or did the threat of attacks get the Europeans to move on their pro-Iranian positions?

We clearly intend to do something in response. What will that be?

UPDATE: This is pure speculation, but was the attack called off because of contacts between the Iranian government and our government to avoid a war that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards may want to start?

UPDATE: Although it is not clear that the Revolutionary Guards really act without government approval even if they act without specific orders.

And even if the Guards are dangerously autonomous, would America's government be given the benefit of the doubt if we claimed we had no real control over what our Air Force bombs?

UPDATE: Television news says we sent a message to Iran via Oman that we want to talk, but the Iranians rejected the offer. So perhaps the planned strike goes through tonight.

The American offer to talk may at least nullify European reactions against a strike by showing we will try to avoid it.

If we strike, I hope we also tighten economic screws. And get our allies ready to escort tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.

UPDATE: That's interesting:

The Federal Aviation Administration has prohibited "all U.S. carriers and commercial operators" from flying over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, near Iran, in the wake of the country shooting down an unmanned drone early Thursday.

I'll point out that one of our ships accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988 when the plane flew through an area where American and Iranian forces were in combat in the Persian Gulf.

If even a small number of Iranians in the Revolutionary Guards or the government in general believe the 1988 attack was deliberate, three decades later they might think they have a chance at revenge. So best to be careful out there.

UPDATE: Yeah. We have a firm grip on Iran's throat and for now that is working just fine. So Iran has an interest in changing that, not us.

UPDATE: We deny reaching out to Iran via Oman.

UPDATE: Tighten those screws:

A multinational task force said Friday it is keeping Iran on a financial blacklist for failing to take action to head off funds flowing to terrorists.

The 38-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it will require more onerous financial oversight if Tehran fails to meet an October deadline for improving its controls.



President Donald Trump said Saturday that the United States would impose "major" new sanctions on Iran in two days -- a move sure to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic republic inflamed by the downing of a US spy plane.

Although note that what "inflames" the situation is not the fact that Iran shot down one of our drones over international waters but that we will put sanctions on Iran rather than strike Iran in retaliation.

UPDATE: And we retaliated with a cyber attack.