Spoke to Larry Kudlow of the "Kudlow Report" on CNBC, in re the CNN report that Iran's IRGC Air Force sent two Su-25 ground attack aircraft to intercept a US Predator drone on or about Thursday November 1 in the Gulf. The Iranian planes fired guns at the UAV but did not bring it down. Tyler Rogoway, aviationintel.com, argues that the IRGC pilots likely were aiming to destroy the US UAV; however they missed, since there is no fire solution system onboard the older style Su-25, and it was a matter of guesswork where to fire the guns at a small, evasive target. The Obama administration chose to keep the incident secret. This report is remarkable, because it reveals that the Obama administration worried how the news would affect the last days of the presidential contest. It also suggests that the IRGC kept the incident out of the news, because it did not want to interject this old-fashioned Cold War style provocation into the race.
The Pentagon has confirmed a report that two Iranian SU-25 military jets fired on a U.S. drone aircraft while flying over the Persian Gulf last week. The incident happened on Nov 3. According to the Pentagon, the Iranian military jets fired continuously while the drone aircraft was 15 miles outside of Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf. The drone was not hit while it flew in international airspace said the Pentagon. The Sukhoi Su-25 is a Russian made military fire jet, nicknamed Frogfoot, and the type Iran has are significantly older models.
Nixon Goes to China
What else? That Iran believes there is no moral hazard to its aggression. That the Supreme Leader regards POTUS Obama's re-election as unthreatening. That the Supreme Leader chooses to remind POTUS Obama what is in store for the second term if Mr. Obama does not deliver on the drawn-out negotiations about lifting the sanctions in exchange for Iran pretending its nuclear fuel cycle is "non-military." That Iran believes it is winning against the UN sanctions, because the largest power on the UN Security Council is shy about military retaliation for a naked provocation. (During the tanker wars of the 1980s, the US routinely shot back at Iranian threats and often caused casualties and/or sank Iranian war craft.) Reza Kahlili tells me that Iran aims to drag out the Obama administration's hopes for a grand bargain at least until the Spring 2013 and the Iranian elections. POTUS Obama's ambition is to travel to Tehran to shake the Supreme Leader's hand and to declare "Peace in our time." How likely is this scenario, a repeat of the Nixon goes to Beijing peace deal of 1972? Unknown. Improbable.