A US drone attack near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020, killed an important Iranian military official. Five days later, Iran responded with a series of missile strikes at a US base within Iraq, which the Iranian government called Operation Martyr Soleimani. At this writing, there is no way of knowing whether this tit-for-tat will allow for de-escalation, or whether matters will worsen.
The worsening of relations between the US and Iran has been a constant theme in the three-year history of the Donald Trump Presidency.
In May 2018, the President officially withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral agreement through which western powers had sought to constrain Iran’s ability to build a stockpile of nuclear weapons. The agreement was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The President has long maintained that JCPOA was a bad deal for the US. He is fond of the expression, “Iran has never won a war, but has never lost a negotiation.”
The Thing to Know:
With the Iowa caucus and then the bellwether New Hampshire primary almost upon us, the Democratic candidates for the Presidential nomination will have to spend the next weeks making their own positions on war and peace in the Persian Gulf region very clear.