What was the success-rate of the April 14th missiles against Syria?

by Eric Zuesse

Photo allegedly showing Syrian air defenses downing allied missiles over Damascus

The U.S. and Russia provide diametrically opposite accounts of the percentages of U.S.-and-allied missiles that hit their targets in Syria on the night of April 13th-14th.
On the 14th, Russia’s military said that 71 of the 103 U.S.-and-allied missiles were shot down by Syria. But on this very same day, the U.S. announced that 105 missiles had been launched and “none intercepted.” So: Was the U.S. side’s success-rate 100%, as America claimed; or, instead, 31%, as Russia claimed? This difference is, obviously, huge.
During the subsequent days, U.S.-and-allied media celebrated their side’s alleged victory; for example, on April 22nd, USA Today bannered “105 to 0: Why Syria’s air defenses failed to intercept a single incoming missile”, and reported that:

U.S., French and British forces launched 105 missiles from aircraft and ships at three chemical weapons facilities in Syria last weekend in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack launched by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russia claimed that Syrian defenses knocked down many incoming missiles, but the Pentagon said every weapon hit its intended target, dismissing the Russian comments as a disinformation campaign.

As of yet, the Russian side has not accused the U.S. side of a “disinformation campaign” about this. However, it has stuck to its guns and not backed down about its own, directly opposite, assertions; for example, Russia on April 16th gave a detailed breakdown of the results of the U.S.-and-allied bombing, and reported at here at 1:32:30, “a total of 103 cruise missiles were targeting the Syrian targets, and 71 [missiles] were taken out.” That claim would be a 69% Syrian-and-allied (defensive) success-rate, and a 31% U.S.-and-allied (aggressive) success-rate, on this event, which was the biggest direct military confrontation between Russian and American (and French and UK) forces, ever. This was also, therefore, arguably, the actual start of World War III.
The issue in the wake of the U.S. side’s invasion here — the crucial issue — is the relative functionality of the two sides’ conventional weaponries, and perhaps even more broadly of their militaries: the functionality of, and preparedness for, the conventional stage, preceding the strategic nuclear stage, in WW III. Presumably, after the conventional phase will have its ultimate winner and loser, the loser will suddenly unleash its nuclear forces against the other, so as to avoid defeat. The first side to attack will have the advantage to achieve a nuclear victory. The nuclear phase of the war will be over within around 30 minutes.
In military matters, to ‘win’ means simply suffering less damage than does the opponent; and the first to attack will destroy some of the opponent’s retaliatory strategic weapons. Only conventional weaponry is involved at the present stage, the conventional-war phase; but, if things do reach the nuclear stage between these two sides, then even the side that ‘wins’ the war will be far more totally destroyed than even the loser has been in any prior war in history.
On April 25th, a Russian news-site headlined (as autotranslated) “The Russian military showed the remains of downed Coalition missiles in Syria” and reported that:

The Russian Defense Ministry showed the wreckage of the American Tomahawk missiles and European TOOL, the Storm Shadow. At the disposal of the military were large fragments of the engines and control systems, parts of the fuselage. And many of them show visible marks from shrapnel. This proves the fact that the missiles were intercepted by air defense systems.

