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US NewsIs Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf?

04:40  21 may  2019
04:40  21 may  2019 Source:   thedailybeast.com

Iran Tells Trump: Don't Wait for Us to Pick Up the Phone

Iran Tells Trump: Don't Wait for Us to Pick Up the Phone Iranian officials rebuffed President Donald Trump’s suggestion that they call him to try to defuse frictions as the U.S. ratcheted up its actions against Tehran. Several top Iranian aides and lawmakers predicted Sunday that the current tensions wouldn’t lead to war, calling the U.S. deployment of an aircraft carrier, warship, bomber jets and missile defenses to the Middle East a propaganda stunt. Antagonism between the countries, already high, has worsened this month since Trump eliminated exceptions to U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil.

The Iran – Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq , beginning on 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran , and ending on 20 August 1988

An Iranian commander says even their short-range missiles can reach warships in the Persian Gulf ; Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon. Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq , Saudi Arabia , and the Persian Gulf ? The Daily Beast.

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? © ASSOCIATED PRESS COMBO - This combination of two pictures shows U.S. President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Feb. 6, 2018. The Trump administration is announcing the reimposition of all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. The Trump administration is announcing the reimposition of all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. (AP Photo)

BAGHDAD—The sound of an explosion echoed through the Green Zone on Sunday night around 9:00 p.m., a reminder that this most secure part of the Iraqi capital is not, in fact, all that safe. The projectile appears to have been aimed at the United States embassy and, after the blast, embassy sirens went off, accompanied by repeated warnings blaring on loudspeakers instructing everyone to take immediate cover.

Donald Trump Stokes Iran War Fears, Warns 'They Will Suffer Greatly'

Donald Trump Stokes Iran War Fears, Warns 'They Will Suffer Greatly' "We'll see what happens with Iran, if they do anything it will be a big mistake," President Donald Trump warned.

Saudi Arabia directly blamed Iran for the drone assault, and a local newspaper linked to the Al Saud royal family called on Thursday for America to launch Meanwhile, Lloyd's Market Association Joint War Committee added the Persian Gulf , the Gulf of Oman and the United Arab Emirates on Friday

Saudi Arabia ’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has said that the Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that there will be no war in the Gulf , but added that Tehran The Trump administration has been pressuring Iran in order to sign a border agreement that would include not

Within the hour the missile was reported to have been fired from the Amana bridge in Baghdad, missing its likely intended target and landing in an empty field near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with no casualties reported.

But for a brief and highly fraught moment alarms were going off in Washington, as well, where the much-publicized threat of Iranian “proxy” attacks on U.S. interests and personnel, and the American response positioning bombers and aircraft carriers, have conjured the specter of a new Middle Eastern war.

Video: Trump: Iran actions will be met with great force (Associated Press)

One breaking news service breathlessly reported National Security Adviser John Bolton “just seen arriving at the White House amid rocket attack possibly aimed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.”

President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” It is not clear if he was responding to the rocket, a Katyusha that might have been fired by any number of players in Iraq, or to threatening rhetoric by some Iranian officials, or both.

British General Contradicts U.S. Claim of Increased Threat From Iran-Backed Militias

British General Contradicts U.S. Claim of Increased Threat From Iran-Backed Militias The Pentagon responded with an unusual rebuke of an allied senior officer

The Iran – Saudi Arabia proxy conflict, sometimes also referred to as the Iran – Saudi Arabia Cold War, Middle East Cold War or Middle East Conflict

Saudi Arabia and Iran follow the two rival sects of Islam with a long history of violence. They compete in the currently troubled energy market, with Tehran holding a grudge over the share it If the US does not get involved (a big if), Iran may at the very least block all Saudi ships from sailing the Persian Gulf .

In any case, non-essential American personnel at the embassy had already been ordered to depart days earlier, many moving to posts in nearby countries to continue their work, and the U.S. embassy was already expecting a possible attack.

Our team of researchers for the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) landed in Baghdad on May 14, 2019, the day before the U.S. State Department issued the security alert to the “non-essentials” in Baghdad and Erbil, recommending they “depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible, avoid U.S. facilities within Iraq, monitor local media for updates, review personal security plans, remain aware of surroundings.”

An earlier security alert on May 12 advised all U.S. citizens of heightened tensions in Iraq and the requirement to remain vigilant. It recommended not traveling to Iraq, avoiding places known as U.S. citizen gathering points, keeping a low profile and, once again, being aware of your surroundings.

Iran's supreme leader makes uranium enrichment threat

Iran's supreme leader makes uranium enrichment threat Iran's supreme leader has issued a veiled threat in the same speech in which he stated that "no one is seeking war," saying it wouldn't be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels amid rising tensions with the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, meanwhile, ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff on Wednesday to leave Iraq immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran. Washington did not publicly provide any evidence to back up claims of an increased threat from Tehran.

The Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and Iran - two powerful neighbours - are locked in a fierce struggle for regional Saudi Arabia is trying desperately to contain rising Iranian influence and the militaristic adventurism of the Saudi Arabia has been emboldened by support from the Trump administration while Israel, which

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? © 2018 Anadolu Agency TEHRAN, IRAN - JULY 21: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei speaks during his meeting with Iranian ambassadors and heads of Iran's missions abroad, in Tehran, Iran on July 21, 2018. (Photo by Supreme Leader Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) For those of use who have been visiting Iraq since 2006, this seems at once familiar and strange. Is the threat greater now than it was when the U.S. embassy was housed in Saddam’s former palace, and frequently underwent mortar fire? In those days none of the 5,000 embassy personnel were ordered home.

Despite President Trump saying he does not want war, does this action signal that something more than just mortar fire is about to come?

A former senior diplomat who served in Iraq following the 2003 invasion warned that if the U.S. or Israel had decided to launch air strikes on Iran, emptying the embassy might be a smart move.  Iran could strike back at a close and convenient target—the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad—and its ballistic missiles would be much more dangerous and difficult to withstand than mortars or Katyushas.

Foreign Office 'in crisis mode' over US-Iran tensions

Foreign Office 'in crisis mode' over US-Iran tensions Britain's Foreign Office has gone into crisis mode because of rising tensions in the Gulf between the United States and Iran, Sky News can reveal. At the moment the level of crisis is at the lower end with a small number of additional staff focusing on Iran, and additional reports being produced by officials. However, this level could be increased if the situation in the region worsens, sources said. "We are going into crisis mode," a Whitehall source said, describing it, for now, as "pretty light touch".

Saudi Arabia directly blamed Iran for the drone assault, and a It also said aircraft could experience interference with its navigation instruments and communications jamming " with little to no warning." The Persian Gulf has become a major gateway for East-West travel in the aviation industry.

Saudi Arabia directly blamed Iran for the drone assault, and a local newspaper linked to the Al Saud The Persian Gulf has become a major gateway for East-West travel in the aviation industry. In Iraq , Exxon Mobil has begun evacuating staff from Basra amid the tensions with Iran , two Iraqi officials told

Gallery: Inside the Iran enigma (USA Today)

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf?
According to a senior official in the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) the rocket Sunday night was launched by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah. If it came on Iranian orders, the lone, ineffectual projectile may have been intended as a pin-prick provocation testing reactions without triggering full-fledged war. Other recent incidents—a drone attack on a Saudi pipeline; minor explosions on Saudi and other oil tankers—could fall into the same category.

Iraq, liberated from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein by the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, has come under increasing Iranian influence ever since, and the Iran-backed militias played a key role fighting the so-called Islamic State after the national army virtually imploded in 2014. They have since become a major element in the Iraqi defense apparatus, even though some 5,000 U.S. military personnel are on the ground training and working with other elements of the Iraqi military.

The threat inside Iraq to U.S. personnel was revealed in part to Iraqi leaders during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s surprise visit here on May 7.

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? © Provided by The Daily Beast Anne Speckhard The secretary is reported to have told Iraqi officials that U.S. intelligence detected that Iranian-backed militias moving missiles near bases housing American forces. Reuters reported that, according to a senior Iraqi official privy to the substance of the talks, Pompeo asked the Iraqi government to rein in the Shiite militias. Pompeo also expressed U.S. concern about these militias’ increased presence and influence in Iraq and warned that the U.S. would use force to tackle the security threats if necessary, without first consulting Baghdad.

Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea

Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea

Saudi Arabia directly blamed Iran for the drone assault, and a local newspaper linked to the Al Saud The Persian Gulf has become a major gateway for East-West travel in the aviation industry. In Iraq , Exxon Mobil has begun evacuating staff from Basra amid the tensions with Iran , two Iraqi officials told

Saudi Arabia directly blamed Iran for the drone assault, and a local newspaper linked to the Al Saud royal family called on It said that all commercial aircraft flying over the waters of Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman needed to be aware of “heightened military activities and increased political tension.”

Iraq's pro-Iranian military factions have long been a concern for U.S. personnel deployed in the region. Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, a radical Shiite militia in Iraq has, for example, long been cooperating with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a group that was just declared by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.

The newly appointed IRGC leader, Hossein Salami, replied that his people are proud to be called terrorists by President Trump while also threatening the U.S. and Israel.

The Iraqi militia, Nujaba, also was added by the U.S. State Department to the U.S. list of global terrorist organizations on March 7 this year and its leader Akram Kaabi was sanctioned.

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? © 2019 Anadolu Agency TEHRAN, IRAN - APRIL 24: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'IRAN'S LEADER PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes a speech during his meeting with crowded group of employees in Tehran, Iran on April 24, 2019. (Photo by Iran's Leader Press Office - Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) Nujaba has been demanding that U.S. troops leave Iraq for quite some time. On May 12, Nujaba’s leaders proclaimed, "Confrontation with the United States will only stop once it is eliminated from the region, along with the Zionist entity,” while also stating that Iraqi resistance factions are ready to target U.S. interests in Iraq.

The Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia warned in February 2018 that it might engage in armed confrontation with US forces in Iraq at any moment. According to one Iraqi source, the Kataib Hezbollah is one of the militias that recently placed missiles near U.S. military bases.

