Iran retaliated against the United States Tuesday by launching a reported 15 ballistic missiles at two of the country’s military bases in Iraq. The Pentagon alleged that no troops were hurt in the attack, and many who are hopeful for peace are pushing for U.S. President Donald Trump to deescalate the situation.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Yashar Ali, a contributor for New York Magazine and HuffPost, suggests that the missile attacks are not likely a part of Iran’s purported revenge plan, which he suggests is more complicated.
“I want to express this carefully cause I don’t want to minimize anything that results in loss of life,” he began the thread.
Ali pointed out that historically, the Iranian government has “always operated on its own timeline,” noting a Wall Street Journal piece that highlights the country’s history of taking aim at “soft targets,” referring to relatively vulnerable or unprotected person’s or things.
“If you think Iran lobbing missiles over the border is the kind of revenge they ultimately have in mind, you’re wrong.”
The 40-year-old journalist pointed to the 2012 incident in which an Iranian nuclear chemist was killed by assassins who Ali says were likely under orders of Israel. Iran subsequently promised revenge, which came one month later in Georgia, Thailand, and India in the form of targeted bombings against Israeli diplomats.
>> @chrislhayes' sign-off on Tuesday night: “War with Iran is madness and it is strategically and morally a disaster in the making. And don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise." pic.twitter.com/qorpl0bv9E— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 8, 2020
Ali delved into yet another example in 1992, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed Sec. General of Hezbollah Abbas al-Musawi. The retaliation again came almost exactly one month later when a truck bomb was driven into the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people. Another truck bombing attack came two years later at a Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center, killing 85 people.
Ali noted the “pretty tight timelines” in all the examples he covered, as well as the Iranian government’s approach toward revenge, which he says is “almost a generational thing.” He said that the timeline can be anywhere from months to years and doesn’t always come in a display that they take public credit for.
“So what I’m saying is all these people with their chest thumping, I would be cautious about what you see as Iranian revenge and unfortunately prepare yourselves for the kind of attacks that are unexpected, that don’t follow a tight timeline, and show up where you least expect.”
Ali ends the thread by suggesting it’s naive to believe that Iran conducted the recent missile attacks to save face and dismissed notions that the U.S. should believe this is the end of retribution, later implying that conventional warfare is not Iran’s approach and should not be what people are concerned about.