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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/world/conflicts/iran

More US troops flown out of Iraq after Iran missile attack, officials say

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124370286001_6124364938001-vs More US troops flown out of Iraq after Iran missile attack, officials say fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fnc/world fnc efb843fe-a8de-570e-9727-90881873807c Associated Press article

Additional U.S. troops have been flown out of Iraq for closer evaluation of potential concussion injuries from the Iranian missile attack of Jan. 8, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday.

The exact number of troops flown to Germany was not immediately clear, but officials said it was a small number. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because some details were still being sorted out. Last week, 11 U.S. service members were flown from Iraq to U.S. medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms.

Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations across the Middle East, confirmed the additional evacuations but did not say how many were included.

“As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries,” Urban said Tuesday evening. “These service members — out of an abundance of caution — have been transported to Landstuhl, Germany, for further evaluations and necessary treatment on an outpatient basis. Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future.”

U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL MUST RECOGNIZE IRAN AS REAL MIDEAST AGGRESSOR, KELLY CRAFT SAYS

As recently as last Tuesday night, President Donald Trump said he had been told no American had been harmed in the Iranian missile strike. The question of American casualties was especially significant at the time because the missile attack’s results were seen as influencing a U.S. decision on whether to retaliate and risk a broader war with Iran.

Trump chose not to retaliate, and the tensions with Iran have eased somewhat.

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In the days following the Iranian attack, medical screening determined that some who took cover during the attack were suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

No one was killed in the attack on Ain Al Assad air base in western Iraq. The strike was launched in retaliation for a U.S. drone missile strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the most powerful military general in Iran, on Jan. 3 at Baghdad International Airport.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124370286001_6124364938001-vs More US troops flown out of Iraq after Iran missile attack, officials say fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fnc/world fnc efb843fe-a8de-570e-9727-90881873807c Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124370286001_6124364938001-vs More US troops flown out of Iraq after Iran missile attack, officials say fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fnc/world fnc efb843fe-a8de-570e-9727-90881873807c Associated Press article

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UN Security Council must recognize Iran as the real Mideast aggressor, Kelly Craft says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125347053001_6125349615001-vs UN Security Council must recognize Iran as the real Mideast aggressor, Kelly Craft says fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Ben Evansky article 626394e9-48d3-5e9e-a36b-ec9615608519

Kelly Craft, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, called out the Security Council in a speech Tuesday, saying the world body continued to criticize Israel but failed to work toward keeping Iran in check.

Speaking at the quarterly Security Council debate on the Middle East, which historically has focused solely on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Craft said its diplomats needed to be more active when dealing with the Tehran regime. She cited Iran arming Houthi rebels in Yemen and supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Craft told the council, “When Iran attacked tankers in the Persian Gulf and energy facilities in Saudi Arabia last year, the council was silent. When Iran provided weapons to the Houthis and Hezbollah, the council was silent. When Iran sought to prop up the Assad regime’s brutal repression of its own people, the council was silent. And, it is not though Iran’s malign behavior occurs without this council’s knowledge. It has been well documented by the U.N. or is simply out in the open.”

Craft added that the council’s “failure to address Iran’s central role in destabilizing the region sends a powerfully damaging message to those seeking lasting peace and prosperity in the region. It only encourages further instability, which puts the peace we all seek at greater risk.”

While Iran’s ambassador is not due to speak until Wednesday, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon used his remarks to speak directly to the people of Iran. He even spoke a few words in Farsi, telling ordinary Iranians, “Israel is on your side.”

Danon’s message to the people of Iran was simple: “The Iranian regime lies to its people and it lies to the international community. It lies about its nuclear program and it lies about its terror-driven regional ambitions. The Iranian people know, and it is time that the international community recognize, that the Iranian regime is deceitful and cannot be trusted.”

IRAN ADMITS RUSSIAN-MADE MISSILES STRUCK UKRAINIAN PASSENGER JET

The Israeli ambassador held up a picture of a 14 year-old-girl killed in the recent protests. He concluded by stating that the international community needed to do more to support the Iranian people. “Now is the time to make sure that all sanctions and embargos continue and to put new ones in place. It is the only way to keep the Iranian people and the entire world safe.”

