On 23 December, President Donald Trump issued a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran over Sunday’s attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, which it claimed was conducted by an Iranian-backed militia group. Middle Eastern experts have explained the US president’s move and discussed whether the White House will resort to a strike against Tehran.
About 21 missiles landed in Baghdad’s Green Zone compound targeting the American Embassy on 20 December, according to a US Central Command statement. Although the strike caused no US injuries or casualties it did damage buildings in the compound, the statement says, stressing the attack “was clearly not intended to avoid casualties” and pinning the blame on an “Iranian-backed rogue militia group”.
Tensions continue to escalate in the region as roughly a month ago Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was shot dead by a remote-control weapon east of Tehran. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which Iran believes was conducted by Israel and an exiled opposition group. The killing evoked strong memories of a drone assassination of Quds Commander Qasem Soleimani in January 2020.
Why is Trump Stepping Up Rhetoric Against Iran?
“President Trump is apparently keen on punishing Iran to the extent that he can, prior to not having the power to do so in less than two months”, suggests Hooman Majd, an Iranian-American journalist, author, and commentator, outlining five possible reasons behind the president’s toughened…