and all the promises made by the Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei for deadly revenge on the US, many still remain illusional about the power of the regime, and they were expecting a very large and serious response by the regime.
Some even feared that Iran’s reaction to the US airstrike that killed Soleimani in Iraq could even spark a war in the region, but events unfolded differently, and the rocket attack carried out against the US airbases by the regime was even milder than the regime’s recent missile attack on the Saudi Aramco facilities.
After firing several missiles at the two US Air Force bases in Iraq, Mohamad Javad Zarif, the regime’s foreign minister, wrote in a tweet that Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting the base from which the “cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.”
The reflective point for the regime was how it could withstand the pressure of threats and brag that it carried out revenge against the United States while being able to defend itself from the next retaliation attacks by the US.
Various global news agencies that follow the events in the region step by step for several days have quoted US and European sources as saying: “US and European government sources told Reuters news agency that they believed the Iranians had deliberately sought to minimize casualties and avoid hitting US facilities in order to prevent the crisis escalating out of control while still signaling their resolve.” (BBC, 8 January 2020)
Informing the US before the missile attack
Anyone familiar with military operations knows that information about an operation should not be published before. And the regime has never asked for permission from the Iraqi prime minister or any other officials of any country before a terrorist operation being carried out on the territory of their countries. And it came as a surprise to everyone why the regime had informed Iraq’s outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi before attacking the US sites.
“Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi’s spokesman said on Wednesday Iran had sent him a verbal message about an imminent response to the U.S. killing of its top general before the attack was launched.” (Radio Farda, 8 January 2020)
Not once, but several times, has the regime thought that there would be no doubt about the military operation that had been broached by its own brigades, but what came to the mind of foreign analysts after the result of this ‘Operation Shining!’ What was the outcome of this action for the regime?
“…A warning from Iran also meant that coalition forces knew in time that the missiles were incoming and that steps could be taken to avoid casualties as the al-Asad and Erbil bases. ‘People had enough time to take cover,’ a defense source said.” (The Guardian, 8 January 2020)
Tony Tata, a former brigadier general in the United States Army, also said the missile attacks might have been orchestrated to miss the intended targets.
“The Iranian response might have been an intentional miss with 15 ballistic missiles not harming any U.S. soldiers,” Tata said, according to WECT news. “If this is true, it would allow Iran to save face by insisting internally that they took action.” (BPR Business & Politics, 8 January 2020)
Fear of other critical consequences
What is very clear is that Khamenei tried to design this adventure of military attack so that no further crises could engulf him. But on the other hand, he wanted not to lose his honor while the regime’s people expected the ‘great revenge by him’. But whether this would have any positive results will be seen in the coming days.
In the aftermath of the political conclusions of this pre-announced rocket attack, the remarks of the regime’s foreign minister are significant. Sending Javad Zarif to the scene right after firing missiles to reassure them that there will be no further missile attacks and of course no other attacks is just a sign of the regime’s extreme weakness, politically and militarily, fearing another crisis within the country.
The regime overwhelmed by the crisis
Two months ago, Iranian cities witnessed a popular uprising that began over a gasoline price hike, although it was brutally suppressed by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Basijis. More than 1500 people were killed, especially young people and poor people of deprived areas of the country.
The same people are still waiting for the smallest opportunity to ignite another uprising and sweep the regime in its entirety. There is also a growing economic stranglehold, especially as the regime faces a budget deficit of 20 trillion tomans for the budget of 2020, according to the Parliament Research Center.
The divide between the regime and the people is so deep, that there is no room for maneuvers related to the parliamentary elections in March. The gap that even with the ceremony holding for Qassem Suleimani could not be filled even a bit.
Khamenei tried to demonstrate a political and powerful maneuver by mobilizing all his potential for the funeral of Suleimani, but these movements in the international community failed to have the result that Khamenei wanted to achieve which was international condemnation of Suleimni’s death.
And it failed to scare the US by the “hard revenge” so that the US would retreat. Missile attacks on two military bases with no casualties followed by a wave of political propaganda that they have slapped on America.
Certainly, the result of this so-called ‘Operation’ was not what the regime had been waiting for, and experts believe there will soon be a display of deepening tension within the regime.
The regime’s latest achievement
The US president, while saying that more sanctions are awaiting the Iranian regime, urged European countries, Russia and China to take a stronger stance on the regime and exit the international nuclear deal known as the JCPOA.
The regime, of course, did its best during this week to try to show that the killing of Soleimani has led to a confrontation between the Iranian people and the US, but this was just an illusion.
The Iranian people showed that they have only one enemy, which is the regime self. A subject causing the people to revolt against this regime, whatever opportunity they may have.
The outcry of slogans chanted on the streets of Iran, ‘No to Gaza, no to Lebanon; my life for Iran’ or ‘Let go of Syria; think of us instead,’ is the main demand of the Iranian people, and the death of Suleimani for the Iranian people along with the Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese people is a qualitative step forward.