Tensions between the US and Iran grow: A summary of the US-Iran conflict


Photo sourced from blogs.state.gov

On Jan. 3, an air raid in Baghdad, Iraq ordered by President Donald Trump killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Trump told reporters the action was overdue, as “they were looking to blow up our embassy.” Trump said the action was necessary as the week before several US military personnel and an American Contractor was killed by a rocket attack initiated by an Iranian-backed militia group, Khatib Hezbollah. 

A senior defense official told reporters multiple threats and plots which involved Soleimani were under US knowledge. One of those threats involved a plan to attack the US embassy in Baghdad using explosives, and other American embassies overseas. However, state department officials who are involved in US embassy security told CNN they were not aware of the threats to the four embassies Trump mentioned. Without knowledge, the State Department had not issued warnings before the attack on Soleimani.

The president’s ordering of the attack was not approved by Congress. In turn, the House of Representatives voted and approved the Iran War Powers resolution to find a way to restrain Trump’s ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval. The resolution enforces the president “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran” unless Congress declares war or authorizes the use of special forces. However, the resolution allows for the use of armed forces if it “is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States.”

As news of the attack spread, World War III memes began popping up across multiple social media platforms, such as Tik Tok and Twitter. The memes, many of which surround the draft, have been estimated as a way to cope with the conflict.

After Soleimani’s death, tensions between the US and the Middle east drastically increased.  As a retaliation act, Iran bombed two Iraqi bases that were housing US troops. No deaths were reported among the bombing. Iraq Prime minster Adil Abdul Mahdi said in a statement that Iraq received warnings about the strike and notified the US. Administration officials told CNN they believed Iran could have directly hit Americans, but purposely missed areas occupied by Americans. 

“I believe based on what I saw and what I know that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles, equipment, aircraft and kill personnel,”  Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said to reporters. “That’s my own personal assessment.”

The president’s national address following the bombing of the Military bases signaled a de-escalation of tensions with Iran.

“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said to reporters while making his White House statement. 

However, Trump demanded all de-escalation measurements should occur under the US terms. He demanded other US allies to leave the current nuclear deal while a new pact could be created. Also, Trump announced immediate stronger economic sanctions would be enforced on Iran, and other penalties would be enforced once reviewed by officials.

“These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,” Trump said to reporters. “In recent months alone, Iran has seized ships in international waters, fired an unprovoked strike on Saudi Arabia and shot down two American drones.”

Just after the missiles were launched on the American bases, a Ukraine International Airlines jetliner crashed killing 176 Britians, Iranians, Canadians, Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans and Germans. Initially, Iran denied responsibility for the planes crash but has come out after investigations saying they unintentionally shot down the airplane. They blamed the attack on human error and “US adventurism.” Allegations that Iran tried to cover up the crash have been denied by Iran.

As the conflicts with Iran continue to be discussed, American’s nerves rise. In a poll by Quinnipiac University, 45 percent said the attack that killed Soleimani’s has made Americans not as safe. And 51 percent of voters say they do not approve of Trump’s actions regarding the nation’s policy towards Iran.

 “The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it,” Trump said to reporters. “We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent.”