Tensions rise as Iran shoots at American predator drone and covert war heats up

US Politics
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An MQ-1 Predator drone. (Photo: Reuters)

The American and Israeli covert war against Iran has been cranked up a notch over the last few days and representatives of Iran and the Pentagon are engaged in some rhetorical sparring over another drone incident, so far with no independent confirmation of what really happened.

On November 1st two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired at a US predator drone off the Iranian coast and then as the drone started to retreat the jets ‘chased it away‘ by doing aerial loops around it before returning to Iran.  Sounds somewhat theatrical.

The Pentagon insists it was engaged in routine maritime surveillance in international airspace . Whether Iran intended to fire at the drone directly or were simply inept and missed their target surprisingly appears to be part of the narrative. A Pentagon spokesperson says “Our working assumption is that they “fired to take it down.”

We were never supposed to hear about it, the information was leaked yesterday. The Pentagon says they routinely don’t inform us as to their goings on (“we routinely do not advertise our classified surveillance missions”). A Pentagon spokesperson, George Little, is insisting  “our aircraft was never in Iranian airspace.” But the Pentagon has a history of being loose with the truth in our dealings with Iranian territorial space, or more politely, “correct facts have not always been initially forthcoming in past.” More on that later.

Mr. Little:

The United States has communicated to the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf, consistent with longstanding practice and our commitment to the security of the region.

The Arabian Gulf ? Take that Iran!

Today General Massoud Jazayeri, an Iranian senior armed forces commander issued a stern warning:

“The defenders of the Islamic Republic will respond decisively to any form of encroachment by air, sea or on the ground,” Fars news agency quoted General Massoud Jazayeri, a senior armed forces commander, as saying on Friday.

“If any foreign aircraft attempts to enter our airspace our armed forces will deal with them,”

Christian Science Monitor:

“There is absolutely no precedence for this. This is the first time that a [drone] has been fired upon to our knowledge by Iranian aircraft,” said Mr. Little.

Note, Iran did bring down the CIA’s drone last year though. In their report today the Washington Post claimed that drone “crashed” and Iran said they shot it down, which we know isn’t true and even their supporting link does not confirm. They completely evade admitting it was captured intact reconfiguring the drone’s GPS coordinates.

More from CSM’s Scott Peterson on the truthieness factor:

Two decades earlier, the US Navy was found to have covered up critical details of the 1988 shooting down by the USS Vincennes of an Iranian commercial jet over the Persian Gulf, which killed all 290 on board.

A Newsweek investigation found the official Pentagon investigation to be a “pastiche of omission, half-truths, and outright deceptions” that amounted to a “cover-up approved at the top.”

Among a host of other issues, the US Navy attempted to prove to Congress – using altered maps – that the USS Vincennes was in international waters at the time, when it was in fact inside Iranian waters, in violation of international law.

Meanwhile both sides are jostling war games to bolster their upcoming diplomacy. Iran is poised for another series of war games called the Defenders of Velayat Skies 4:

The 7-day maneuver dubbed “Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 4,” (Defenders of Velayat Skies 4) will be held later in November with the participation of units from the IRGC and other forces of the Army, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli told reporters today.

He added that the military exercise will be carried out in an area of more than 850,000 square kilometers to display the full strength and preparedness of Iran’s air defense forces to defend the Islamic Republic’s eastern borders.

The Iranian commander noted that various long-range radars and electronic surveillance systems will be tested during the drill, and added that the maneuver will display Iran’s defense policies in the air defense sector.

He added that the units would practice modern tactics in proportion to the recent threats made in certain parts of the world.

In May, Lieutenant Commander of the Army’s Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari stated that the Iranian Army plans to unveil and put into operation Iran’s first home-made Cobra chopper in special wargames of the Army’s Airborne unit in the near future.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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