President Trump has tweeted that "All is well!"
"Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq.
Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!
We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!
I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."
Iranian foreign minister Javid Zarif has tweeted:
"Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched."
Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against multiple bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq, an have threatened "more crushing responses" if Washington carried out further strikes.
Initially, nine rockets hit the sprawling Ain al-Asad airbase in the country's west, the largest of the Iraqi military compounds where foreign troops are based. The attack came in three waves just after midnight, AFP reported.
Iran swiftly claimed responsibility for the attack, with state TV saying it had launched "tens of missiles" on the base.
Iranian sources are claiming that the operation has a name: 'Operation Martyr Suileimani'. Iran's airforce has reportedly been deployed.
Iraqi PMF announced the start of military operation "Overwhelming Response."
No confirmed details on injured/casualties - "working on initial battle damage assessments." According to social media sources, the Pentagon has said that the Iranian missile attack resulted in casualties among Iraqis only
President Trump "has been briefed" is "monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team," and despite initial reports from CNN he was set to address the nation, the press secretary has denied that Trump will address the nation tonight.
The FAA has imposed restrictions for civilian flights over the Persian Gulf.
ISNA reports that Iran has sent a letter to The United Nations Security Council saying it's not after war.
Markets are turmoiling: Safe-haven assets are soaring (bonds, bitcoin, and gold), Oil prices are jumping, and Stocks are getting slammed
Rabobank's Michael Every has an early hot-take on the situation:
At this stage, with news hazy and facts on the ground absent, there appear two realistic scenarios.
One is that this attack is theatre to placate the large crowds who were so recently on Iran’s streets.
The alternative is that Iran has genuinely decided to test Trump by also upping the ante.
The only way to tell is if there are US casualties.
If we get images of dead and injured US soldiers, then the worst-case scenarios begin to open up. If no real damage has been done by these missiles, but Tehran gets to show the crowds it responded, then more positive possibilities are still available. We will find out shortly – but breaking news is that there are ‘only’ Iraqi casualties, according to its Ministry of Defence. It remains to be seen if that is a red line for Trump, or is the kind of collateral damage he was expecting after taking out former IRGC head Soleimani.
Given that this move from Iran appears totally out of keeping with their usual strategic acumen, either the loss of Soleimani has meant a total loss of talent, and/or self-control, or this is indeed a token level of revenge.
I will *cautiously* stick to that interpretation for now.
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Update 16: And by all appearances, the night's chaos is over as Trump and Zarif have tweeted positive-sounding comments.
President Trump has tweeted:
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
And Iranian foreign minister Javid Zarif has also tweeted:
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
Stock futures have erased almost the entire drop...
And crude has tumbled back...
As if it never happened.
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Update 15: Between President Trump's silence (no planned address to the nation) and reports that Iran has told the UN Security Council that "it does not seek war," futures markets have pared losses...
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Update 14: According to NBC's Ali Arouzi, Iran has said that if there is no retaliation from America for these latest attacks then they will stop attacking. But if America attacks then their response "will be crushing and wide spread."
Iran is saying that if there is no retaliation from America for these latest attacks then they will stop attacking. But if America attacks then their response will be crushing and wide spread. #iran #soleimani #war— Ali Arouzi (@aliarouzi) January 8, 2020
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Update 13: The FAA has banned all civilian flights over Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman "due to heightened military activities" and the "potential for miscalculation or misidentification" according to AP.
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Update 12: Iran has warned that if there is retaliation for the two waves of attacks they launched their 3rd wave will destroy Dubai and Haifa.
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Update 11: According to CNN, the White House is making plans for Trump to address the nation from the Oval Office tonight, although according to the NYT this won't happen:
.@pressec confirms no address.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 8, 2020
Meanwhile, according to Iran's Mehr news agency and other sources, if still unconfirmed officially, the Iranian air-force has been has been deployed.
Separately, social media sources report that according to the Pentagon, the Iranian missile attack resulted in casualties among Iraqis only.
Pentagon states that the Iranian missile attack resulted in casualties among Iraqis only— Danny Makki (@Dannymakkisyria) January 8, 2020
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Update 10: Amid reports from VoA that a total of 3 US locations have been hit in Iraq by Iran cruise missiles - Al Asad, Erbil and Taji - we now wait for the US counter-response: just after 730pm, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived at the White House, as did the Chairman of Joint Chiefs. In short, Trump’s entire war cabinet is now at the White House.
US Defense Secretary seen carrying large bag arriving at White House moments ago. All top security officials are currently in West Wing with President Trump preparing response on Iran. pic.twitter.com/lRsj8hSzSK— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) January 8, 2020
Meanwhile, in addition to what is clearly a military operation out of Iran, moments ago the Iraqi PMF announced the start of military operation "overwhelming response."