Indonesia’s U.N. Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani took issue with the Israeli ambassador not mentioning the Palestinians in his speech, calling it both “bewildering and shameful.”

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Great Britain’s ambassador to the world body, Karen Pierce, also took time in her speech, which mainly focused on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, to call on Iran to “come in from the cold and pursue its legitimate interests in the region peacefully, with full respect for international rules.”

Pierce also echoed the call from Germany’s U.N. ambassador, Christoph Heusgen, for Iran to recognize Israel officially.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125347053001_6125349615001-vs UN Security Council must recognize Iran as the real Mideast aggressor, Kelly Craft says fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Ben Evansky article 626394e9-48d3-5e9e-a36b-ec9615608519   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125347053001_6125349615001-vs UN Security Council must recognize Iran as the real Mideast aggressor, Kelly Craft says fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Ben Evansky article 626394e9-48d3-5e9e-a36b-ec9615608519

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Kimia Alizadeh, Iran’s lone female Olympic medalist, moves to Germany after defecting, coach says

Kimia Alizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist who recently defected from the country, has moved to Germany, her coach said Monday.

Alizadeh announced earlier this month that she had permanently left the country and called out the Iranian government’s “hypocrisy” on social media. It was first reported that she may have moved to the Netherlands, but her coach told Reuters where she went instead.

IRAN ADMITS RUSSIAN-MADE MISSILES STRUCK UKRAINIAN PASSENGER PLANE

“Kimia has decided to continue in Germany,” Mimoun el Boujjoufi, a Dutch national and Alizadeh’s taekwondo coach, told the news agency.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-591909792 Kimia Alizadeh, Iran's lone female Olympic medalist, moves to Germany after defecting, coach says Ryan Gaydos fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/sports/olympics fox news fnc/sports fnc c7dab068-2972-569d-8729-b7179d11d7aa article

Kimia Alizadeh announced she was defecting from Iran earlier this month. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

According to Bild, Alizadeth hoped to continue her career in Germany and had moved to Hamburg. She reportedly received offers to compete for the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and Bulgaria. El Boujjoufi told Reuters that many countries “fought for her attention.”

The 21-year-old won a bronze medal for Iran at the 2016 Rio Games. Her announcement came a day after Iranian officials admitted to downing a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s international airport when “human error” mistook the civilian aircraft for a military one.

IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS’ END: HOW AMERICA HELPED SECURE THE DIPLOMATS’ FREEDOM

She accused the Iranian government of “lying” and “injustice” toward Iranian athletes, adding all she wants is “taekwondo, security and a happy and healthy life,” according to AFP.

She said she wore everything the government asked her to wear, referring to the head covering all Iranian female athletes must wear, and wrote she “repeated everything they told me to say. … None of us matter to them.”

Iranian parliamentarian Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh decried “incompetent officials,” saying the country had allowed “human capital to flee,” AFP reported.

He compared Alizadeh to Alireza Firouzja, an Iranian chess prodigy who now lives in France after becoming a grandmaster at age 14.

DOWNED UKRAINIAN PLANE’S BLACK BOXES WILL BE SENT TO UKRAINE, IRANIAN NEWS AGENCY SAYS

In a Twitter message, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus hailed Alizadeh’s decision.

#KimiaAlizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, has rejected the regime’s oppression of women,” Ortagus wrote. “She has defected for a life of security, happiness, and freedom. #Iran will continue to lose more strong women unless it learns to empower and support them.”

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Alizadeh promised the Iranian people she would always remain a “child of Iran.”

Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-591909792 Kimia Alizadeh, Iran's lone female Olympic medalist, moves to Germany after defecting, coach says Ryan Gaydos fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/sports/olympics fox news fnc/sports fnc c7dab068-2972-569d-8729-b7179d11d7aa article   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-591909792 Kimia Alizadeh, Iran's lone female Olympic medalist, moves to Germany after defecting, coach says Ryan Gaydos fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/sports/olympics fox news fnc/sports fnc c7dab068-2972-569d-8729-b7179d11d7aa article

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Iranian lawmaker announces a $3 million cash reward for ‘whoever kills Trump’

An Iranian lawmaker apparently has placed a $3 million bounty on President Trump’s head.

