Why There Was No U.S.-Iran Drone Crisis

Why There Was No U.S.-Iran Drone Crisis


Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of  Iran’s attack on an American surveillance drone operating above the waters of the Persian Gulf on the first of this month. Exactly who ordered the attack and why, remains unclear. And, oddest of all, the fact that the event, which took place just five days before the U.S. presidential election, was kept secret by both the United States and Iran until November 8, after that election, suggests both sides had a common interest in keeping it quiet.

That’s an important clue about whether Washington and Tehran might now move toward direct, one-on-one talks aimed at resolving the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

First, the facts – as they are known so far. On November 8, two days after President Barack Obama’s reelection, and following media reports of Iran’s attack against the drone, Pentagon Spokesman George Little said, “I can confirm that on November 1, at approximately 4:50 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, an unarmed, unmanned MQ-1 U.S. military aircraft, conducting routine surveillance over the Arabian Gulf, was intercepted by Iranian Su-25 Frogfoot Aircraft and was fired upon with guns.” Less than twenty-four hours later, Iran’s Defense Minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, also confirmed the attack. And though the two sides disagreed about whether or not the drone had been flying over Iranian airspace or not, the subsequent comments from both sides – although containing the usual boilerplate, and although Little couldn’t resist calling the body of water over which the incident occurred the “Arabian Gulf” – were notable for their restraint. Neither side, apparently, wanted to ratchet up tensions.

So what were the Iranians up to? It’s certainly possible that the entire episode was set off by an overly aggressive local military commander. But other scenarios are equally plausible, and many of these lend support to the idea that Iran is preparing itself, and its population, for talks and possibly an agreement with the United States.

First, there is the possibility that the attack on the drone was initiated by a hardline faction within Iran’s military, most likely within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who are opposed to any sort of deal with the United States. This scenario gains credibility from the fact that the two planes that attacked the drone were under the command of the IRGC, not Iran’s regular air force. The inner core of the IRGC has plenty of reasons to fear an accord with the United States, since it would put the brakes on any future effort to militarize the nuclear program in pursuit of atomic weapons and, among other things, the fact that the lifting of economic sanctions would deprive the IRGC of its vastly profitable smuggling network for critical imports through a network of unofficial ports run by individuals and organizations affiliated with the IRGC. In addition, there is undoubtedly within Iran’s top leadership and the IRGC in particular, a faction ideologically opposed to a rapprochement with “The Great Satan.”

John Christopher Sunol
December 15, 2012 at 04:52

Journalist have a very important job and when the get it wrong, a number unwanted consequences can occur.
As for the drones the Iranians can use their own purpose

November 29, 2012 at 01:57

Good going Iran!!! Im sure if you fly your drones (exactly the same distance as when US drones were fired upon) near the US homeland, you will also get the same treatment.

November 26, 2012 at 19:37

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knew that a quick way to gain popular following is to demonize the west. A lot of his public pronouncements are geared toward the bash America crowd.   But, just like the Saudis and other mega-rich oil families, he also knows that both sides have to be handled.  
Behind closed doors, he's probably a lot more reasonable than his anti-Western rhetoric would have you believe.

basic core
November 26, 2012 at 01:58

This body of  water has been called the Persian gulf since the days of Homer, the Romans (Roman empire) and the Persian empire and the rest of the European and the Asian writers and philosophers. Most of these Arab so called countries in the Persian gulf such as the Arab Imarat,  Dubai, Qatar, even Saudi Arabia itself did not exist not even a hundred years ago. These places are the inventions of primarily England to weaken the two major powers of the middle east at that era, the Ottoman and the Persian empires and they succeeded at that.  Today America is the main player in this old game and they are also in desperate need of Arab oil and a geopolitical foothold in that region,…simple as that. So they (the US Gov.) will cow to Arab demands. And just to aggravate the ever so proud Iranians (Persians) they use this boring ploy to call that body of water “whatever Gulf”.                                                                                 

basic core
November 26, 2012 at 01:32

This "body of water" has been named the Persian gulf since the days of Homer, the Roman empire and the Persian empire. The reason America is changing the name to"..what ever Gulf" is simply due to Arab oil and geopolitical gain that the US needs desperately in that part of the world. It is also a ploy to aggravate the ever so proud Iranians. 

November 24, 2012 at 13:51

Iran was doing it in fear of Israel, cause when Obama was campaigning in American-States, Mitty was in Israel. It was a win-win-deal!
But why’d Obama let go the show-up operation from his hand, is doubtful! It shows Obama couldn’t show like he did in Abottababd, cause they always operate, when they’ve prior knowledge of hands-up response

November 24, 2012 at 10:25

Arabian SEA and Geography
Before throwing others contributions under the bus check your comments to SEE if they make you look unenlightened yourself. 

November 24, 2012 at 09:07

I think the U.S. has learned its lesson with the Middle East. Not much good has come out of all the wars there. Middle East countries they claimed to have liberated are backstabbing them…. It's probably why they're changing their focus to Asia, more to gain, economically.

November 24, 2012 at 00:53

Oh so Afghanistan & Libya are same as Iran? You must be joking. If Iran was to be attacked, it would have happened ten years back. Not now. Libya & Afghan had no military at all. In fact even today whole of Afghan are still stone age guys. And you say war against Afghanistan? There was NO WAR AGAINST AFGHANISTAN AT ALL. It was only to weed out selected taliban terrorists. Get your facts right. Probably you dont know anything. In fact America is retreating without any success in 2014. The Taliban is again set to raise its head post 2014, whether you like it or not. Iraq invasion was disastrous for America. It is today aligning with Iran.
War against Iran will be a game changer. There are too many asymmetric methods that will be adopted by Iran as retaliation. One simple was recently published in the western press – Iran will target big oil tankers, sink them, fill Persian Gulf with oil, result will be all desalination plants supplying drinking water in the ME will instead provide oil to the people. AND EVEN GOD CANNOT DO ANYTHING TO PREVENT THIS. Forget America or its "allies". There are too many bad consequences. If you wish, many more consequences can be provided.
So forget dreaming about an attack on Iran. It should have happened years ago. Anybody who talks of an attack on Iran is an outright fraudster.

November 23, 2012 at 18:03

Right said. These speculators dont hav work.

Be Way
November 23, 2012 at 17:24

If this is not a deceptive and mischievous opinion, what else is.  
If war is not an option, why is Libya bombed into submission.   Why is Afghanistan still under NATO occupation.   Why is Syria being targeted as the current victim to be overthrown by the warmongering West.  And Iran next?   How about America "pivot" towards Asia which involved intensified diplomacy and mobilizing of U.S. military forces into Asia.   Are all these maneuvering for fun and gratification?

November 23, 2012 at 12:43

it is not Arabian see it called Persian Gulf , perhaps you need to take a Geometry  course to be enlightened.

November 23, 2012 at 04:46

The problem lies with us – journalists, reporters, and their readers. The whole community gets too much exited over any issue that pertains to the US-Iran nuclear issue. Its time all of us realize – WAR IS NOT AN OPTION. War will not happen even if Iran actually makes the bomb. A talk of war is only promoted by armchair journalists, fraudsters, conmen, and their likes. The western military does not think that way at all. The western military exactly knows the dangers and how the world order will permanently change. So it is therefore urged not to waste too much time on the "Iran issue". Iran is not be attacked today, neither in the future.

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