Breaking: Iraqi PMF announces the start of military operation "overwhelming response"— Danny Makki (@Dannymakkisyria) January 8, 2020
And here is the clearest footage yet of the Iran ballistic missile launch against US targets in Iraq:
FOOTAGE:— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) January 8, 2020
Clearest footage from Iran showing the moment when IRGC launched the missiles against the US targets in Iraq pic.twitter.com/S1nXkOvMD6
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Update 9: According to Iran's semi-official news agency Tasnim, a "second wave" of attacks targeting an unidentified US base in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, has issued a statement urging U.S. people to call back American soldiers from the region. The IRGC statement adds that more details of the missile attack will be published later.
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Update 8: The Pentagon has released a full statement on the attacks, claiming that more than a dozen missiles were fired from within Iran, and that at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US troops were targeted.
Statement from Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman
At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil.
We are working on initial battle damage assessments.
In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region.
As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.
Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Meanwhile, more footage of the attacks has appeared on social media:
Another video of the attack on Ayn Al Asad. pic.twitter.com/XXhJhCZf0A— WW3 Updates (@ww3updates) January 8, 2020
US F-35s have been scrambled from bases in Turkey and the UAE.
Meanwhile, Iran claims that a "second wave" of attacks targeting an unidentified US base in Iraq is beginning, according to semi-official news agency Tasnim. The IRGC is also threatening to attack any other countries that host US troops.
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Update 7: This is about to go to '11'.
US jets are reportedly "in the air" and leaving Turkey as stocks extend their decline, and oil futures continue to climb. Reports are claiming that shelling has stopped at Al Asad Air Base, and that roughly 35 rounds hit the base.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham: "We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement."
The Pentagon has confirmed that more than a dozen missiles were launched from Iran. "It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran." But others claim there appears to be some doubt.
Some media reports noted that the base has been visited by President Trump in the past, giving the attack a special significance. US military sources are saying that troops at the base are still in lockdown, though the attack is said to be over.
Initial reports on NBC Nightly News claimed US officials are looking into whether the attacks originated from within Iranian territory, a question that was also explored immediately following the Aramco attack late last year.
Iranian TV is already threatening "more violent responses" if the US retaliates for these latest attacks.
And so, Iran's promised "historic nightmare" has begun.
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Update 6: The drop in S&P futures is accelerating as more senior US military officials confirm that a US army base in Iraq is under ballistic missile attack. The drop in S&P futures is accelerating as US and Iranian sources report attacks "all over the country."
Brent futures have extended their gains to 3% on the news, which seems to suggest that the crisis between the US and Iran over the killing of Suleimani is far from over.
While details on casualties are still unclear, experts are saying that the weapons used were either cruise missiles, or short-range ballistic weaponry, or possibly a mix.
From senior US military source in Iraq:— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 7, 2020
“Under missile attack from Iran. These are either cruise missiles or short range ballistic missiles. All over the country.”
And we now have a statement from the IRGC claiming responsibility for the attacks: "The brave soldiers of IRGC's aerospace unit have launched a successful attack with tens of ballistic missiles on Al Assad military base in the name of martyr Gen. Qasem Soleimani."
Looking ahead, many are wondering if the fighting will reach Baghdad.
Meanwhile, it is quite calm here in #Baghdad, but not expected to stay for long.. It is the WAR— Feras Kilani فراس كيلاني (@FerasKilaniBBC) January 7, 2020
And the White House has confirmed that President Trump has been briefed on the attacks, and is monitoring the situation closely with his national security team at the White House.
Given the severity of the situation, it's still strange that the US was slow to confirm the initial reports. A reporter for CNN is reporting that the Pentagon was slow to respond because officials were "sent home early for what was supposed to be a major snowstorm" in DC.
Nancy Pelosi was reportedly briefed about the attacks during a steering meeting. Her response to her fellow members? Pray....
Multiple members tell reporters that Pelosi received a note during the steering meeting informing her of the attack in Iraq. Her message to her members in the room? Pray.— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) January 7, 2020
Iranian sources are claiming that the operation has a name: 'Operation Martyr Suileimani'.
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Update 5: Bloomberg has now confirmed WaPo's reporting, adding that at least nine rockets have now hit Al-Asad Airbase. There have also been reports of IRGC commanders claiming to have launched "tens of missiles" at the base.
Al Mayadeen TV has also confirmed.
And just like that, ES is sliding, and Brent is spiking...
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Update 4: Confirmation at last.
After hours of vague and unconvincing reports about a string of attacks on US buildings in Iraq, the Washington Post has apparently confirmed that at least one of the attacks - the most recent to be reported - is real.
Reporter Dan Lamothe described his source as "very credible."
U.S. defense official confirms that Al Asad air base in Iraq's Anbar province has been hit by at least six rockets tonight. Additional details unclear. But very credible source.— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) January 7, 2020
Video of alleged Iranian rockets raining down on the American base has just hit Twitter.
BREAKING VIDEO: Suspected Iranian originating rockets seen being launched toward military base housing US forces in Iraq moments ago. pic.twitter.com/qxnBlV0Kgx— Israel Breaking (@IsraelBreaking) January 7, 2020
So it looks like this really is the Iranian retaliation that we've been waiting for.