Although the truth about this matter might not be of much interest to voters in any country, it will matter a great deal to the ruling aristocracies in any countries, such as Turkey, which are now making decisions between buying weapons made by the U.S. side, or else buying weapons made by the Russian side. And those decisions, in turn, will factor heavily into the choosing-up-of-sides in WW III, if neither the U.S nor Russia backs down so that a full-fledged hot war between U.S. and Russia results.
Consequently, the question as to which of these two sides is lying, is geostrategically very important. If Russia is telling the truth, then the sway will be favorable to Russia; if America is telling the truth, America will benefit.
Also: ever since the U.S. misrepresented the evidence regarding “Saddam’s WMD” in the lead-up to America’s 2003 invasion-and-occupation of Iraq, the question as to whether or not the assertions by the U.S. Government are lies is at least as severe as is the question as to whether the Russian Government lies. Presumably, both sides do (though one side might be lying far more than does the other); but, the question here concerns, in particular, military matters, and even the fate of the world. Lying in order to ‘justify’ an invasion is as serious a matter as exists, anywhere, anytime; and, if the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons will determine that the U.S.-and-allied invasion of Syria on April 14th was likewise based upon lies, then the consequences of what happened in that invasion will be even larger than merely the military competencies of the two respective sides.
On April 25th, Russia’s Sputnik News bannered “OPCW Finds No Chemical Weapons at Syrian Facilities Bombed by US – Russian MoD”, and so it’s not only the U.S. side’s military competency that is yet to be determined, but — again, as had happened in 2003 Iraq — whether or not the U.S. now routinely lies in order to ‘justify’ its invasions. That might turn out to be an issue of interest not only to the ruling aristocracies, but to their respective subjects.
Perhaps neither of the two sides will back down as between there having been an American missiles-success-rate of 100%, or of 31%, but the OPCW represents a higher authority than does any nation; it represents, in fact, 192 nations. If the finding by the OPCW turns out to confirm the U.S. Government’s accusation (that Syria’s government had used chemicals on April 7th against its own people) which was used to justify the April 14th invasion, then the invasion will retroactively thereby receive at least some degree of moral, if not legal, confirmation. But if the finding turns out to disconfirm that accusation, then the April 14th invasion will be seen instead as a smaller version of George W. Bush’s and Tony Blair’s clearly illegal and unjustified 20 March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Repeating that type of invasion, now, even though far smaller than happpened in 2003, would indicate to the entire world that the United States is an enduring and systematic threat to world peace. The stakes are high for both sides, regardless of what the finding by the OPCW turns out to be.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.


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Apr 27, 2018 2:19 AM

Excerpt from No attack, no victims, no chem weapons: Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague (VIDEO):
Witnesses of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab and hospital staff, told reporters at The Hague that the White Helmets video used as a pretext for a US-led strike on Syria was, in fact, staged.
“We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital. We went through a tunnel. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me,” the boy told the press conference, gathered by Russia’s mission at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

Apr 26, 2018 11:07 PM

The OCPW is NOT a higher authority. It is completly controlled by the US and its vassals. Russia or Syria get no justice there.
George Monbiot, in a recent off guardian piece said in 2003 the OPCW was a tool of the USA basically so that they do have to get rid of their chemical weapons. Add Israel to the mix.

Apr 26, 2018 10:07 PM

“…the Pentagon said every weapon hit its intended target, dismissing the Russian comments as a disinformation campaign.”
The important part in this sentence is:
“…the Pentagon said…”.
To believe anything the Pentagon said is a sure sign for severe cognitive dissonance.
One gets the impression that Edward Bernays must have been the resident propagandist in the Pentagon for a very long time. He instructed the department in ‘Psychological Projection’ and was highly successful at doing so. Is there a bust of Bernays in the Pentagon? There got to be one. With a golden placard: “Dedicated to Edward Bernays – The Father Of Psychological Projection – For His Services To The Pentagon”.

Google Talpiot Program
Google Talpiot Program
Apr 28, 2018 9:33 AM
Reply to  notheonly1

True you should be very sceptical but you should also be when it comes to Russian government statements as well.

Apr 28, 2018 9:54 AM

Since my comment was in response to an article containing “the Pentagon said”, it is reflective of that fact.
It should be self-evident, that there is highly likely not one department/ministry/institution/organization, whose verbal effusions can be taken at face value.
Not here, not there, not anywhere.
That’s why the Universe is providing – free of charge – ‘Critical Thinking’, as without such, it is impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to say.

Apr 28, 2018 1:11 PM

It has long been my observation that the Russian government doesn’t boast on such matters, so I reckon that what they said is what happened.

Harry Law
Harry Law
Apr 26, 2018 9:31 PM

“What was the success-rate of the April 14th missiles against Syria”? For Syria the success rate was tremendous, they lost 3 buildings and suffered no casualties, they have probably gained the capacity to defend their state from aggression from the US/Israel with batteries of s300’s, these also have the range to stop Israeli jets lobbing missiles from Lebanese territory. From Israels perspective, a disaster.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Apr 26, 2018 10:32 PM
Reply to  Harry Law

Once it sinks in that Israel can no longer bomb, destroy and murder its neighbours, with impunity, from the sky, the rush back to the ‘Promised Lands’ of Crown Heights, Golders Green and Dover Height will commence. Unfortunately that will further skew Israeli society towards the clerico-fascist nutters.

