Russia Aims For Syria, Hits Iran

Missed it by that much.

Putin Smirk

Somehow, Russian cruise missiles that were apparently aimed for Syria instead hit targets in Iran:

BRUSSELS — Cruise missiles fired by Russia from warships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria crashed in a rural area of Iran, senior United States officials said on Thursday.

It was unclear exactly where in Iran the missiles had landed, or whether there were any casualties. The officials said the flight path of the Russian cruise missiles would have taken them across northern sections of Iran andIraq on the way to Syria. But not all of them made it there, one official said.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military intelligence.

News of the crashes, which were reported by CNN, came as Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter sharply criticized what he called Russia’s “unprofessional” conduct in its incursion into Syria. Speaking at a NATO news conference in Brussels, Mr. Carter said that Moscow had fired the barrage of cruise missiles with no advance notice.

American officials also said that some sort of mishap was to be expected, since the missiles had never been fired in wartime.

“This was the first operational test of these in operational conditions,” one official said of the Russian Kalibr missiles that were used.

Well, they certainly did demonstrate their new cruise missile system to the world, just not the way they intended to.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    In Mother Russia, missiles guide themselves!

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    It would appear that Russia’s “hi tech” weapons are not that hi tech.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @Ron Beasley: I was just thinking how the NSA must be grinning from ear to ear.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    @grumpy realist: If they can’t even hit the right country why would anyone think they could hit the intended targets?

  5. DrDaveT says:

    American officials also said that some sort of mishap was to be expected, since the missiles had never been fired in wartime.

    I’d love to know just which “officials” those were. In particular, are they the very same American officials who whine endlessly that operational test and evaluation adds cost and delay to US defense acquisition programs?

  6. Argon says:

    Things may shortly go bad for the missile design team. Of course, not quite as bad as what happens to dissident journalists in Russia, but close, perhaps.

    Then again, we managed to hit a hospital recently so we probably should not be the ones to talk about targeting failures.

  7. SC_Birdflyte says:

    This reminds me of what Mort Sahl said about Wernher von Braun: “He aimed at the stars – and often hit London.”

  8. Tillman says:

    Aiming within seventy-two thousand square miles is a new experience for Russian engineers. They were used to aiming at a much larger country, with bombs that had very high yields. Accuracy was not as much a priority then.

  9. stonetools says:

    Putin is a genius, right?

    He’s got Obama on the run, he’s brilliantly executing strategy while Obama is a bumbling fool, and shortly Russia is going to get it’s warm water Mediterranean port while the callow West prepares to crumble before Putin’s awesome bare chested manliness.

    Or maybe not.

  10. CSK says:

    He looks carsick in that photo.

  11. Tyrell says:

    Last night, US pulls remaining carrier from gulf. That is something to think about. And it is not good.

  12. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: You have been known to send me on interesting cruises through the internets, my friend, so I always check up on ‘WTF is Tyrell talking about’? Today was kind of disappointing. Not like that heat wave in Tehran story a while back.

    The Teddy Roosevelt is being withdrawn from the Persian Gulf for planned maintenance. There’s going to be a gap in carrier coverage until the Harry Truman completes their preparations and moves in. This was announced back in June. Regrettable but part of that whole sequester thing and running government as if it were a business and etc.

    Were you implying that the Russians drove the USNavy out of the Gulf?

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnMcC: I think he’s trying to insinuate that there’s some extry special plan that somehow is tied up with Jade Helm and Wal-Mart and kittens.

    Ok, I lied about the kittens.

  14. dazedandconfused says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    At least they are aiming at the right country…which is more than we can say about 2003.

  15. Tyrell says:

    @JohnMcC: No. The CNN report for some reason did not mention the Truman carrier moving in.
    But the Russian show in Syria started with the Russians telling Secretary Kerry the US had one hour to get their planes and people “out of the way”. Shocking.
    Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson would not have gone for that. They would have put Russia in their place.
    “Bring it on”

  16. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: I don’t know that FDR (that IS the Roosevelt you’re talking about, eh?), for example, would have gone to war with the Russians over the Mediterranean littoral of Syria. I think he would probably know that the Russians have committed a terrible mistake and would let them dig themselves deeper and deeper — as they did to the US when we were dealing with wars in Korea and VietNam (wars fought by the other Democratic Presidents you name).

    Who told you that the biggest meanest bully on the block is someone to admire and emulate?

    You should have listened to Napoleon: Never interfere with your enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.

  17. dazedandconfused says:

    I suspect Obama is trying to very very slowly bring people to the conclusion the Russians are right, Assad and the government of Syria are allies against ISIL and the only likely “boots on the ground” in the region.

    The dogma that “Assad must go” is slowly beginning to be questioned. The official positions and statements do not match actions well at all. It may be a combination of the perceived need to maintain good relations with the Sauds, Turks, Israel et al and the political difficulty of reversing a position so utterly. Also, given the nature of being a black President of a deeply racist nation were he to “lead” on this it would lite a fire under the currently knee jerking reactionary purely anti-Obama “GOP”, and one which drives them in the wrong direction. Resorting to reverse psychology should be no surprise. As long as he holds the opposite position the door for FOX News to question that position remains ajar.