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1/ Why did Iran militarily escalate in the Gulf lately? Shooting down a US drone, seizing tankers, bombing Saudi oil infrastructure? It wanted to internationalise the conflict. The Strait of Hormuz is where most of the world's shipping transits. The US chose not to go there.
2/ US also held its own line: a US person killed meant retaliation. It targeted the militia that did the attack. It was reciprocal, but also punitive to send a message. Iran-backed militia escalated against US embassy. US managed the attack, didn't blow everything up. #Soleimani
3/ US responded to embassy attack, and many lower level attacks by Iranian-backed militias in run-up, by killing, in Iraq, the head of all Iranian-backed anything #Soleimani. US may have just restored some escalation dominance. Whether it's part of cogent strategy is different Qu
4/ Real US reckless action or declaration of war wld have been attacking Iranian soil.
This admin determined that the cost of tolerating Soleimani alive had now exceeded the benefits of not killing him. We must wait and see whether that was the right call, no one knows today.
5/ The most important part of Soleimani's killing, isn't his killing (as big as that is), it is the deep US intelligence penetration around Iran's most important military leader that it revealed. Signals and human intel. This is what is going to spook the Iranian camp the longest
6/ Why did US claim the #Soleimani kill, instead of following the Israeli ambiguity playbook?
US and Israel have different roles and capacities. The US is the mightiest military power around, owning attacks cld be part of deterrence, showing force, restoring escalation dominance
7/ What happens next: let's be clear, no one knows for sure, even those who will decide some of the next steps.
The Iranian regime is not suicidal, it is strategic, calculating (even if it miscalculates sometimes), so likelihood of an all-out direct US-Iran war is low.
8/ Khamenei promised response, it must be strong enough to save face internally, for a regime already strained + facing popular dissent, and also be calibrated to avoid provoking a US response inside Iran. Iran response will show whether deterrence restored #Soleimani
9/ The myth of invincibility that Iran built around Soleimani was a huge recruitment tool, it may also now turn out to be a double-edged sword. How does its most valiant warrior, its most effective US challenger, get picked off so precisely by the US?
10/ Concern for US military, diplo personnel, and citizens, in the region is legit. But allowing it to dictate policy plays into Iran's hands which weaponises Western sensitivity to human loss, and war weariness, to further destabilise the region unchecked. #Soleimani
11/ There are many so-called anti-imperialists who always criticise Western intervention but justify Iranian/Russian intervention. Iran is not a legit actor in Iraq/Syria/Leb/Yemen. Its crimes there are no less reprehensible than those by the US or colonialists. #Soleimani
12/ Iran is set to announce its next violations of the JCPOA in next few days. That's another thing to look out for, other than a military retaliation, in wake of today's #Soleimani kill. Will it escalate to the point of affecting break-out time or not?
13/ Iraq is not evicting US troops. What happened today was a non-binding resolution by MPs that are beholden to Iran in various ways - and Iran called in those chips. Evicting US requires law+readings+1 yr notice
This thread by @hahussain breaks it down
14/ Iraqi MPs non-binding res asked for Iraq to pull out of anti-ISIS coalition, w/o which ISIS wld still be in Mosul, will more easily return.
(this by @hushamalhashimi )
NATO mtg tmrw, in calls w/Iraq Pres+PM France repeats imp of keeping coalition
15/ Re:these Iraqi MPs wanting out of anti-ISIS coalition:

This below from @RashaAlAqeedi - and I wld add: Iranian-backed militias in Iraq were neither able to prevent ISIS from forming, nor to eliminate it.

16/ Nasrallah's speech (by remote) attempts to
-hedge against Israel jumping into fray (simultaneous fronts = difficult)
-rally morale of Iran-backed militias (sign of effect of Solemani killing) => read this from @hxhassan for more:
17/ Nasrallah speech cont'd:
-manage expectations: not gonna target high value US person, because no equivalent to Soleimani
-give Iran+proxies/affiliates time/flexibility by fixing wide objective of ending US presence in Mideast, (akin to stated goal of liberating Jerusalem)
18/ Nasrallah speech cont'd:
-attempt to distance Iran axis from any kidnappings of US civilians that may take place. If this happens, expect claim by some unknown group as we've seen in past
-says Iran not asking anything of affiliates, but fixes same target: US military
19/ Nasrallah is 1st major speech of Iran camp post-Soleimani, shows how intrinsic Hezbollah is to Iran network of influence. He's now its highest profile leader, w/bragging rights (Israel 2000/2006, Syria, Yemen). Interesting pic on social media showing him leading Sol in prayer
20/E3 FR GER UK stmt "condemned recent attacks on coalition forces in Iraq, gravely concerned by negative role Iran has played in region thru IRGC, Quds force under command of Gen.Soleimani...urgent need for de-escalation...all parties excercise utmost restraint"=>balancing act
21/E3 cont'd: "specifically call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation, and urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent w/JCPOA [classic]...

Preservation of [anti-ISIS] coalition is key...urge Iraqi authorities cont providing necessary support"
22/ A lot of theatrics and rhetoric from both Iran and US right now.

These are important - to a certain extent.

Military actions will be better indicators of where we are on the scale of escalation and war.

23/ Iran targeted coalition bases in Iraq➡️didnt escalate by expanding field of confrontation.
Bases on alert➡️No US/coalition deaths.
Fired own missiles➡️direct response for #Soleimani
Khamenei, Zarif stmts after ➡️off-ramp, after all the bluster.
Wait to see what Trump does.
24/ Iran’s overt response to #Soleimani recalls Hezbollah bombing 🇮🇱 mil vehicles in Shebaa Farms in Sept, after 1st 🇮🇱 op inside 🇱🇧 since 2006 (drones in Beirut suburb)

🇮🇷 using ballistic missiles is noteworthy

Now we wait for covert Iranian response. That may take a while.
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