Ahmad Hamzeh made the declaration Tuesday during a speech to parliament in Tehran, although it’s unclear whether it has any backing from Iran’s top leaders, Reuters reported, citing the ISNA news agency.

“On behalf of the people of Kerman province, we will pay a $3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump,” Hamzeh was quoted as saying.

Westlake Legal Group trump-davos Iranian lawmaker announces a $3 million cash reward for 'whoever kills Trump' Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article 2c18e8de-35dd-5d4f-b302-c527fa7d8e0f

President Trump addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. (AP)

IRAN BACKS AWAY FROM PLAN TO SEND UKRAINIAN JET’S BLACK BOXES ABROAD FOR ANALYSIS

The city of Kerman was the hometown of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike on Jan. 3.

Fox News has reached out to the State Department for comment.

During his speech, Hamzeh also addressed Iran’s nuclear program, vowing that “if we had nuclear weapons today, we would be protected from threats.”

“We should put the production of long-range missiles capable of carrying unconventional warheads on our agenda,” ISNA quoted him as saying. “This is our natural right.”

The comments came after Britain, France, and Germany paved the way last week for possible sanctions to be re-imposed on Iran if the Islamic Republic continues to back away from its international nuclear deal.

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“We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments,” the foreign ministers of the three countries had written in a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief.

Iran on Tuesday also announced that Mohammad Javad Zarif, its foreign minister, canceled his trip to the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland after officials there changed the diplomat’s schedule.

Westlake Legal Group trump-davos Iranian lawmaker announces a $3 million cash reward for 'whoever kills Trump' Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article 2c18e8de-35dd-5d4f-b302-c527fa7d8e0f   Westlake Legal Group trump-davos Iranian lawmaker announces a $3 million cash reward for 'whoever kills Trump' Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article 2c18e8de-35dd-5d4f-b302-c527fa7d8e0f

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Former German military translator charged with spying for Iran

Westlake Legal Group 515400-iranian-flag-iran Former German military translator charged with spying for Iran fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/crime fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 44a201c6-97d7-5b64-aa07-d80deb6bb349

A German-Afghan man who worked for years as an interpreter and adviser for the German military went on trial Monday on charges of spying for Iranian intelligence.

The 51-year-old man, who has been identified only as Abdul S. in line with German privacy rules, is charged with “a particularly serious case” of treason and with breaching official secrecy laws in 18 cases.

Prosecutors have given few details of the case. Media and the public were excluded from the trial at the Koblenz state court before the indictment was read, the dpa news agency reported.

Presiding judge Thomas Bergmann said the trial would be held behind closed doors “until further notice” because of security concerns. The public was later allowed back into the courtroom, but further exclusions were expected during the course of the trial, which is scheduled to last until at least March 31.

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The man’s wife, Asiea S., also a German-Afghan dual citizen, has been charged with being an accessory to treason. Prosecutors have said she supported his passing of secret documents to Iran from the beginning, without detailing the nature of that support.

Defense lawyer Ulrich Sommer said neither has responded to the charges. He said he has found “no direct evidence” to support them.

Westlake Legal Group 515400-iranian-flag-iran Former German military translator charged with spying for Iran fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/crime fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 44a201c6-97d7-5b64-aa07-d80deb6bb349   Westlake Legal Group 515400-iranian-flag-iran Former German military translator charged with spying for Iran fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/crime fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 44a201c6-97d7-5b64-aa07-d80deb6bb349

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Lew Olowski: Iran, not Trump, threatens US security – the president is handling the situation correctly

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124502541001_6124504178001-vs Lew Olowski: Iran, not Trump, threatens US security – the president is handling the situation correctly Lew Olowski fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 72936a8d-80e1-5e40-8c6c-395235261111

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Politicians forget this fact.

Right now, for example, politicians in Congress concentrate their time and attention upon articles of impeachment that call President Trump “a threat to national security.”

Meanwhile, Trump actively defends the United States against a real threat to national security: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

TRUMP FIRES BACK AFTER IRANIAN LEADER CONDEMNS HIM ON TWITTER: ‘MAKE IRAN GREAT AGAIN!’

Between Trump and Iran, the president’s opponents seem to think Trump is the worse enemy.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for example, accuses Trump of “taking us pell-mell toward another war.”

More from Opinion

She joins other politicians who accuse Trump of “escalating” conflict with Iran. They fault Trump for two decisions, in particular: withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018; and killing Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in a targeted drone strike on Jan. 3, 2020.

These politicians are blaming the victim, and their accusations are false. In fact, Trump’s response to Iranian aggression has been necessary and proportional: not escalatory.

Recall that Iran has been waging war against the United States since 1979: long before Donald Trump won the presidency.

Almost immediately after the Islamic Republic was founded, it invaded the American embassy in Tehran and captured 98 hostages. Since then, Iran has routinely committed armed attacks against the United States and its allies. For example, Iran plotted to bomb a restaurant in Washington, D.C., in an attack that would have assassinated the Saudi ambassador and massacred 100–150 American civilians. Iran even helped Al Qaeda bomb the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, murdering hundreds of innocents.

Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Iran is likelier to build nuclear weapons because Trump “gutted” the Iranian nuclear deal. Yet the Iranian nuclear deal was gutless to begin with.

More recently, Iran killed about 600 American soldiers in Iraq, shot down U.S. aircraft, attacked commercial ships, bombed U.S. allies, besieged the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and killed countless civilians worldwide.

Now imagine all this plus nuclear weapons.

Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Iran is likelier to build nuclear weapons because Trump “gutted” the Iranian nuclear deal. Yet the Iranian nuclear deal was gutless to begin with. It did not require Iran to abandon its decades-long terror campaign against the United States and its allies. Moreover, because the deal sunsets in 2025, it was designed to merely postpone Iran’s nuclear weaponry, not prevent it.

In other words, the deal let Iran keep its terror and have nukes, too. Trump rightly rejected it.

The goal of the nuclear deal was to charm Iran into thinking the commercial benefits of trade exceed the strategic benefits of a nuclear arsenal. So the deal paid Iran up to $150 billion — and lifted trade sanctions, allowing Iran to make even more money — in exchange for Iran’s promise to curb its nuclear development and submit to international inspections. But after the deal was signed, Iran broke the deal, anyway, violating rules governing nuclear centrifuges, international inspections, chemical production, and weapons technology.

To understand why Iran did that, follow the money.

First, by paying Iran and lifting pre-existing trade sanctions at the outset, the deal gave away Iran’s incentive to follow through on its promises: why buy the cow after you got the milk for free?

Second, by granting billions of dollars to Iran that were initially seized to enforce pre-existing nuclear sanctions — instead of making Iran forfeit this money — the deal gave Iran a get-out-of-sanctions-free card. This signaled to Iran and other nuclear proliferators — including Iran’s partner, North Korea — that illegally pursuing nuclear weapons is a win/break-even proposition instead of a risky business.

Third, because positive trade relations enrich everyone, Iran was confident that, once it violated the deal, other countries would be unlikely to punish it. Losing business hurts everyone, not just the bad guys in Tehran.

If withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal is an escalation that causes Iran to double-down on terrorism and nuclear armament, then there was never a deal to begin with: it was blackmail.

Similarly, the United States did not “escalate” by killing Soleimani in a targeted drone strike. Soleimani was a notorious enemy combatant. He led Iran’s war against the United States for many years. Killing him does not even match the scale of aggression he personally committed against the United States, let alone escalate Iran’s decades-long war.

Rather, the United States rightfully killed Soleimani as an act of responsive self-defense. With a single missile strike, Trump annihilated both Soleimani and Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of a paramilitary group that had just killed a U.S. citizen and attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad: two birds with one drone.

Killing individual enemy combatants — without collateral damage, remarkably — is not even an escalation against Iran’s most recent terrorism spree, let alone an escalation of its decades-long war against the United States.

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Trump is obligated to terminate these national security threats, not surrender to them. The United States is even entitled, as a matter of necessity and proportionality, to disable the Iranian government’s entire capacity to continue launching attacks: let alone to merely kill one Iranian general.

To be sure, Iran responded to this strike by launching missiles directly at Iraqi military bases containing some U.S. troops. Yet by exchanging direct attacks against each other, the United States and Iran are de-escalating the war between them.

First, Iran’s missile launch at Iraqi bases was less provocative than previous attacks because this time, at least, Iran inflicted no fatalities. But just a few weeks ago, Iran’s paramilitary forces fired missiles that killed an American citizen and wounded several others — causing Trump to respond in the first place.

Second, direct attacks imply a de-escalation because these are a concession from Iran’s preferred modus operandi in its war against the United States: committing armed attacks through paramilitary proxy forces.

Rogue governments like Iran command civilian militias and other paramilitary forces purposely to blur the line between combatants and non-combatants. This strategy endangers innocent civilians. That, of course, is the point: by blending into civilian populations, Iranian proxies use innocents as human shields. Because they are not wearing Iranian military uniforms or operating from Iranian-owned military bases, these forces can more easily conceal combatants, deter military responses for fear of collateral damage, and even hide the Iranian government’s own involvement.

This is the same strategy used by Al Qaeda, Islamic State, and Russia in its paramilitary operations against Ukraine and Estonia, a NATO ally.

Iranian terrorism’s longstanding paramilitary strategy undermines the most fundamental principles in the law of armed conflict. Military operations should temper the risk of harm to innocent civilians: not exploit such harm for tactical advantage.

Hopefully, the United States’ killing of Soleimani, and Iran’s missile response, represents a change in course for both countries.

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For Iran, its direct missile attack should initiate a move toward more lawful military operations: a de-escalation from the terrorist strategy Iran utilized under Soleimani’s leadership.

For the United States, killing Qassem Soleimani should signal the end of indifference to Iranian aggression and a renewed commitment toward defending the United States and its allies.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY LEW OLOWSKI

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124502541001_6124504178001-vs Lew Olowski: Iran, not Trump, threatens US security – the president is handling the situation correctly Lew Olowski fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 72936a8d-80e1-5e40-8c6c-395235261111   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124502541001_6124504178001-vs Lew Olowski: Iran, not Trump, threatens US security – the president is handling the situation correctly Lew Olowski fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 72936a8d-80e1-5e40-8c6c-395235261111

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Dan Hoffman: US will stay in Iraq to fight ISIS – Trump’s order to kill Soleimani benefits both countries

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124381639001_6124379679001-vs Dan Hoffman: US will stay in Iraq to fight ISIS – Trump’s order to kill Soleimani benefits both countries fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Daniel Hoffman article 158a2dc7-a828-5fe3-986c-7436b6d68d76

America’s military involvement in Iraq and our fight against the ISIS terrorist group there is not over – despite initial concerns about U.S. troops being expelled from the country after President Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Iranian terrorist Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq Jan. 3.

Soleimani’s fellow terrorist leader – Kataib Hezbollah militia head Abu Mahdi al Muhandis – was also killed in the U.S. strike, along with eight other terrorists.

Iraqi critics of the killings denounced the U.S. strikes as a violation of their nation’s sovereignty. And in the heat of the moment, Iraqi nationalist Muqtada al Sadr – who holds the most seats in Iraq’s Parliament – demanded that the remaining 5,000 U.S. troops in the country withdraw.

IRAN ROCKET ATTACK ON IRAQI MILITARY BASE INJURED 11 US SERVICE MEMBERS, OFFICIAL REVEALS

The second-largest faction in the Parliament – Hadi al Amiri’s Iranian proxy Badr Corps – joined with Sadr’s faction to pass a nonbinding resolution expelling U.S. troops. But significantly, lawmakers from Kurdish and Sunni parties abstained from the vote against the U.S. presence in Iraq.

While the U.S. media have shifted their focus to the impeachment trial of President Trump, you may have missed the fact that cooler heads now seem to be prevailing in Iraq. That’s very good news.

The caretaker prime minister of Iraq – Adil Abdul-Mahdi – has left it to his successor to deal with the issue of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

And after a 10-day hiatus, joint U.S.-Iraqi operations against ISIS have resumed. This is a positive development benefiting both our nations.

The bottom line: right now it doesn’t look like U.S. troops are exiting Iraq any time soon.

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And while the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted 224-194 Jan. 9 to approve a nonbinding resolution demanding that President Trump seek consent from Congress before taking new military action against Iran, there is no indication the Republican-controlled Senate will approve the measure.

Fortunately, no Americans were killed when Iran fired missiles Jan. 8 at two military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops were stationed, in a retaliatory attack for the Soleimani killing. However, the Defense Department announced Thursday that 11 U.S. military members were treated for symptoms of concussions resulting from the Iranian strikes.

Now the time is ripe for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his brave, talented Baghdad Embassy team to double-down on engaging, especially with the many Iraqis who see the value in repelling Iran’s effort to subjugate their country while carrying on the fight against the ISIS terrorists who threaten us all.

Trump’s strategic goal in taking out Soleimani – a mass murderer responsible for the deaths of more than 600 Americans and thousands of others – was to restore strategic deterrence in the U.S.-Iran relationship. The president made a calculated risk that Iran would not respond with a significant retaliatory attack.

Going forward, Iran’s leaders know they will be in our crosshairs if they plan attacks against the U.S., including our embassy in Baghdad. Soleimani was responsible for an attack in which Iranian proxy militia forces penetrated the U.S. Embassy compound in the Iraqi capital shortly before his death.

Rather than precipitating a U.S.-Iran war that neither the Trump administration nor the Iranian regime desires, the killing of Soleimani has the potential to bolster efforts both to thwart Iranian influence in Iraq and to counter ISIS.

The elimination of the so-called ISIS “caliphate” by U.S. and allied forces under President Trump’s leadership was a major accomplishment. But we learned from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on our country that terrorists can plot against our homeland from ungoverned space in failed states.

So we can’t afford to turn a blind eye to ISIS. The group is down but not out. There are reportedly 18,000 ISIS fighters still at large, threatening to melt into an insurgency in Iraq, as well as roughly 10,000 ISIS jihadists in detention.

U.S. forces need to continue the fight against ISIS to eliminate any remaining threat the group poses to Iraq and to prevent ISIS from threatening our own shores. This requires a modest ongoing presence in Iraq of deployed U.S. military, diplomats and intelligence officers who can leverage local partners in the fight against our common terrorist enemy.

How did we get to this point?

Following the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 after the U.S. invasion of his country, Iran took advantage by directing its ally Syria to provide the Al Qaeda terrorist group with a safe haven to launch attacks on U.S. troops.

Iran also deliberately benefited from Al Qaeda’s attacks on defenseless Shiite civilians in Iraq, which drove them into the arms of Iran’s proxy militias and enabled the militias to grow stronger as a result.

Soleimani directed Iran’s penetration of Iraqi government ministries and Parliament. He created Iranian proxy militias in Iraq, which developed into the popular mobilization units charged with fighting ISIS. But these militias also pursued Iran’s sectarian agenda by exacting revenge against the disenfranchised Sunni population in Iraq, most notoriously in Mosul after it was liberated from ISIS control.

Iraq’s toxic cocktail of failed governance, endemic corruption and ethno-sectarian violence – of which Soleimani was the architect – created the petri dish in which ISIS grew with impunity.

Over the past few months, Soleimani, whom the Obama administration designated a terrorist, dialed up the intensity and frequency of attacks on Iraqi bases that house U.S. service personnel.

Iran sought to induce the U.S. to withdraw its military from Iraq even if it meant striking Iraqi military bases housing US service personnel. Iran’s goal was to shape Iraq’s domestic political future, especially following the resignation of Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi in November. For now, Abdul-Mahdi continues in office in a caretaker role.

President Trump’s decision to eliminate Soleimani may indeed have opened a pathway to counter the two greatest threats to Iraq’s stability and sovereignty: ISIS and Iran.

