- REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
- Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis wanted to lay a trap for Iran after it downed a US RQ-170 drone back in 2011, Military Times reports, citing a passage from his new book “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.”
- Mattis, a four-star general who led US Central Command at the time, apparently wanted to send in a second drone with F/A-18 fighters hiding nearby. When Iran’s planes attacked again, the fighters would retaliate with force. The Obama administration wouldn’t go for it.
- The Trump administration faced a similar situation recently after Iran shot down a US RQ-4 reconnaissance drone. The president had planned to retaliate with force but ultimately backed out because Iranian troops would likely be killed, making it a disproportionate response to the loss of an unmanned asset.
- Mattis was relieved from his position by the Obama administration for being too hawkish on Iran, and he was forced out of the Pentagon early by President Donald Trump after he resigned over a dispute with the president.
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Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis wanted to lay a trap for the Iranians after the country’s armed forces downed a US drone, he revealed in his new book.
Mattis was fired by former President Barack Obama for being too hawkish on Iran when he was serving as the head of US Central Command, and he was forced to leave the Pentagon early as secretary of defense by President Donald Trump after the retired Marine Corps general abruptly resigned over a dispute with the president.
In his new book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” he offered some insight into his plans to punish Iran for downing a US RQ-170 Sentinel drone back in 2011, Military Times reports. “I proposed to Washington that we launch another drone on the same track, position a few F-18 aircraft out of sight, and shoot down the Iranian aircraft if it attacked the drone,” he wrote.
The White House wouldn’t go for it though.
Iran is believed to have reverse-engineered the drone captured in 2011, as apparent copies have been detected operating in the Middle East.
A few months ago, the US found itself in a similar situation. In late June, the Iranians shot down a US Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft, specifically a RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) drone.
The Trump administration, which walked away from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, has been much more aggressive in confronting Iran with a “maximum pressure” campaign that’s battering its economy; the Trump administration says this is needed because Iran was secretly violating the nuclear deal that the US left in 2018, a positon that broke with all of the deal’s signatories.
The RQ-4 incident nearly pushed the US and Iran into an armed conflict, as the US was preparing to retaliate with force. President Trump called off the attack at the last minute, arguing that a strike could kill dozens of Iranian people and stressing that such a response is “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
Mattis’ plan after Iran downed the RQ-170 appears to dismiss such concerns, as well as the possibility of escalating tensions with Iran.