MATTHEWS, NC – On January 3, 2020, the United States carried out a drone strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Elite Quds Force, a unit in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations. According to NBC News, President Trump ordered a conditional strike on General Soleimani in June 2019.
In May 2018, Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) which had been in effect since Barack Obama’s presidency. A year after abandoning the deal, Trump imposed some of the most extreme economic sanctions ever placed on Iran. While Trump’s actions may have led to a safer U.S., the Iranian economy slowed to a crawl and the country destabilized.
Fast forward to December 2019, the U.S. attacked five Kataeb Hezbollah sites in Iraq and Syria, killing 25 people. This attack was directed toward the Iranian-backed militia stationed at these five sites, all of which were responsible for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor. Less than a week later, on January 3, 2020, the U.S. ordered the drone strike on Soleimani.
Five days after the attack on Soleimani, Iranian officials ordered a rocket attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq. U.S. intelligence reported no casualties but Iranian news reported dozens of American casualties.
On the same day, Iran fired missile attacks on the U.S. military base, two surface-to-air missiles struck a Ukrainian passenger jet with 176 people aboard. There were no Americans on board, but 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons, and three Germans died in the explosion.
This was a tragic miscalculation by the Iranian military and has resulted in bitterness towards the Iranian government.
According to The Washington Post President Trump has indicated, “he would not respond militarily to the launch of more than a dozen ballistic missiles at bases housing American troops.” The Washington Post also stated that “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”