This is the fourth time in my life that a civil airliner has been shot down by military miscalculation.
The US shot down an Iranian airliner in the 1980’s having mistaken it for an air attack, the Soviets shot down a 747-200 of Korean Air – they thought it was an American RC-135 SIGINT aircraft in their air space. The Russians/Ukraine separatists shot down a Malaysian 772 just a few short years ago. Now Iran has finally admitted it accidentally shot down the Ukraine 737.
In all but the Malaysian case, which seems to have been premeditated for propaganda purposes, all three of the other incidents were caused by one thing: Paranoia.
In all three cases years of propaganda, years of suspicion, years of always expecting the worst from an adversary that would never stop to get at you, played their inevitable role.
The Iranians with the missile would have been on long term high alert, told year in year out that the Great Satan – as they call the US, was coming for them. The night of the Iranian missile strike on US bases they would have been on a knife edge expecting an American attack.
Almost certainly younger than 40, inexperienced and indoctrinated with the hatred of years of conflict, these men know no other conflict, powered by adrenalin, lack of sleep and on edge, they fired.
No Flightradar24 for them to check up, internet access is strictly controlled, just years of propaganda and paranoia. Now 176 people are dead.
This is what both sides have done to each other over 40 years of threats, counter threats and pushing each other to the brink.
Trump and America are just as much to blame as Iran. Just when a way out became possible in 2015 and Iran slowly started to see it didn’t have to be be so aggressive to keep America at bay, Trump dumped the Nuclear control agreement and put the whole course of the relationship into sharp reverse- and here we are again.
This is a never ending cycle of events and Iran understands that direct military conflict doesn’t and can’t work against a conventional military power like the US. So it’s invented ever more devious asymmetric warfare systems and operations America struggles to deal with, something it’s worked closely with the Russians, masters of this genre of conflict, to achieve.
Tit for tat the conflict rolls on, Iran heads to a nuclear weapon – something America says it won’t tolerate but in reality has little way to prevent, because Iran has buried its facilities so far apart and so deep underground they’re virtually untouchable.
Sanctions have failed, and now only a generational shift on both sides can bring a solution. Neither side is anywhere near it.
Innocent civilians have paid the price. Syria and Iraq have paid the price. American and British soldiers, sailors and airmen have paid the price. Iranians have paid the price, Yemen pays the price every day. How many more?