My bad, it’s not the Gulf of Tonkin, it’s the Persian Gulf, but given that it looks like we are dealing with yet another false report that could lead to war, the similarities are uncanny.
The rocket attack on the military base that eventually led to the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was probably executed by Daesh, not an Iranian backed militia:
The white Kia pickup turned off the desert road and rumbled onto a dirt track, stopping near a marsh. Soon there was a flash and a ripping sound as the first of the rockets fired from the truck soared toward Iraq’s K-1 military base.
The rockets wounded six people and killed an American contractor, setting off a chain of events that brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war.
The United States blamed an Iraqi militia with close ties to Iran and bombed five of the group’s bases. Angry Iraqis then stormed the American Embassy. The United States then killed Iran’s top general. Iran then fired missiles at American forces and mistakenly shot down a passenger jet, killing 176 people.
But Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started the spiral of events, saying they believe it is unlikely that the militia the United States blamed for the attack, Khataib Hezbollah, carried it out.
American officials insist that they have solid evidence that Khataib Hezbollah carried out the attack, though they have not made it public.
If they had evidence, we would have heard it.
They wanted to get their war on, facts be damned.
The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah.
Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014.
The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces.
And the abandoned Kia pickup was found was less than 1,000 feet from the site of an ISIS execution in September of five Shiite buffalo herders.
These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say.
The repercussions for this bit of insanity will be playing out for decades, and they will not be good for us.