Hot Air

Report: U.S. base in Iraq under attack from Iranian missiles; Update: Multiple bases; Update: Launched from Iran, says DOD; Update: Trump to speak? Or not; Update: “All is well!”

The only information I have is what I’m seeing on Twitter, so take it with a grain of salt for now. I wouldn’t expect Jennifer Griffin to blow a scoop this big, though.

WaPo has it too:

Also this, which I think is referring to the same base as in the last tweet:

Does the U.S. strike back tonight or do we wait until tomorrow?

Update: This is the “start.”

Noah Rothman notes that Iranian missile attacks aren’t new. They’re what started the chain reaction that led to Soleimani’s killing, in fact: The death of a U.S. contractor in a rocket strike by Iranian-backed militias is what helped convince Trump that it was time to hit back. The assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad cinched it.

At the moment I’m only seeing reports of al-Asad airbase being targeted. I don’t know why Griffin’s source believes it’s “all over the country.” I’m going to take that out of the headline.

Update: Were these missiles launched from inside Iran or by Iranian militias based in Iraq? Remember that Khamenei reportedly told his advisors that he wants Iranian fingerprints on the reprisals for Soleimani’s death, an unusual move for a country that prefers to use proxies to do its dirty work. If the missiles were fired from Iran then we’re looking at targets inside Iran. That’s real war.

Update: The question five minutes ago: What else is coming? The question five minutes later: Is anything else coming? Or is hitting al-Asad some sort of token retaliation by Iran with nothing further planned in hopes that the U.S. doesn’t retaliate?

I think Trump will respond no matter what, but American casualties will force his hand. What if there are no American casualties?

Update: It’s not just al-Asad according to ABC. And they *are* being fired from Iran itself.

“This morning, courageous fighters of the IRGC’s Air Force launched a successful operation called Operation Martyr Soleimani, with the code ‘Oh Zahra’ by firing tens of ground-to-ground missiles at the base of the terrorist and invasive U.S. forces,” the country’s state-run news outlet ISNA reported.

A U.S. official confirms to ABC News that ballistic missiles have been fired from inside Iran at multiple U.S. military facilities inside Iraq on Wednesday morning, local time. The facilities include Erbil in northern Iraq and Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, the official said.

Update: While all this is playing out, bear in mind that Iraq’s Iranian-stooge prime minister received that strange “oops” letter about U.S. withdrawal yesterday and decided that he was going to treat it as a promise.

While the Pentagon insists that a letter regarding the departure of troops was sent in error to the Iraqi government last night, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that its contents had been heeded, and withdrawal was now a necessity…

Addressing his cabinet in its first meeting since the strike, the prime minister sounded exasperated over the notion that the United States had not intended to officially notify him that a troop withdrawal had begun.

“They said it’s a draft,” he said. “Okay, it’s a draft — but we received it. … If I don’t trust you and you don’t trust me, how are we supposed to proceed?”

The U.S. is not withdrawing from Iraq so long as it’s under fire from Iran. Trump, and the Pentagon, would never tolerate such a show of weakness.

Update: Yep, it’s a reprisal.

Update: The Pentagon is confirming it. Note the reference to “missiles,” not “rockets,” suggesting a more sophisticated and destructive weapon.

They were launched from Iran, or so says DOD.

Update: A presidential address is in the works.

If he’s speaking tonight, with America smarting in the first hours after the attack, I’m guessing this isn’t going to be a call for de-escalation.

Update: As of 8:20 ET, there are no reports of U.S. casualties. Did Iran shoot to kill in these attacks or were the missiles deliberately aimed to avoid American troops so as not to prompt a counterattack?

Update: Annnnd now the word is that Trump won’t speak tonight, which is for the best. No need to act in haste, especially if there are no casualties. Think it through.

Update: If this is true — big if — Iran’s offering Trump an exit ramp. A lot depends now on whether Americans were killed or wounded.

Update: Fair chance that there really aren’t any casualties, which would be great news for all sorts of reasons.

Update: Between the Iranian foreign minister’s statement tonight and Trump’s new tweet, it sounds like we might be headed for a ceasefire with no further reprisals. Whew.

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