by John Galt 23.06.19 17:00 ET
Imagine being President Donald Trump sitting in the situation room 20 minutes before a massive airstrike was to be launched against Iranian Revolutionary Guard targets, when suddenly one of the generals puts a phone call on hold and says “Mr. President, I think you should take this call immediately.”
Does this sound insane? Because it is not, and while the phone call may or may not have happened on Thursday night just before the attack on Iran was to begin, it does highlight that something spooked the leader of the free world to a point where an attack in progress was suddenly cancelled.
The public pronouncement that the response was “not proportionate” due to 150 Iranian Revolutionary Guards being killed is laughable. It’s a nice, humane public spin on a very humiliating situation which is only going to get more complicated in the weeks ahead.
How did Iran shoot down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk and why are the real questions that need to be asked. First the “how” which has been speculated on after the IRGC said that this was their own indigenous 3 Khordad mobile anti-aircraft missile system. Based on the altitude and location of the shoot down, the IRGC claims do validate the capabilities of this system. (credit Jane’s Defense Weekly).
The next question becomes the reason behind the brazen action which risked an immediate U.S. retaliatory strike. Iran has nothing to gain by attacking a slow moving, unmanned, large U.S. reconnaissance flight. For years the U.S. has been flying missions off of the coast of Iran in international and probably even over Iranian airspace, narrowly as that is defined by international law and recognition.
Thus the real question is who gets an advantage and why?
Perhaps a return to the original premise of the phone call at the beginning of this editorial commentary. The upgraded version of the Global Hawk RQ-4A contains the latest encoding, U.S. defense satellite, and surveillance technology. The degraded relations between the U.S. and China might indeed point to the Chinese paying for such an attack to obtain the technology and reverse engineer it, however Chinese defense officials are not as trusted in Iran like their other major ally.
The Russians have been engaged in long-standing defense cooperation agreements with the Iranian regime including training and activity to enhance the IRGC’s ability to repel Israeli and U.S. air attacks on their military and nuclear facilities. Hence while this is pure speculation, it is not insane to assume that the Russians were working with the Iranians to test their domestic missile capabilities and responses while at the same time having vessels in the area of the splashdown to recover key portions of the fuselage for inspection.
By terminating the aircraft’s ability to fly further away from the Iranian coastline at the point of the intercept, odds are the Iranians and Russians now have the key parts from the Global Hawk in their possession. To further support this idea there have been no public claims of U.S. recovery of the wreckage nor “leaked footage” to confirm such. For the Russian and Iranian military, this is an intelligence coup even if it takes months to reverse engineer and hack the firmware to obtain the information they desire.
That is the only logical reason that a phone call on Thursday night would stop the attack on the IRGC positions. The other possibility is that our intelligence services finally did their job and warned of Russian personnel being on site at several of the bases. After all, dead Russians would be great for oil prices, bad for President Trump, and a disaster to the anti-Iranian coalition in the region. Then again, there is no logical reason to assume the Russians would not have told that to the President himself once they detected the impending assault.
Perhaps the phone call that night started like this:
“Hello, Mister President, this is Vladimir.”