I spoke to my guest today, Ilan Goldenberg, just a couple hours after Donald Trump addressed the nation following an Iranian missile attack on bases in Iraq. The Iranian attack, of course, was in retaliation to a US drone strike that killed a top Iranian official Qassem Souleimani on January third.
In his remarks, Donald Trump signaled that he was ready for the offramp and would not launch new military strikes in the near term. The Iranian government also said that the missile attacks on bases in Iraq had concluded their retaliation.
For the moment, the crisis is not poised to escalate. But, says Ilan Goldenberg, we can very much expect Iran to launch further reprisals in the future — and this could include terrorist attacks and assassination attempts against US targets.
Ilan Goldenberg is a former Defense Department official in the Obama administration whose work focused on Iran. He is now director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC. In our conversation we discuss the events of the first week of January and what comes next. Ilan Goldenberg describes the strategic thinking underway in Iran that lead to this missile strike on a base holding US troops in Iraq, and also why and how he expects further retaliation. We also discuss how the US killing of Souleimani might affect Iran’s compliance with the Nuclear Deal and what opportunities exist, it at all, for de-escalation.
If you have twenty minutes and want to understand where this crisis between Iran and the United States is heading, have a listen.