Will President Donald Trump launch an attack against Iran in the dying days of his presidency? This question was initially a barb used by Trump haters to insinuate that the president might use the war to roil the election chaos further and stay on as president. However, a White House meeting last week that decided not to go ahead with the Iran attack plan made this charge a damp squib.
However, it seems the Iranians are still harboring fears of Trump fury. The latest reports say that Iran has ordered its allies in Iraq not to provoke the US under any circumstances. Tehran knows for certain that a missile attack on Baghdad's Green Zone that kills a single American can turn the tables on them and give Trump enough reason to launch a legitimate attack on Iran.
'Halt Attacks Until Biden Comes to Power'
The Middle East Eye reported exclusively that Iran sent a Quds force commander, Ismail Qaani, to Baghdad to instruct allies that they should refrain from all attacks until Joe Biden takes power in the White House.
Qani arrived in Baghdad just 24 hours after rockets fired by Iraqi militia aligned with Iran fell outside the US embassy in Baghdad, the report said. The rockets missed the target but caused civilian casualties. For months, Iran's armed proxies have been launching rocket attacks against the US targets in Iraq.
A Washington Post story last week said that though Trump dropped the plan to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran, he would still go ahead if there is provocation. The story said that Trump has laid out a 'Tripwire' for Iran -- if any American is killed in an action that can be tied back to Iranian hands, a retaliation will be swift and certain.
'Trump Wants to Drag Region Into an Open War'
Trump would not shy away from using a trigger to launch a full-scale strike on Iran, sources cited by the Post suggest. The revelation follows a report by The New York Times that said Trump mulled attacking an Iranian nuclear facility two weeks ago.
Iran is seized of this scenario completely, and is taking precautions to avert a last-minute move by the Trump administration, even as it is going ahead with its nuclear enrichment program that violates the terms of the deal with the world powers.
Though Trump has taken off the table a pre-emptive attack plan, Iran is still in his radar. The administration will not hesitate to launch an Iran attack in the event of an attack in the region that can be linked to Tehran. The scenario raises the possibility of the US launching a strike on Iran before January 20th, the report says.
Iran is, therefore, taking ample precautions. "Qaani made it clear that Trump wants to drag the region into an open war before leaving, to take revenge on his opponents over losing the election, and it is not in our interest to give him any justification to start such a war," a senior commander of a Shia armed faction the Middle East Eye.
Trump Sends B-52 Bombers to Persian Gulf
Before travelling to Iraq, Qaani had visited Lebanon to have discussions with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the report said. In Baghdad, he held discussions with Hadi al-Ameri, head of the parliamentary Fatah bloc and commander of the Badr Organization. Qani was also meeting other allies and militia leaders.
"If war breaks out between Iran and America, its repercussions cannot be contained, and Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran will all be a battleground for both sides," Qani is reported to have said.
Meanwhile, other reports said Trump has sent B-52 nuclear bombers to the Persian Gulf in a warning to Iran. "These missions help bomber aircrews gain familiarity with the region's airspace and command and control functions and allow them to integrate with the theatre's US and partner air assets, increasing the combined force's overall readiness," Lieutenant General Greg Guillot, commander of the US military's 9th Air Force, was quoted by UK's Express as saying.