The Middlebury Institute of International Studies and Aurora Intel shared satellite images showing the impact of the January 8 Iranian missile strike on the US-operated Ayn al-Assad airbase in Iraq.
The images made by Planet Labs clearly show at least 6 structures destroyed by the strikes. The images fully denounce speculations by some mainstream media outlets that the strike caused no damage. They also bring into question the Pentagon version of events, which claimed that there were no casualties among US personnel. However, if US troops really evacuated ahead of the strike, this could be very possible.
For the first time since the World War 2, the United States will not provide a military answer to a direct missile or bombing strike on its military forces.
- “As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon”;
- “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime”;
- “Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down”;
- The US will not respond by military measures. Instead, Washington will “will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior”;
- Iranian General Qaseem Soleimani assassinated by the US was avery bad man. Trump in fact equated him with with eliminated ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden;
- The Iranian nuclear deal is dead, but Iran must abandon “its nuclear ambitions. …and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place”;
- The US military is powerful and has many various missiles, including “hypersonic” ones. All this is thanks to Donald Trump;
- The US defeated ISIS (once again).
He said that there were no US and Iraqi casualties because “an early warning system that worked very well”.
As satellite images show, Iranian missiles successfully hit designated targets causing observable damage to US military structures. So, it may appear that the ‘well-working’ US early warning system was just a diplomatic signal by Iran.
This strike can be compared with the US missile strikes on Syria in 2017 and 2018, when the US spent dozens of cruise missiles to target a few buildings and an airstrip in order to claim that it defeated the ‘bloody Assad regime’.
Another factor contributing to the version that all the ‘US allies’ were warned that the Trump administration is the behaviour of Gulf states. Over the past days streets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE had been full of Military Police officers. However, on January 8, they disappeared from the streets.
Regardless the reason behind the absence of the US casualties, Iran demonstrated to the United States and the world several important things:
- Iran is capable of striking any US military facility anywhere around the Middle East and this strike will be effective;
- Iranian missiles and electronic warfare systems (mostly provided by Russia) easily overcame US missile defense systems (both short and medium range variants).
- The US missile defense once again failed. The previous full-scale failure of the US-made air defense was observed in Saudi Arabia in 2019;