Iran War Drums: President Trump Reportedly Cancels Retaliatory Attack; FAA Issues No Fly Order
President Trump reportedly authorized, and then cancelled, a retaliatory attack on Iran Thursday night for the downing of an unarmed U.S. drone the night before, reported the New York Times in a report later confirmed by CBS News. Planes were in the air and ships in position, however no missiles had been launched.
Screen image from IRGC propaganda video of attack on US drone.
.@CBSDavidMartin @CBSNews confirms, says there was ‘every indication’ the United States was about to launch a limited strike against Iranian surface-to-air missile sites Thursday night — but the U.S. stood down at the 11th hour for still-unexplained reasons. https://t.co/k3oAzAdXVg
— Olivia Gazis (@Olivia_Gazis) June 21, 2019
The FAA issued an order barring U.S. civilian aircraft from much of Iranian airspace, leading to speculation the attack was put off to allow the airspace to be cleared.
#FAA Statement: The FAA has issued a Notice to Airmen (#NOTAM) prohibiting U.S.-registered aircraft from operating over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. The NOTAM applies to all U.S. air carriers and commercial operators. pic.twitter.com/Z5eVX6hyOx
— The FAA (@FAANews) June 21, 2019
The Federal Aviation Administration has barred US civilian flights from the area where Iran shot down an American military drone, citing "heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region" pic.twitter.com/FcH5tn0JEw
— W.G. Dunlop (@wgdunlop) June 21, 2019
President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions.
As late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations.
Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.
The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said.
…It was not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.
…The strike was set to take place just before dawn Friday in Iran to minimize risk to the Iranian military and civilians.
An alternative theory for the cancellation was posited by Jeffrey Lewis, who recalled President Nixon facing a similar situation in his first term.
I don’t buy this. Trump’s team is trying to have it both ways — acting restrained but talking tough. This is pretty much what Nixon did in 1969, too. Why not just admit that sometimes restraint is smart?https://t.co/LZMeZAoYOD
— Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) June 21, 2019
In the mean time, the U.S. airline United is cancelling flights: