Billboards with the slogans “Death to America — Death to Israel” have appeared in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in recent days. There are at least five of the large signs in central Baghdad, some less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, the Iraqi presidential palace and the national government’s headquarters.
The signs appear to be part of a campaign by Iran, carried out through proxy groups that directly threaten U.S. troops in Iraq, to demonstrate its strength and reach in the region as tension between Washington and Tehran threatens to explode into conflict.
1. The rapidly expiring “sunset provisions” – which will lift existing restrictions on Iran’s military, missiles and nuclear programs – were a key factor in President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May last year. The first of the sunset provisions, the arms embargo under U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231, will expire by October 18, 2020.
Unit 400 is the special forces unit of the Quds Force, focused on planning and conducting attacks outside Iran. Within this remit, it also takes responsibility for transferring military aid to terror and guerrilla organizations around the world and coordinating their activities in order to prepare them to carry out attacks that serve the interests of the Iranian regime.
Due to timing, it is assumed rather than a U.S. military strike campaign against designated targets as a result of Iran shooting down a U.S. drone, Cyber Command initiated a cyber operation. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard maintains control of the rocket and missile systems and they have been disabled as the U.S. response. Iran has confirmed the cyber-attack but also says it failed. Iran expected a response by the United States and in advance shut down several radar sites.
In part from Senator Ted Cruz:
HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued a statement in response to reports that Iran has exceeded centrifuge limits set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action urging the United States to invoke the multilateral snapback in United Nations Security Council resolution 2231: