US Claims Malfunctioning Russian Cruise Missiles Hit Iran; Moscow, Tehran Both Deny

The past seven days have brought a wave of competing propaganda from both Washington and Moscow as both East and West scramble to shape the narrative on Syria where Russia’s “intervention” has apparently turned the tide in favor of Damascus, completely destroying the anti-Assad strategy of the Pentagon’s regional allies. 

It’s absolutely imperative for everyone to do their best to maintain the public’s trust here. This is how we put it on Wednesday: 

The West cannot afford to stand by and watch Russia do in a matter of weeks what the US has failed to accomplish in 13 months. Put simply: if Moscow declares victory over ISIS within the next month or two (and that appears as likely as not), Washington will be left to explain to a bewildered public what just happened. To the uninitiated, it will appear as though Russia’s military is far superior to the US Army when it comes to fighting terror and on top of that, Iran’s now well publicized role will not only cast further doubt on the nuclear deal, but will also raise questions about the contention that Tehran is committed to financing and exporting terror. 

 

For Russia, the powerplay in Syria represents nothing short of a return to the world stage after decades of flying below the radar as a second rate superpower. Putin has now proven that Moscow can project its influence with virtual impunity and as Monday’s “accidental” violation of Turkish airspace suggests, The Kremlin is getting more brave by the day in the face of what certainly looks like a de facto surrender by the West. 

Well, it now looks as though, lacking anything in the way of options, the US is set to try and sow discord between Russia and Iran by highlighting the following “story”:

  • MISSILES MEANT FOR SYRIA LANDED IN RURAL IRAN: DEFENSE OFFICIAL
  • FOUR RUSSIAN CRUISE MISSILES LANDED IN IRAN, U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS
  • U.S BELIEVES FOUR RUSSIAN CRUISE MISSILES FIRED AT SYRIA FROM RUSSIAN SHIP CRASHED IN IRAN -U.S. OFFICIALS
  • MISSILES MEANT FOR SYRIA LANDED IN RURAL IRAN: DEFENSE OFFICIAL

And here’s CNN:

A number of cruise missiles launched from a Russian ship and aimed at targets in Syria have crashed in Iran, two U.S. officials told CNN Thursday.

 

Monitoring by U.S. military and intelligence assets has concluded that at least four missiles crashed as they flew over Iran. One official said there may be casualties, but another official said this is not yet known.

 

It's unclear where in Iran the missiles landed. The Russian ships have been positioned in the south Caspian Sea, meaning the likely flight path for missiles into Syria would cross over both Iran and Iraq.

 

The Russians have been firing a relatively new cruise missile called "Kaliber," using it for the first time in combat.

Note that we are not denying the possibility that some Russian cruise missles might have accidentally landed in Iran. That very well could be the case. But if it is, here's why: Moscow just fired up a military juggernaut that's been parked in the garage for nearly three decades and so yeah, it's entirely possibly that there will be a few hiccups and tragically, those hiccups will probably result in the loss of innocent lives. There's no sugar coating that.

But if this is an effort on the part of the Pentagon to create tension between Moscow and Tehran it won't work.

Understand that this would be like attempting to sow conflict between the US and Canada by drawing attention to US missles that accidentally hit Alberta on the way to targets in Alaska where militants were attempting to invade North America. In other words: Tehran isn't going to care about this and the sooner Washington, Doha, and Riyadh decide to get serious about developing a real strategy here, the better off they'll look in the history books because suggesting that Russian jets are about to bomb Ankara and/or that Russia shouldn't fire cruise missiles at militants because one or two might malfunction on the flight over Iran hardly counts as a credible "plan" and indeed, this isn't exactly the best time for the US to be pointing fingers when it comes to collateral damage.

Oh, and by the way, both Russia and Iran say these reports are entirely bogus. Via Sputnik:

Iranian defense ministry believes reports on "fallen Russian cruise missiles" are part of the intensified western propaganda war, according to a source.

 

Tehran denies US reports that four of Russia's cruise missiles targeting ISIL actually fell to the ground in Iran, with the country's defense ministry calling the accusations "psychological war."  

 

Russia's Defense Ministry denies US media reports of an alleged incident involving cruise missiles which were fired at ISIL positions in Syria on October 7, stating that all missiles hit their designated targets.     

 

"No matter how unpleasant and unexpected for our colleagues in the Pentagon and Langley was yesterday's high-precision strike on Islamic State infrastructure in Syria, the fact remains that all missiles launched from our ships have found their targets," ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.