What happened? Iran launched a salvo of missiles meant to target Islamic State positions in Syria.
Escalation: The missiles represent a drastic escalation on Iran’s part; The first time the country has fired missiles on another country in three decades.
–According to Iran’s regime… Iranian media lauded the strikes as a tremendous success, suggesting upwards of 360 ISIS fighters were killed
-Retaliation. The strikes come less than two weeks after ISIS claimed twin attacks in Tehran on June 7- On Iran’s parliament killing at least 18 people and another at the grave site of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
-Blame Game. It is worth noting that in the aftermath of the Islamic State attacks on Iran, elements within Iran’s regime accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the attack
-Ooops. A source within the Israeli intelligence community pushed back on Iran claims, saying that six of the seven missiles launched failed to hit their targets, while three landed in Iraq.
-International Reverberation. It would appear that the launch, dubbed “a flop” by Israeli media, did just enough to draw attention from regional neighbors such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and from a distance the international community including the U.S. “Is this the product of a 30-year missile development program?” one U.S. official reportedly remarked.
-The question remains: When Iran has already established a presence in Syria as an established backer of the Bashar Assad Syrian regime sending troops, military advisers, money and equipment, why did the strikes then not come from Syrian soil, where they would have better accuracy and more efficiency than the long-range missiles?
-Symbolism? Maybe the strikes were intended to reverberate internationally. An Iranian Revolutionary Guard General “Gen. Ramazan Sharif” told Iran TV, “The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message.”
Control of Raqqa
-Meanwhile… Tuesday, the U.S. shot down an armed Iranian drone it said was advancing on coalition forces in southern Syria; The second such incident to happen in the last month.
-The drone. Described as a Shahed 129, an armed drone with a range of 1240 miles, unveiled by Iran in 2012.
-The showdown continues. The incident also comes just two days after the U.S. shot down a Syrian fighter plane. It would appear that as U.S.-backed coalition forces prepare for a showdown with ISIS in its de-facto capital of Raqqa, Iran-backed Syrian regime forces are preparing their own assets.