Erbil – Iranian missile attack target located northeast of the city:
On March 13 (01:20 Am, local time) about 12 ballistic missiles were fired directly from Iran towards the city of Erbil (the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq) To an area located northeast of the city.
The missiles were apparently launched from the Tabriz area, a distance of about 300 km / 180 miles, or from the Kermanshah area, a distance of about 340 km/215 miles. The missiles fired were most likely Iranian-made medium-range “Fatah 110” ballistic missiles. If these missiles had landed in a crowded urban area, they would have caused considerable damage.
These missiles are powered by a solid-fuel engine, carrying a conventional half-ton warhead and usually have an inertial navigation system based on “blind navigation,” i.e., continuous calculation of position, direction, and speed based on a predetermined landmark (for impact) and a progress calculation based on a known or approximate speed, path and time passed.
In our assessment, the missiles fired in this case were upgraded and accurate missiles. These are the type of missiles that the bulk of the Iranian precision project for Hezbollah focuses on.
According to some Arab and Iranian media outlets, the sites targeted were ” Israeli Mossad bases” (a familiar Iranian claim). As of noon (March 13, local time), Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for the shooting and claimed it was carried out using precision missiles on a strategic center of the “Zionist entity” in Erbil.
In our assessment, there may be several reasons for the firing:
- A demonstration and message to Israel in light of the attack on two senior Iranian officers in Syria (March 07), i.e., Iran will fire ballistic missiles directly at cities in Israeli territory next time.
- A demonstration and message to the U.S. regarding Israeli activity against the Iranians in Syria, i.e., the continued implementation of the equation created with the Iranian attack on the American base in Al Tanf (October 20, 2021) – Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in Syria will be met with Iranian attacks on American interests in the Middle East (an equation of revenge).
- An Iranian message to the U.S., namely, the delay in negotiations on the nuclear agreement in Vienna and the failure to sign an agreement, will escalate Iranian military activity in the Middle East in general and against American targets in particular.
At this stage, Iran prefers not to carry out military activities with the potential for regional escalation. Such an escalation could severely hamper negotiations on the nuclear deal. On the other hand, in order to maintain its relative position, Iran has chosen to carry out a noisy and purposeful display that can be interpreted in several ways. This way Iran can enjoy conveying a general message that is relevant to both the United States and Israel.