How will Iran retaliate against the United States following the Soleimani strike?
When diplomatic and military tensions escalate, organizations with global exposure need to understand when and where violence might break out.
Predata uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to uncover predictive patterns in online attention to alert clients to heightened risk environments for military provocation. Predata indicators also monitor attention to potential military targets and help customers prioritize potential areas of risk.
Analysis and Results
At the end of December 2019, Predata alerted clients that there was a heightened near-term risk environment for provocative Iranian military activity, such as a ballistic missile test. Those alerts came in the context of building tensions between Iran and the United States, which began with the killing of a U.S. contractor in Iraq. After the United States retaliated against Iran-backed militia targets, militiamen occupied the U.S. Embassy complex in Baghdad on December 31. Even though Predata had only observed proxy activity to that point, the Predata alerts suggested overt Iranian military activity was in the offing for early 2020.
Immediately after, the United States killed IRGC general Qasem Soleimani in a January 3 drone strike in Baghdad. Given the noted heightened risk environment for Iranian retaliation, Predata analyzed attention to possible targets for an Iranian response. Notably high Persian-language attention to Al Asad Airbase was among the trends that stood out and that Predata alerted clients to on January 6. On January 7, Iran carried out a ballistic missile attack against U.S. military facilities with Al Asad Airbase as one of the two primary targets.