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Iraqi protests over the past few months against Iranian influence led to the attacks on Iranian consulates in the Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Because he is opposed to Iranian domination of Iraq, Sadr might see the value of an ongoing U.S.-Iraqi partnership in the fight against ISIS, especially if there is some prospect that Iraqi territory will not be used in a U.S-Iran proxy war.

Predicting the future – especially in the Middle East, where sectarian conflict has carried on for centuries – is fraught with difficulty.

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President Trump’s bold decision to target Soleimani has the potential to benefit U.S. national security by weakening Iran’s ability to conduct asymmetric warfare in the region and beyond, as well as reducing Iran’s pernicious influence in Iraq.

Those who are critical of Trump’s calculated risk in ordering the killing of Soleimani should ask this question: Would the Middle East’s future look brighter if the terrorist mass murderer was still alive and continuing to lead Iran’s vicious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force in deadly attacks?

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124381639001_6124379679001-vs Dan Hoffman: US will stay in Iraq to fight ISIS – Trump’s order to kill Soleimani benefits both countries fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Daniel Hoffman article 158a2dc7-a828-5fe3-986c-7436b6d68d76   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124381639001_6124379679001-vs Dan Hoffman: US will stay in Iraq to fight ISIS – Trump’s order to kill Soleimani benefits both countries fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Daniel Hoffman article 158a2dc7-a828-5fe3-986c-7436b6d68d76

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Downed Ukrainian plane’s black boxes will be sent to Ukraine, Iranian news agency says

Iran says it won’t keep the black boxes from the Ukraine airliner it accidentally shot down last week with a missile, killing 176 people.

“The black boxes of Flight 752 will not be decoded in Iran and will be transferred to Ukraine instead as per the country’s request,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency said, Bloomberg reported Saturday.

Tasnim based its reporting on Hassan Rezaeifar, head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization’s accident-investigation office, according to Bloomberg.

IRAN MUST COMPENSATE PLANE CRASH VICTIMS’ FAMILIES FAIRLY, OTHER GOVERNMENTS SAY

Westlake Legal Group Iran-Plane-AP Downed Ukrainian plane's black boxes will be sent to Ukraine, Iranian news agency says Robert Gearty fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/world fnc article 65427778-3fc9-5f3d-a52c-05165d5de56d

Mourners attend a memorial, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, to remember Canadian victims in the deadly downing of a Ukrainian airliner the week before, in Iran. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Iran initially denied shooting down the plane, a Boeing 737-800. The accident sparked protests in Iran and put worldwide pressure on Iranian leaders to accept responsibility and let other countries participate in the investigation. It took three days for Iran to accept blame for the crash.

The accident came hours after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard launched ballistic missiles at U.S. and coalition troops at two military bases in Iraq in response to the U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, earlier this month.

NEW IRAN PLANE CRASH VIDEO SHOWS 2 MISSILES HIT UKRAINIAN JET

Iran says the plane was mistaken for a U.S. cruise missile by lower-ranking officers.

The victims included 57 Canadian citizens, as well as 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans and four British citizens. Most of those killed were Iranians.

Tasnim also reported that Iranian investigators were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine the black box flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, according to Reuters.

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It wasn’t clear when the black boxes would be sent to Ukraine, Reuters said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Iran-Plane-AP Downed Ukrainian plane's black boxes will be sent to Ukraine, Iranian news agency says Robert Gearty fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/world fnc article 65427778-3fc9-5f3d-a52c-05165d5de56d   Westlake Legal Group Iran-Plane-AP Downed Ukrainian plane's black boxes will be sent to Ukraine, Iranian news agency says Robert Gearty fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/world fnc article 65427778-3fc9-5f3d-a52c-05165d5de56d

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Iran says it’s been banned from hosting international soccer matches

Iran has been banned from hosting international soccer matches, the country’s soccer federation told Iranian media.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Football Federation said the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced the decision in a letter, the Mehr News Agency reported.

The AFC did not say if the move was related to Tehran’s downing of a Ukrainian commercial passenger plane last week, which killed all 176 people on board, or continued heightened tensions with the United States.

Iranian soccer officials pushed back on the move.