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Update 3: And the stream of strange reports of attacks and sirens at US bases and consulates around the Middle East continues, as a reporter for Al-Monitor, a credible English-language source of news and analysis on the Middle East region, claims another missile attack has been reported, this time at Al-Asad airbase in Anbar Province.
Reports claim that more than 30 missiles have been launched at the base, and still more are coming in.
NEW: Defense official tells me that Al-Asad airbase that houses US & coalition troops in Iraq has been hit with 6 rockets. Not clear if there are any casualties.— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch_ALM) January 7, 2020
Following reports of a siren heard at the US consulate in Erbil, Iraqi TV is reporting that flights into the local airport have been suspended.
Once again, Iranian media is reporting the attacks, though we must admit, the photo below doesn't exactly look genuine.
The mainstream American press and Pentagon are still eerily quiet.
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Update 2: The UK tabloid Daily Mail is now reporting at "siren test" at Taji military base in Iraq, which it says is host to British and American troops. The report appears to have verified claims that at least five rockets have hit the base, and that sirens have been heard ringing out at consulates around the area, including Erbil, which we noted below.
Critically, the paper notes that some reports suggest that the missile strike might simply be a drill. It also noted that the alleged strike is unfolding just hours after a flurry of US airstrikes on militia bases in Western Iraq and Syria, targeting the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units.
One local journalist reports that his sources say the "attack" was merely just a drill, and that the base is "calm tonight."
According to my sources, #Taji camp is calm tonight and no attacks occurred. I will keep you updated.— Barzan Sadiq (@BarzanSadiq) January 7, 2020
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More unconfirmed reports are trickling in, this time from Australia-based cleric Imam Tawhidi.
#NEW: Pictures of US forces leaving Camp Taji to exit Iraq’s territories.— Imam of Peace / Pray for Peace... (@Imamofpeace) January 7, 2020
(These pictures were taken a few hours ago and the surroundings cannot identify their location/direction anyway. Safe to post). pic.twitter.com/wXlQzubF6B
The Military COALITION base in #Taji is not empty. Anywhere the rockets land will cause significant harm. We hope that all US forces have left already. (If the US forces are no longer there, the militias will stop firing rockets at soldiers from other countries). pic.twitter.com/tfm2v9ip4f— Imam of Peace / Pray for Peace... (@Imamofpeace) January 7, 2020
And a video purporting to depict a warning at the base advising personnel to "shelter in place" - though there's no way of telling whether it is authentic.
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Update: The Jerusalem Post has apparently picked up reports from Iran's Fars news agency claiming that at least five rockets have hit Taji, potentially placing the lives of American troops in peril.
That means the reports of the attack, which were first circulated by unconfirmed accounts, have now been vetted by the mainstream press. Though some on social media claim that people on the ground in the area don't see any signs of the attack, and are skeptical that this might be another Iranian attempt at disruptive media hacking.
CONFIRMED: Taji base housing US troops hit with 5 rockets. No word on damage done and the type of missiles used. pic.twitter.com/4zACbEgf5G— WW3 Updates (@ww3updates) January 7, 2020
And, as we noted below, markets are taking the news seriously.
Get ready for more hysteria about the dawn of WWIII.
Meanwhile, in reference to a separate incident, local media reports that alarms that sounded at the US consulate in Erbil were a test.
Iraq: Al-Mayadeen Corespondent: Sirens that sounded at the U.S Consulate in Erbil were a test.— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) January 7, 2020
Erbil is nowhere near Camp Taji— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) January 7, 2020
If these reports are true, it's also notable that President Trump appeared to back away from threats to attack Iranian cultural sites during an "exchange" with reporters int he Oval Office ahead of his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis Tuesday afternoon, per the Washington Post.
Though, in typical Trump style, Trump also defended the strike against Suleimani and suggested he wasn't happy about restraining his rhetoric toward Iran.
“They’re allowed to blow up everything that we have and there’s nothing that stops them,” he said. “And we are, according to various laws, supposed to be very careful with their cultural heritage. And you know what, if that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law.”
Asked about the future of US troops in Iraq, Trump said the US would like to get out "at some point."
“At some point, we want to get out, but this isn’t the right point,” he said, adding that the United States would want to be reimbursed for costs related to fighting the Islamic State militant group.
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Following four days of increasingly belligerent threats from Iran and its leadership, unconfirmed reports claim 5 missiles have just struck a US base in Iraq.
The base is called Taji camp, and it's situated about 17 miles north of Baghdad. Notably, US troops are housed at the camp.
If this is an Iranian attack, it's notable that it's coming at the end of the four days of mourning for General Qasem Suleimani, who was killed last week in an audacious drone strike ordered by President Trump while Suleimani was attending a meeting in Baghdad.
Ominously, the heavily-followed (though not official) twitter account @Iran, tweeted a threatening message a few hours ago...
Though the reports are unconfirmed, news of what could be the beginning of Iran's threatened retaliation for the killing of General Qasem Suilemani inspired a slight pop in crude futures.
...while stocks are unhappy.