April 14, 2024 MEMRI Daily Brief No. 592

Ayn Al-Asad Number Two – Iran Pre-Coordinated Its Attack Against Israel With The U.S. So That No One Will Be Hurt And War With Israel Will Be Avoided

April 14, 2024 | By Yigal Carmon*
Iran | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 592

To understand what happened last night during Iran's direct attack on Israel, one has to go back four years to the killing by the United States of Iran's Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. Iran needed to react symbolically in retaliation to save face and asked to do so. The United States allowed it to attack its own Ayn Al-Asad airbase so that no one there would be hurt. Fifteen missiles were fired at the base, with the result being minor damage and not one drop of blood. Iran may deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for being able to fire 15 missiles without killing anyone.

Lt. Col. Staci Coleman, who was the commander of the 443rd Air Expeditionary Squadron, and members of her squadron testified[1] that they had been briefed about an impending Iranian ballistic missile attack almost six hours before it happened. Captain Wesley Florez, the executive officer of the 1st Expeditionary Rescue Group, said that he had received information about the attack early the previous afternoon.[2]

Lt. Col. Staci Coleman, Commander of 443rd AES, Ayn Al-Asad Airbase (Source: PressTV (Iran) Twitter, January 13, 2020)

Trump told Fox News in February 2024: "Do you know, we hit them [Iran] very hard for something that they did, and they had to hit back, they feel they have to do that and I understand that. Do you know, they called me to tell me 'We're going to hit a certain location but we're not gonna hit it, it's gonna be outside of the perimeter'... They let us know. And we had 16 missiles that went off... And we knew they weren't going to hit. And now I reveal it... So they aimed those missiles and they said, 'Please don't attack us, we're not going to hit you.' That was respect, we had respect."[3]

Iran's then-foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the Iranian regime had informed Iraq of its plans to launch missiles at the U.S. bases. This move guaranteed that Iraq would then inform the U.S., so that precautions would be taken to prevent the loss of life.

Now, let's come back to Iran's bombing of Israel last night. Iran wanted to retrieve its deterrence after the killing in Damascus of Iranian General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who, by Iran's own testimony, was the mastermind of the October 7 attack.[4] The U.S. then did to Israel what it had done to itself: It coordinated with the Iranians so that civilians would not be struck. Arab media are already reporting this coordination.[5] Iran made it easy for the U.S., Israel, Britain, and Jordan to know what it would and would not do, and where it would do it. Israel was not part of this coordination.

Iran then launched 300 cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, and not even a cat's tail was injured. When Hamas shoots, there are injuries. When Hezbollah shoots, there are injuries. When Iran shoots, there were none.

One Israeli girl was injured as a result of an air defense missile and not as a result of an attack missile or drone. Just like the damage to Ayn Al-Asad four years ago, there was minor damage to Israel's Nevatim Air Force Base in the northern Negev, but no one was injured there either. Can this be explained by saying, out of sheer hubris, that the Iranians are weak and stupid? Only naïve people can believe this.

In the days before the attack, America, according to media reports, had exchanges with Iran. Early warnings had been coming from America for a whole week in reports including those in The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. All of Israel was put in hysteria over the upcoming Iranian attack, which anyway benefitted Prime Minister Netanyahu, pushing from the news his responsibility for October 7.

America coordinated the attack with Iran so that no one will be physically injured or killed. This was thanks to the highly skilled American, Israeli, British, and Jordanian air defenses.

The Americans played Israel and they are continuing to do so by preventing an Israeli reaction. In fact, they began the pressure on Israel not to react even before the attack took place. CENTCOM's commander General Michael Kurilla went to Israel on April 13 and pressed for prior coordination with the U.S. of any action by Israel. Now President Biden said it himself: You were not hurt, they failed. Do not do anything. Do not escalate because you will be dragging us into a war. We protected you and no one was hurt. The answer will be diplomatic.

Indeed, no one was hurt, but Israel's deterrence was struck down by the U.S.'s pre-coordination with Iran. Israel's deterrence was sold out to save Iran's deterrence.

When the ballistic missiles that can reach Tel Aviv from Iran in 12 minutes were delayed, I told friends that it was probably in order to stop for refreshments along the way and that the Americans were going to tell us not to react...

Al Jazeera, the Hamas channel aligned with Iran, reported that drones spotted over Aqaba in southern Jordan were continuing on their way to Eilat. Anyone who knows the area knows that drones anywhere in Aqaba could reach the almost adjacent Eilat in two minutes, and yet there were no drone bombings in Eilat...

This coordination with Iran that guarantees no casualties, no injuries, was made over Israel's head.

Israel's air force, like those of the U.S., UK, and Jordan, did a great job. They had full information about the missiles that were coming. Israel got the information from the Americans, who got the information about the what, where, and when of the air strikes from the Iranians, enabling an unfathomable 99 percent missile defense rate.

The Israeli air force and air defense, together with the others, did their best, but Israel's deterrence was lost. To retrieve it would be a painful process because, as the Iranians are threatening, the next attack will not be pre-coordinated. The worst for Israel would be to believe that the results of this night is all Iran can achieve. They can do far more.

*Yigal Carmon is President and Founder of MEMRI.


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