FOUR FORMER IRANIAN HOSTAGES: PRESIDENT TRUMP, THANK YOU FOR YOUR ACTIONS AND YOUR STRENGTH

Westlake Legal Group Iran-Soccer-Fans-Getty Iran says it's been banned from hosting international soccer matches Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/newsedge/sports fox news fnc/world fnc article 49c2488d-7439-5264-a254-1df03b562911

Iranian fans support their national football team during 2022 FIFA World Cup Asia qualifications Group C soccer match between Iran and Cambodia at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran.  The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has banned the country from hosting international matches. (Photo by Stringer /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Iran is fully ready to host various teams as it has repeatedly proven during the past several years,” Amirmahdi Alavi, a spokesman for the Iranian federation, told the news outlet.

He cited Iran’s hosting of the 2018 AFC Champions League in  Azadi Stadium in Tehran as a success. The remarks come after a Saudi Arabian television host said AFC officials cited security issues for the announcement, Mehr News reported. No specifics were offered.

The AFC did not respond to messages from Fox News on Friday.

Saudi teams did not travel to Iran last season because of severed diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern regional powers in 2016. Games were relocated to the United Arab Emirates.

Iran has four teams in the AFC Champions League. The Iranian federation said it would meet with the AFC to discuss its opposition to the decision.

The move comes as tensions between Washington and Tehran have reached a fever pitch following the Jan. 3 killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike. Iran retaliated with a strike of its own on Iraqi military bases where American troops were housed.

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Iran is also dealing with the fallout from the shooting of the Ukrainian jetliner, saying it accidentally fired on the plane after initially denying any involvement.

Iran came under scrutiny last year for its prohibition on women attending live games. Tehran reversed course in October, when it lifted the draconian ban and began to allow women to attend international soccer matches on Iranian soil.

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James Carafano: Iran Ayatollah Khamenei ‘really nervous’ about anti-government protests

Westlake Legal Group JAMES-CARAFANO James Carafano: Iran Ayatollah Khamenei 'really nervous' about anti-government protests Julia Musto fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/us-regions/west/washington fox-news/us/terror/counter-terrorism fox-news/us/terror fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 9489cfde-4c73-511e-94c9-234d36d1419e

A rare public appearance by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows how nervous his regime is about the “level of anger and mistrust” inside Iran today, retired Army Lt. Col. James Carafano said Friday.

Appearing on “Outnumbered: Overtime” with host Harris Faulkner, Carafano noted that the Ayatollah had not been seen at public prayers in Tehran for eight years. Khamenei used the platform to praise the country’s retaliatory strike against the U.S. over the killing of one of its top generals. He also appeared to call President Trump a clown who cannot be trusted.

IRAN’S SUPREME LEADER CALLS TRUMP A CLOWN, PRAISES MISSILE ATTACK IN RARE APPEARANCE

“The villainous U.S. government repeatedly says that they are standing by the Iranian people. They lie,” Khamenei said. “If you are standing with the Iranian people, it is only to stab them in the heart with their venomous daggers.”

He also insisted Iran would not bow to U.S. pressure after months of crushing sanctions and called Washington’s decision to kill Gen. Qassem Soleimani earlier this month a “cowardly” hit.

However, Carafano said that Khameini’s remarks seem to be more about domestic policy than confrontation with the United States and putting a “strong face on the administration and his government.”

“Look, he would not be doing that if they weren’t really, really, nervous about the level of anger and mistrust inside Iran today,” he added.

Carafano, vice president of the Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, told Faulkner that, in many ways, any unrest within the Middle Eastern country is “just an extension of ongoing protests we’ve seen against the regime.”

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“And, [protesters are] really blaming the regime for their circumstances, not blaming the United States…for the sanctions,” he said. “But, the Iranians [in government] were essentially taking all the money and spending it on surrogates, spending it on adventurism, and not really investing in the Iranian people.”

“Now look, we don’t know how really widespread that is,” Carafano added, “but when you see things like the Iranian students … walking down the street and then consciously trying to walk around images of the American [and] Israeli flag, we have not seen anything like that since somebody took a sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall.”

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche, Adam Shaw, Louis Casiano, Greg Norman, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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