Key point: Tehran's efforts to bolster its asymmetric capabilities in recent decades by investing in militias and weapons like cruise and ballistic missiles ensure that it retains the ability to inflict considerable damage on many in the region
The images paint a picture of precision: The first satellite imagery of the aftermath of the Iranian strike on Ayn al-Asad Air Base in Iraq highlights Iran's improved ability to accurately strike distant targets with its extensive missile arsenal. The pictures, released by imaging company Planet Labs on Jan. 8, show that Iran can chalk up its strike as a success even without inflicting U.S. casualties. What's more, they also show how Iran sought to skirt a delicate line in exacting public retribution while also avoiding an escalation that would lead to outright war.
The Aftermath of a Strike
According to reports, Iran fired around 16 short-range ballistic missiles at two bases with a U.S. presence in Iraq, Ayn al-Asad and Arbil International Airport. Tehran appears to have launched several of its less reliable Qaim 1 missiles at Arbil, though many of them apparently failed to hit their target. Still, the brunt of Iran's attack was Ayn al-Asad, which was hit by about 10 of Iran's more reliable Fateh-110 missiles (and possibly its more modern Fateh-313 variant).