Google Talpiot Program
Google Talpiot Program
Apr 28, 2018 9:36 AM
Reply to  Harry Law

Most Israeli action in Syria has been against Iranian targets and not Syrian government targets.
When Israel has hit Syrian government targets (intentionally or otherwise) Syria has done very little to hit back and only have done so in an extremely limited way as they know the risks (military and diplomatic) associated with directly taking on Israel.

Apr 26, 2018 8:32 PM

Here is an article (another one) by Fisk, this time he went to the research center bombed two weeks ago by the west:

Apr 26, 2018 5:34 PM

Reblogged this on circusbuoy.

Apr 26, 2018 4:07 PM

Seems to me that the vast majority of the missiles were downed, as there would have been so much more damage and carnage had all of them found their target as claimed.
… Also, can we expect an accurate report from the OPCW?
If they state that there were no chemical weapons used, then who is going to do what?
Drag it out through an official enquiry, for beaurocrats to earn even more money and then somebody gets a slap on the wrist like Tony Blair did, and by that time several more major assaults on humanity will have been committed.
Outwith the few thousand, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people in European/US who have the integrity and passion to check in with reportage and enquiry such as on this site and elsewhere, then the mass millions are extremely confused and conflicted, and in that state they are incapable of constructive and cohesive action against state powers…
Even those of us who are keeping up to date and probing the veils, what can we do, outwith deepen our own integrity as human beings. Deepening our resolve to master these dark inner forces which power hungry imperialists have been possessed by for centuries…
Where are the Jedi Masters when we need them?

Apr 26, 2018 3:50 PM

Anyone paying attention knows the US constitutes the most serious threat of world peace.

Apr 26, 2018 3:55 PM
Reply to  stevehayes13

threat TO world peace you mean? A threat OF world peace would actually be quite welcome 🙂

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Apr 26, 2018 10:33 PM
Reply to  Admin

‘The make deserts and call it peace’.

Apr 27, 2018 2:24 AM

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. (To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.) –Tacitus

Harry Law
Harry Law
Apr 26, 2018 3:29 PM

“If the finding by the OPCW turns out to confirm the U.S. Government’s accusation (that Syria’s government had used chemicals on April 7th against its own people)” The OPCW have not been mandated to apportion blame for the alleged chemical attack. Its Raythyon’s bottom line [money and sales] which are paramount here, and US credibility, a much harder sale

Mikael Kall
Mikael Kall
Apr 26, 2018 2:15 PM

Last year when 59 Tomahawks were sent, they were flying low and most of them never made it to the right place. Because Russians did use electronic weapons. And with jammed altimeters it’s really hard to fly at very low altitudes without hitting to waves, hills and mountains.
That’s why this time 103 cruise missiles flew substantially higher (in the videos about 500-1500 meters) and were easy targets to the modern Buk-M2 and Pantsirs air defence missiles.
Pantsir did have 23 hits with 25 engagements,
Buk-M2 – did have 24 hits with 29 engagements
That means, that the Russians have now a very strong position against missile attacks.
The Syrian armys Osa, S-125, Strela, Kvadrat and S-200 air defence missiles are Soviet era systems, some of which might have been partially upgraded.
They did hit:
• Osa did hits 5 of 13,
• S-125 – 5 of 13,
• Strela-10 – 3 of 5,
• Kvadrat – 11 of 21,
• S-200 – 0 hits with 8 launched missiles.
Here is more information: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/syria-pentagon-hides-attack-failure-70-cruise-missiles-shot-down-.html

Apr 26, 2018 12:55 PM

If the US information is true then why is Israel so terrified of S-300s,to be supplied by the RF I hope, to the Syrian government for protection against invading missiles or aircraft.

