Is Trump Deescalating the War with Iran?

On FPF #441, I cover the assassination of Soleimani and the subsequent Iranian missile attack. The Iranian missile attack did not kill anyone, and that appears to have been the Iranian intention. The symbolic response to Trump’s act of war, allowed Trump to back away from the brink of a shooting war with Iran. However, I argue it is incorrect to believe Trump is a strategic mastermind playing 3D chess. Heightened tensions with Iran only exist because Trump withdrew from the Nuclear Deal and started an unprovoked economic war against Iran. The US economic war put the US and Iran on the path to a shooting war, and the US will remain on that path until it abandons sanctions. 

Links

Maximum Failure by Will Porter and Kyle Anzalone

  • Trump addresses the nation on the Iranian missile attack against Iraqi bases housing US soldiers. Trump says it appears Iran is standing down and no Americans were injured or killed. [Link] In his address, Trump said he is placing powerful new sanctions on Iran. [Link] Rand Paul said the Trump invoking Congressional authority given in 2002 to assassinate Soleimani is absurd. [Link]
  • Senator Mike Lee bashes the Trump admin’s briefing on the Soleimani assassination saying, “probably the worst briefing at least on a military issues I’ve ever seen.” [Link]
  • The House will vote on a War Powers Resolution this week that condemns Trump’s assassination of Soleimani and emphasizes that Congress has not given the president authority for war with Iran. The White House is dismissing the resolution as not constraining the president’s authority to start a war with Iran. [Link]
  • Vice President Pence said the US has received intelligence that Iran instructed Shia militias not to attack US forces. [Link]
  • China says it shares highly similar views with Russia on the Middle East. [Link]
  • Iraq’s Prime Minister received a verbal notification from Iran that Iran was going to carry out a missile attack on two Iraqi bases before the bases were hit. He then informed the Americans of the coming attack. [Link]
  • Some Iraqi leaders, with ties to Iran, respond to the missile attack by saying Iran had a right to respond. [Link]
  • The Iraqi military say none of its forces were wounded or killed by the missile attack. [Link]
  • Satellite photos show the damage done to two Iraqi bases hit with Iranian missiles. [Link]
  • Trump responded to the missile strikes in a tweet that said “all is well.” [Link]
  • After the Iranian missile attack, the Iranian government put out several statements saying it will respond if the US strikes back. The Iranian statements were similar to statements made by the US government after the assassination of Soleimani. [Link]
  • Influential Iraqi Shia Cleric Sadr calls on Shia militias to stand down while the US and Iran work towards de-escalation. [Link]
  • Congressman Duncan Hunter announces he will resign his seat on January 13th. [Link]
  • In December of 2018, two US warplanes collided during a training mission, killing six. The initial report on the issue pointed out problems of soldiers at low ranking levels like drug use and affairs. However, the squadron of F-18s had frequently reported to the chain of command problems with the planes. The squadron did not have enough parts for their planes and pilots could not get enough flight time. [Link]
  • A plane crashed in Iran shortly after taking off. The plane was a Boeing 737-800 owned by a Ukrainian airline. The plane was scheduled to travel to Ukraine and was mostly carrying Iranian, Ukrainian, and Canadian passengers. [Link]
  • Spain has imprisoned several Catalan leaders who held an independence vote in 2017. One of those imprisoned is also a member of the European Parliament. As a member of Parliament, he should have immunity. However, the Spanish high court says he will not be released. [Link]
  • Protesters in Vietnam attacked a military base with hand grenades and petrol bombs. Three police officers and one protester was killed. [Link]
  • Two Afghan pilots were killed when their military helicopter crashed. [Link]
  • Four Turkish soldiers were killed by a car bomb in northeast Syria. [Link]
  • Al-Shabaab kills three people in Mogadishu with a car bomb. [Link]
  • Turkey and Russia issue a statement calling for a ceasefire in Libya starting January 12th. Turkey and Russia back opposite sides in the Libyan War. [Link]
  • The US sanctioned South Sudan’s vice president. [Link]
  • Militants dressed as soldiers entered a Nigerian town. Then killed all the soldiers and destroyed 750 homes. [Link]
  • Eighteen UN Peacekeepers were wounded by a rocket attack in Mali. [Link]
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