The Knowns and Unknowns of What’s Happening With Iran

The Knowns and Unknowns of What’s Happening With Iran Conflicting signals from both sides could be read as a march to war or business as usual.

Saudi Arabia directly blamed Iran for the drone assault, and a local newspaper linked to the Al Saud The Persian Gulf has become a major gateway for East-West travel in the aviation industry. In Iraq , Exxon Mobil has begun evacuating staff from Basra amid the tensions with Iran , two Iraqi officials told

Claiming that Riyadh wants nothing but peace, the minister announced that the Kingdom stands ready to respond King Salman meanwhile asked Arab leaders to attend an emergency summit in Mecca on May 30 to discuss attacks against the oil sector, which have with little proof been pinned on Iran .

The New York Times reported the the U.S. government was picking up an increase in conversations between the Revolutionary Guards and foreign militias discussing attacks on American troops and diplomats in Iraq.

The New York Times also reported that American officials cited intelligence from aerial photographs of fully assembled missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf as cause for the U.S. administration to escalate its warnings about a threat from Iran. This created concerns that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps would fire them at United States naval ships or American commercial ships.

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? US President Donald Trump speaks during the Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon in Washington, DC on January 17, 2019. - US President Donald Trump unveiled a review of US missile defence capabilities Thursday that aims to counter threats from North Korea and Iran while adapting to ever more sophisticated weapon systems being developed by Russia and China. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) An Iraqi source confirmed on May 18 that ExxonMobil was evacuating its personnel of 30 to 50 employees from Basra, Iraq, and that the Bahrain embassy had also evacuated its employees from both Iraq and Iran. And U.S. embassies disseminated a warning from the Federal Aviation Agency that U.S. commercial airliners flying over the waters of the Persian Gulf risk being misidentified and by implication shot down amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

A potential conflict much larger than Iranian-backed Shia militias throwing mortar fire at the now fortress-like U.S. Embassy appears to be brewing amid credible intelligence coupled with heated anti-American rhetoric.

Yet, security threats to U.S. personnel serving in Iraq are nothing out of the ordinary and date back to the 2003 U.S. invasion. At the height of its activities, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad had thousands of personnel, including contractors.

Faced with relentless American pressure, Iran starts to hit back

Faced with relentless American pressure, Iran starts to hit back Tehran is seeking to exact a cost for U.S. sanctions that have battered its economy, but it wants to avoid all-out war.

The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean ( Gulf of Oman) through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and

They regularly suffered all sorts of threats from IED attacks when they ventured out on the road, RPG fire when they used helicopters, snipers when they were out in public view and intermittent but regular mortar fire that rained down on the temporary trailers that served as housing near the old Saddam palace where they worked.

One mortar penetrated a window to the bathroom of the Deputy U.S. Ambassador’s office, situated inside the palace, destroying the brick wall around the window. It was later bricked up completely. The walkway from the trailers to the palace was mortared so often and so hard that it was nicknamed “death alley” by embassy personnel serving there.

While embassy personnel received danger and hardship pay, none were ordered home during those years, and danger was considered a part of the assignment. IED’s and mortars occasionally killed embassy personnel, but that did not stop the mission.

At present, the U.S. Embassy Baghdad is housed in a complex on a closed street that only badged officials can enter. The grounds are heavily walled walled and difficult to enter and inside, the buildings appear strongly built to withstand assault.

In Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, which also fell under the non-essential personnel evacuation order, a restaurant nearby was attacked by a car bomb in 2015, killing three non-Americans. But, while less robustly built, the consulate also is behind a concrete walled-off security space.

Is Iran Testing Trump With Little Attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf? © ASSOCIATED PRESS Two people dressed as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, and Iran's supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, walk through Freedom Plaza during a Organization of Iranian-American Communities rally in Washington, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) U.S. Embassy diplomatic personnel posted in both Baghdad and Erbil infrequently leave their fortresses and when they do travel around Iraq, their security requirements require using armored cars, wearing bullet proof vests and flack helmets and traveling with armed security guards, sometimes with chase and lead cars in a convoy.

Likewise, U.S. Embassy Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil are not family postings—diplomatic personnel serve for one or two years, leaving their family members behind.

The new embassy building, not far from the old one, was planned during the time of frequent attacks and was undoubtedly built to withstand mortar storms. Long and short-range ballistic missiles however constitute a whole different threat and it’s not publicly known if the new embassy has bomb-hardened resistant bunkers to protect embassy personnel.

Whether U.S. embassy non-essential personnel will return to post anytime soon remains to be seen, and given the dangers such personnel have faced in the past and the fortress in which they currently serve, why they were really ordered home is also still an unanswered question. With ships coming to the region and troops readying for potential travel, serious troubles may well be on the horizon.

While the saber rattling on both sides continues, Baghdad has also made clear that it doesn’t want to become the battlefield.

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Faced with relentless American pressure, Iran starts to hit back.
Tehran is seeking to exact a cost for U.S. sanctions that have battered its economy, but it wants to avoid all-out war.

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