Apr 26, 2018 12:54 PM

Well let’s suppose that the Americans are right and none of the 105 missiles fired was intercepted by the Syrians. They hit all their targets; there turned out to be just three targets hit. That’s an average of 35 missiles per target; an excessive number of missiles needed if you ask me. Maybe the US and its allies were just a little bit concerned that most of their missiles might miss?
And as has been reported by various websites and blogs, had the missiles hit a chemical weapons facility, the resulting explosions, releasing huge amounts of CW gases, would have killed tens of thousands of civilians and made even bigger war criminals of the US-led trio than all the supposed CW releases of the Syrian government against Syrians since 2011. The fact that no chemical weapons facility was hit and no-one died from the strikes either suggests that no CW facility was targeted or that the missiles failed to reach a targeted CW facility: an outcome more unwelcome than if the missiles had been intercepted by the Syrians.
What’s it to be then? The Pentagon and the US media can only pull the wool down over our eyes only so much before it frays or they get tangled up in their own lies.

Apr 26, 2018 1:26 PM
Reply to  Jen

[[ What’s it to be then? ]]
We’d better ask Macron – as he’s the newly-anointed European Viceroy of Trumpton. Perhaps they plan building another wall?

Apr 27, 2018 12:29 AM
Reply to  Jen

“… And as has been reported by various websites and blogs, had the missiles hit a chemical weapons facility, the resulting explosions, releasing huge amounts of CW gases, would have killed tens of thousands of civilians and made even bigger war criminals of the US-led trio than all the supposed CW releases of the Syrian government against Syrians since 2011 …”
Sorry, slipped up in my excitement to be the first to post here 🙂 though I came second in the end – here is my correction:
“… And as has been reported by various websites and blogs, had the missiles hit a chemical weapons facility, the resulting explosions, releasing huge amounts of CW gases, would have killed tens of thousands of civilians and made even bigger war criminals of the US-led trio than all the supposed CW releases of the Syrian government against Syrians made that government and President Bashar al Assad war criminals since 2011 …”

Apr 26, 2018 12:36 PM

Mailman here. Described BTL in Saker as the biggest military fiasco since WW2. My extract:
_smr on April 26, 2018 · at 3:43 am UTC
Thierry Meyssan shares new, juicy details on the NATO coordinated attack on Syria by US-FR-UK on April 14.
“The Allies claim to have fired 105 missiles, while the Russians counted 103. Their aim was that all the missiles fired, whether from the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the air, would all hit their targets at the same moment. However, things did not go as planned – although the Allied operation was to have been finished within half an hour, in fact it took 1 hour and 46 minutes between the first and final shot.
Prior to the attack, Russia had announced that it would riposte if any of its soldiers were killed. The Allied armies were therefore tasked with the mission of being careful to spare them.
However, the Russian army observed the shots and transmitted the coordinates of the Allied missiles to the Syrian Arab Army in real time, in order to allow the Syrians to destroy them. Besides this, when the Syrians became swamped by the number of allied missiles, the Russian army deployed its system for inhibiting the commands and controls of NATO, which paralysed most of their launchers. This was the first time that the French were confronted with this system, which had already caused problems for the United States and the British in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and Kaliningrad.
Besides this, two Russian ships left the port of Tartus to play cat and mouse with a British nuclear attack submarine. [8].
According to the Russian and Syrian staff, 73 missiles were destroyed in flight, a figure which is haughtily contested by the Allied staff. Yet, on the ground, everyone – including myself – could see the activity of the anti-aircraft defense, and no-one saw the impacts of the 105 allied missiles announced.
The Allies immediately clamped down all further information. The most we know for certain is that a French plane was unable to fire one of its missiles, and was obliged to jettison it out to sea, and that two French multi-mission frigates suffered a computer failure and were unable to fire Cruise missiles — symptoms that are well known to anyone who has had to face Russian electronic warfare.
The Syrian defence was over-run by the number of missiles which were fired from every direction. It therefore chose to defend in priority certain targets, like the Presidential palace, and to sacrifice others like the research centre in Bazeh. Since then, Russia has announced that it will be delivering new anti-missile batteries to Syria.
In any case, this operation is clearly the greatest military fiasco since the Second World War.”