Defense chief Haakon Bruun-Hanssen believes that war was close when Iran fired missiles at two coalition bases after the Soleimani killing.
During a speech at the Oslo Military Society on Monday night, the chief of defense expressed concern about developments in several places in the world.
Among the topics that received attention were the US killing of Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd, and Iran’s response in the form of missile attacks on the coalition bases in Ain al-Assad and at Arbil on the night of January 7th.
The attacks were notified in advance, which allowed the 70 Norwegian soldiers and the other coalition soldiers to find safety.
Many Allied soldiers would have been killed
“Iran’s response with ballistic missiles to two coalition camps is a significant increase in tension in the region,” said Bruun-Hanssen during the speech.
“If Iran provided the initial warning about the attack, it could be interpreted as a measured and controlled response to the killing of Soleimani. Without the warning, there is no doubt that many Allied soldiers would have been killed, and the situation could quickly have escalated into war. The shooting down of the Ukrainian passenger plane in Tehran may indicate that some in Iran were prepared for just that,” the chief of defense said.
Concerned about Russia
Bruun-Hanssen also expressed concern about the Russian presence off the coast of Norway.
Here, the Chief of Defense pointed out that during the past year there have been several Russian naval exercises off the Norwegian coast, in addition to having sent submarines out into the Atlantic.
“These submarines are a direct and serious threat to Norwegian and Allied security, and could threaten US reinforcements to Europe. The activity pattern and deployment of long-range missiles on almost all weapon platforms means that the alert time for a possible attack is very short,” he said.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today