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Escalation: Trump has Iran general assassinated in Baghdad

January 3, 2020

The pentagon announced an air strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, stating in the very first sentence that it was directly ordered by Trump.  The general was a popular figure in Iraq for bringing Iranian assistance to fight off ISIS. The strike took place in Baghdad as he was arriving for the funeral of Iran-allied Iraqi militias recently killed by another controversial airstrike.

This action was a major escalation of tensions, and deeply ill-advised. In case there is any doubt that the effect on local sentiment was not known beforehand, note that the State Dept. immediately advised all US citizens to leave Iraq. It looks like Iraq will turn away from the US a lot faster than would otherwise have happened. US troops will be less free to move around in the region, and there is now a serious possibility that they will have to leave Iraq entirely, which would put pressure on the (technically illegal) US presence in eastern Syria. Iran is now under pressure to retaliate, which could escalate the situation even further. Not a good start to the year.

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